Mommying BabyT

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6 ideas to make car trips fun for toddlers

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Blame Mumbai’s roads which seem to be undergoing an overhaul and maintenance all throughout the year or the ambitious interconnected Metro project, living in this city has become an absolute nightmare. No wait, let me correct that, travelling in Mumbai has. Or even better, add a baby or restless toddler to that car and you, rather than the kids will ask “Are we there yet?”Β I now dread any sort of car trips with my toddler. That’s when I asked myself wouldn’t anyone be frustrated, irritated and plain simple mad if they were stuck in traffic jams at any point of time of the day, not just rush hour. Yes I can happily Instagram my time away but what about my child? What was needed was some super simple fun to make car trips bearable again. And ta-da!! here are some ideas to do just that.

An awesome playlist

No one can deny that good music soothes all ills and cures the blues. But don’t let your child’s playlist be the source of hair pulling irritation for you. There’s no doubt your playlist in the car when you travel with your children, will contain the Wheels on the Bus and Daddy Finger for the millionth time. However do add some fun grown people songs to the mix too. It’ll be a fun change for your kids and make you smile too. BabyT and we have an unspoken arrangement, 2 grown people songs and 1 baby song. Now he enjoys our songs too and sometimes asks only for them. Baby happy, parents happy!

A typical playlist in our car looks like this. But to be honest, these are all songs which babyT loves listening to now, they are his songs.

Books, Books & more books

Books have been our saviour one time too many. But books need to be read and toddlers and babies especially cannot do this independently. At times like these interactive books which can be engaging without having to be read come in real handy.

Books which make noise, touch-and-feel books and sticker books can be a boon for car trips. Kids can be left on their own, in their car seats with such books and they can really get lost in the fantasy world these books provide.

Activity: Hand Puppets & matching toys

This was a big hit for us in the car. So technically it is a book but we clubbed it with our animal figure toys and babyT loved his time in the car with them. The time we used these I was actually sitting in the backseat with him with the puppet book while he fished for the matching animal figures from the cloth bag we had stored them in.

Games: What colour is?

This is a very simple activity where you call out an object you see on the road, usually a school bus or a car nearby, and ask your child to identify the colour. You can also try this the other way around and ask what is yellow? Answer: School bus. And now that my son is approaching 2 and able to communicate better, he also points out to the metro under-construction on the highway.

This game is fun and doesn’t need any props or preparation time. The only flip side is that it may be more suited for slightly older kids. But hey, don’t let that put you off. This is actually how babyT started identifying and learning colours. He knew a few colours right from the time he was 9 or 10 months old. Cool, huh!

Snack Pack

There is nothing like snacking to kill time, both for young and grown ups alike. But snacking needs to be healthy, yet fun.

source: Pinterest

Set up a fun snack box for your little ones to munch on in the car. Buy a compartmentalised box like this one or use jewellery boxes to fill them with a variety of nuts, small fruit, healthy packaged snacks etc. Your toddlers will love you for the creativity and actually look forward to car trips too.

Travel Surprise Bag

This one came together quite by accident but it was of immense help nonetheless. Once I was rushing for a short overnight trip to my mom’s and wanted to clean up the mess in the playroom before my radio cab arrived. So I grabbed a small drawstring bag and filled it with what lay on the floor – animal shapes, blocks, lego bits, pom poms, tiny books, Hot Wheel cars and some dried leaves from our fall activity. In the rush I then stuffed this bag into his diaper bag.

When it started raining tantrums in the car I had nothing but this bag to offer him and he was intrigued by the variety and my own inability to explain what the bag contained. It may have seemed like a microcosm of his playroom and he found his calm again. I swear by these busy bags now.

Got any other ideas for keeping them calm during car rides? What tips and tricks work for you? I’d love to have some more ideas. πŸ™‚

Don’t forget to keep child’s safety in mind at all times during car rides and there’s nothing better than a car seat to ensure just that. My friend Udita who has been using a car seat since her lovely little girl was 7 months old, writes all about car seats and how to ensure a happy experience with them. Read her blog post here.

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32 Comments

  1. Yes, you have covered a lot of things to bring along on a car trip for toddlers. I agree with books, toys and loads of treats and snacks. If all else fails, a movie! Movies and personal DVD players saved my sanity on many trips

  2. I really like the snackpack idea! I don’t have children of my own but I can see this as being a really great way of keeping kids entertained and also fed.

