Our family is planning a road trip for the near future! And let me tell ya, I have a love affair with being someplace I have never been! Always have. Probably always will. It’s in my DNA! Just last week my hubby drove us up some different streets in a quick detour while on our way to the zoo. My heart leapt at the new surroundings. Truth be told, our little detour was only to Wal-Mart. None-the-less, I was on a street I had never before driven….seeing new sights and new places. And I was happy!
I have photo albums full of grand memories from all the times we would jump in the car and go! Well, now with a husband and two littles, it’s not really possible to just jump in the car and go. Successful / happy road-trips require a bit of forethought and planning. And with a little planning they are just as fun! And on the flip side, the lack of planning usually results in a miserable car full of fussing and tears.
Our little family loads up several times a year to make the 4 hour trek to see family. So our babies were born road-tripping. We have had our share of good, bad, and ugly trips. Somewhere along the way we learned a few tricks to make the drive a bit smoother. But I will save that for another post. However, this upcoming trip is going to be a bit longer. We have 8 hours of car time rather than 4. So I decided to add a few things to my traveling bag of tricks to ensure we all have a happy trip.
Busy Bags…what a fantastic idea! Genius! This particular set of busy bags was designed for traveling. They are best used with a travel tray…which you can easily create for under $5! Some of these ideas for traveling busy bags are my own, but most are suggestions from fellow mommy friends or pinterest pins from my Kiddo Boards. You can check out my Kiddo Boards here.
First, get a few supplies and put together a travel tray for your little travel buddy.
The cookie pan was one of my Dollar Store finds. I got the smallest one they had. It fit perfectly in Little Miss’ car seat. The parachute buckle and nylon strapping came from Wal-Mart. Take a peek here and here for a closer look at these products.
First, I inserted the strapping through the buckle. Then measured to see exactly where I wanted to glue the strap. And finally pulled out the hot glue gun and glued away!
I decided that it would be best to glue the strap with the buckle on the side, since I will have to pull the strap underneath the car seat. Now when it’s not in use, we can easily reach the buckle to remove the tray. Much easier than having to stick my arm in that tiny space behind the car seat every time we need to remove the tray.
There are several benefits to using this tray. First, it has raised edges to contain toys. Yay for not having to pick up crayons every time daddy makes a sharp turn!!! Also, this tray is metal so all my magnetic activities will stick to it!
I really wanted to add some sort of cushion underneath. Maybe someday!
I hope Little Miss is as excited about this as I am!
Now for some busy bags!
Little Miss just adores these little parachute buckles! So I bought a few extra while shopping for the lap tray.
I printed the picture. If you make this, be sure to use card stock. It’s more durable. I also laminated it. Then just attached the ribbon to buckles and hot glued it all together!
This was a pinterest find! Who doesn’t love a nice cold popsicle in the summer? The sticks are removable so Little Miss can color coordinate the sticks and the popsicles. Great for working on colors and for fine tuning those fine motor skills!
This bag has various art supplies, including a Chic-Fil-A creativity booklet! Score! We love some chicken and fries!
These are removable stickers. You can find some real gems at the Dollar Store!
One of our favorite things to do at home is play in our pretend kitchen. Here is a tiny travel version of our kitchen. I found pictures of her favorite foods on Google Images. Printed and laminated. Then I attached little velcro circles. She can attach the food, beverages, and dessert to her place mat. I put magnets on the back of the place mat to hold it in place on her lap tray.
Why yes, that is Chic-Fil-A you see on her plate. Mmmm mmmm good!
You may have noticed that the place mat is bigger than the bag. Several of my travel busy bags have a full size printout. I find they store nicely on the lap tray and tucked safely in with the busy bags.
This letter matching activity will also work well on her magnetic travel tray. We already had the magnetic letters in our stash. I originally found them at Deals for a buck! The alphabet sheet was created by intentionalmomma. Click here to visit her blog and print your own.
Here is another of my pinterest discoveries. I’m not sure who is the original creator.
There are tutorials for this button snake all over! I cut my ribbon and sewed a button on each end. And then cut my colorful shapes from felt and made a slit down the center. This is another good activity for advancing fine motor skills in little ones.
When Little Miss is not playing in her kitchen, she is going clickety clack around the track with Thomas the Tank Engine. So I printed off some of her favorite engines along with some landmarks from Sodor Island. Laminated these bad boys and attached a magnet on the back of each piece for some fun pretend play. Note: it is more cost-effective to use the magnetic tape than the cute little round magnets. The magnetic tape also has adhesive for attaching it. And I found the track pieces on the his4homeschooling blog. I enlarged it slightly since it was originally designed for a felt file folder game. You can check it out and print your own here.
More fine motor practice with this felt chain. I used velcro circles for attaching. They come with their own adhesive too!
Since Little Miss is really into pretend play right now, I created a few other pretend play bags. She already has a doctor kit in her toy collection. I added some grown-up medical items for added interest. I’m sure baby doll will be accompanying us on our journey. So she will probably be the recipient of the medical attention.
This one is a dress up bag. Some of the items are hers. Again, I added some grow-up items to keep her interested. I emptied out and thoroughly cleaned an old plastic nail polish container. Found an empty plastic “perfume” bottle and fold up brush. Oh! And blush! Let me show you up close!
It’s actually nail polish! Took almost a week for it to dry and harden. I think she will like it!
More color matching! I put a dab of hot glue on the sides to keep the clothes pins from snapping apart.
These are way more fun to squish than to create! Sticking play-doh in a balloon! Aye! I also put beans in one balloon and rice in the other for some variety in texture. And I double ballooned them for extra durability. I’m not sure how long these will occupy Little Miss. However, if the road trip gets a little stressful, I will have plenty of little stress balls on hand.
And lastly, here’s our mini-stacking blocks complete with velcro and everything!
Well here it is. Packed and ready to go! I hope you found some of these ideas helpful for your next road trip!
Now to pack everything else!