I don't know about you, but for me,traveling with three kids can seem to take almost every ounce of energy I have till we reach our destination! :)
I knew that fall and winter we were going to have two major trips to take.First off, traveling to Ohio for Thanksgiving.And then to Texas a month later for Christmas.
I felt like I wanted to spend some time getting ready and organized for these road trips.Maybe I could cut out some of the whining and crying,and maybe,just maybe make it go a little faster.
I set to work browsing pinterest and diy projects. So in case you have a trip coming up, or you're looking for some quiet time activities I'll show you what I came up with.
1. Felt Car Mats
I went to dollar tree and bought each of the children a cookie sheet, $1 a piece. I had found ideas for felt car mats that I thought were so cute. And I set to crafting.It's not difficult at all! It just takes time.
If you browse pinterest and do a search for felt car mats, you will find plenty to choose from!
Also at Dollar Tree I found a pack with maybe 10 to 12 mini cars that worked perfectly for these mats.
(you will have to excuse the picture quality! I am not a professional after all! ;) )
2. I Spy Jar
Very simple.I went through Hailey's polly pockets and picked out about 25 mini things to hide in rice.
To make it more fun I added food coloring to the rice,baked it a little bit to dry it.Added some silver balls actually intended for cookie decorating.But they worked just fine in the rice. Then I hot glued the lid onto the jar to avoid spills.
I took a picture of the mini things and then they had that card to check off the items as they found them.
*if you laminate your pages, the kids can use a dry erase marker to mark off things as they find them and after they are done that will easily wipe off.
3. Scavenger Hunts,Road Sign Bingo and Restaurant Bingo
You can find free printables here for the bingo and scavenger hunt game cards.
I also found some cute puzzles at Dollar Tree.
I took the pieces out of the box and glued magnet pieces to the back of each individual piece.This way they can use the cookie sheet to put the puzzle together, and hopefully the piece will stick onto the tray and they will not always have to reach down to grab a stray piece that fell.
I cut a simple tic tac toe game out of felt.I don't know about your kids,but my kids like this game.Even if the one of them doesn't totally get it! ;)
6. Felt Puzzle
I cut a simple rainbow puzzle out of felt.
7. Book Activites
One lady had the idea of having your child draw a picture of something for every state you drive through.
I liked that idea and found some leap pad notepads that had space for a picture and then lines to write a story or something about the picture.
Braxton and Hailey didn't draw for every state we went through but it was still something fun for them.
I also found some word searches and hidden picture books.If you have an Ollies anywhere near,that is a great place to find some of these things for cheap!
8. The Question Game
I found free printables here for a game of "Would you rather". Some were funny questions, some were just plain old questions.But the kids loved it and got a kick out of it!
And of course I stuck in some movies for those times I just didn't feel like entertaining or helping along with the other activites! :)
Just an easy felt pond on a green page of felt.And lots of little fish with magnets glued on the inside. I took a yellow no.2 pencil and wrapped and glued twine all around it for the fishing rod.At the end of the line I glued another magnet to "catch" the fish. A good activity for the toddler in the vehicle.
11. Good Behaviour Pins and the Hugs and Kisses Jar
I don't have pictures of these but I simply took clothes pins,one for each child and clipped it to my sun visor. I told them if they can keep those pins up there with good behavior,then at each gas stop,if their pin is still there I will pay them with a gold coin. (chocolate coins from Dollar Tree :) ) We did that for one trip.
I also had a little pill bottle that I painted.It was the Hugs and Kisses jar.
My plan was to make it a "chill pill jar" and put some nasty candy in and for offenses from the mouth, the offender would eat a piece of the yuckiness as punishment (I know,I'm mean like that!)
Anyway, lets just say, I have a family of sweet teeth! It didn't seem like I could really find a candy to make that idea work,and I wasn't about to feed them jelly beans that taste like vomit, let alone putting myself at risk to eat those! I'll be truthful,there's times my mouth says things it shouldn't,and I was putting myself under the same punishment as them. (I'm nice like that!)
So as I was pondering it one day,trying to figure it out,the grand idea came to mind of a hug and kisses jar. Inspired by Hershey Kisses :) I decided they can each have a pile of kisses to start and if they speak rudely or unkind,they will give the person they were talking to a "kiss" from their stash. (I have a little sick humor like that! ;) ) At the end of the trip,whatever stash they had left was theirs for the eating.
They loved the idea!
I took everything I got together and put it in one big box.
Now,with all these good ideas,they really were! I would do a few things different.
Within the first few hours I was sick of switching out activities!
And because I had spent so much time making all these great things,my blood pressure raised a little,when halfway through the trip the activities were scattered and at risk of being stepped on and possibly ruined. I know,I know...so incredibly crazy of me! :)
I decided that next time, I would split the activities up into individual back packs,that way they could help themselves a little better and I didn't have to be twisting around in my seat the whole trip.
And,I would decide in my heart before the trip,to take it lightly if something gets ruined.Hey,that's life.Especially life with kids.No need to waste a few precious minutes over something so futile!
Now that our trips are over, I use the activity box for a quiet time box. Something to pull out while I'm making supper, or those times that I really just need some quiet.
It was worth the time spent to make the activites.
And just because I think they are cute kids,I'll leave you with one last picture.