Keeping kids busy while on the road.

We just finished a wonderful but exhausting 10 day vacation in which we drove over 1200 miles in the car.  Even the happiest of kids have trouble being in the car that long.  Here are the toys I brought along to keep the little ones busy…

Melissa & Doug Wooden Vehicle Maze Puzzle: This was a huge favorite on the trip.  I don’t think anyone was actually solving the puzzle, more like just driving the cars around but if it kept them happy then I was happy too.  The cars are attached to the board making it the perfect toy for your lil’ drivers.

Melissa & Doug Geometric Shapes Maze: This was a big hit on a previous road trip but got a little less love on this one since there were other ‘cooler’ puzzles to compete with.  I thought this puzzle would be too advance for the 3 year old but was pleasantly surprised that he could solve the puzzle in just a few minutes.  Sometimes the shapes can get caught on each other and have to be spun around to keep them moving which causes some toddler frustration.

Melissa & Doug Latches Board: This board is a star at the neighborhood play dates.  Another great Melissa & Doug puzzle where all pieces are attached making for another perfect time waster.  This board is very large but still barely fits on kids’ laps.

Melissa & Doug Travel Bingo: I remember playing travel bingo as a kid and was excited when I found these boards however they require a bit too much patience for our young toddlers.  I am hoping in a year or so they might be used more appropriately but until then they get used only to slap down all the bingo doors which doesn’t take very long.

Eric Carle Animal Lacing Cards: Lacing cards are so simple and yet can hold the attention of toddlers for what seems like hours. These Eric Carle cards have the familiar illustrations made famous by the “Hungry Little Caterpillar” and come on sturdy cardboard cards.  The laces are loose but to make them more car friendly I knotted the laces into a hole so they couldn’t be detached from the card.

Magnetic Wanted Poster: This is a cheap but fun little attention getter.  Use the supplied magnetic pen to move metallic shavings on the wanted poster to draw a mustache, beard, etc.

Jaq Jaq Bird Eco-friendly Chalk Mat: This is great alternative to coloring books.  These mats can be rolled up for easy storage, includes a pocket for chalk and are easily cleaned with a wet cloth or napkin.  Dustless chalk is needed for best results or for an eco-friendly option look for dustless chalk made from recycled scallop shells.

-Contributed by Melissa

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Melissa Jarotkiewicz, Editor Melissa received a BS degree in Civil Engineering and is the proud stay at home mother of thing 1 and thing 2. Being the wife of an Air Force pilot means being the only parent for days, weeks and even months at a time. This chaotic and unpredictable life of a military mom calls for some serious retail therapy and Melissa puts her focus on baby gear and unfortunately for her husband the deal-a-day baby sites. Originally from the suburbs of Chicago, Melissa has lived in FL, OK, WA and just recently moved to Germany. She enjoys spending time with friends and family and watching college football in the fall. Go Irish!

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Duncan Faber

We keep our kids busy with audiobooks. They’re far more engaging than dvds and tv, and it gets them interested in tv. There’s lots of great sites where you can download original stuff, instead of the same old public domain stories like Red Riding Hood. This is a good one where you can download original stuff for free.