  3. I don’t have children, but I can tell you from experience with my nieces and nephews that car rides are sometimes unbearable for the little ones! I loved all your ideas, especially the surprise travel bag! I’m sure he loved that!

  4. It’s so important to be prepared when travelling with kids! I was a little devastated the other day when I was on a plane and a little boy was on there with nothing – just sitting there looking so bored and trying to behave but how hard is it when you having nothing to do! I wanted to throw him my phone to watch something on haha.

    • mommyingbabyt

      December 11, 2017 at 12:10 pm

      Aww thats a bit sad really. They must have forgotten to pack something. Most airlines give a goody bag to kids but thats only on long haul flights I suppose

  5. I am glad I don’t have a toddler, I don’t know how you must be doing it. I heard about the Bombay road project, I just saw the other day the condition of the Bombay Pune Goa highway, so hats off to you and your children skills!

  6. It looks like you are going to have a great road trip! Definitely keeping the kiddos busy, keeps the parents sane!

  7. this is great tips! If you don’t have a game plan, your trip will feel like it takes forever to get to your destination.

  8. Oooh, a travel surprise bag – This sounds super fun! These are all great ideas for keeping little ones occupied and happy while traveling.

  9. I love the little snack holder! I’d mark it with the hours and let the child have one snack at each time frame! What a fun way to tell time!

  10. This post comes in perfect timing as many people will be traveling for the holiday. πŸ˜‰

  11. LOL yes snacks, all the snacks when my little guy was a toddler! I love that adorable hand puppet idea though, so cute!

  12. These are real great trips .. We love road trips .. Both my daughters have been travelling since 4 months.. Old .. Car seats itself are a saviour! They love to watch around from high up the car seat πŸ˜€
    Books, conversations, snacks have been our saviours too πŸ™‚ the elder one carries the younger ones toys to keep her calm! πŸ˜€

  13. We carry a snack pouch for him to suck on. I use reusable pouches and fill it with porridge. This keeps him busy on long drives along with most of the things you mentioned here, music, spot cars, diggers outside, baby Einstein toy. I want to emphasise on car seat safety too,. its unfortunate that it is not a strict rule in India.And I am glad bloggers such as you are talking about it. We too started with the infant car seat as soon as we started taking our son out. And early exposure to car seat is needed to get child accustomed to sitting in it.

  14. Travel surprise bag is a great idea.. Will surely try it in our next car road trip.

  15. Only with these stuffs we are able to survive with our road journey. And babyA loves your song list too but now her list has deviated to other language songs and hubby and I are sitting behind thinking what eould be the meaning !! 😎🀣

  16. Going for a road trip soon, these tips will definitely help me!

  17. I can swear by the books and snack box. That’s my go to always while traveling. What we also do is allow K to choose any one toy for Travel. This makes him feel involved πŸ™‚

  18. Lovely much required post!I I have observed the unprepared parents leave the child to the mobile phone.

  19. The car rides in Bangalore are equally painful thanks to the never ending traffic jams. We have music, snacks and toys handy. Should try books next time – I am sure it will work. Thanks for these tips – anything to keep them busy.

  20. Car trips are fun..but we need to plan so much.. I loved your snack box normally I need to pack 5 boxes thanks so much for this all in one box idea..loved the puppet one too..Would buy too

  21. we are a family who hops in for a long drive anytime and I can vouch for all the pointers being super awesome and can make a trip fun with super active toddler..finger family is a fav here too

  22. That’s an intetesting list of activities. With a toddler on board we need to keep a lot of stuff handy.. specially variety of snacks.

  23. great ideas. I loved your idea of Hand Puppets & matching toys. Looking forward to implementing them during our next road trip.

  24. These are very helpful tips. I have been using a few. The snack box looks pretty good. I will try to get hold of it myself too.

  25. These are some great tips to make car trips fun with small kids. ‘Are we there yet?’ is a common question even when they grow up. πŸ™‚

  26. And here I was pulling my hair out on how to entertain Vanya in this eternal traffic jam in mumbai . Your ideas are amazing and I am surely going to try them one by one

  27. Some great ideas in here! Our son is just getting old enough that more of these will apply. Love the idea of a car playlist and the finger puppet set. Plus that the puppets are small and fabric. Car friendly. Will have to check out your playlist too to get some ideas.

  28. These are some great ideas. Sadly none of these works for my son. So I keep on telling him about the places that we see through the window. I make stories and he asks questions listening to them. This way I manage to make him sit quietly.

  29. #BabyHashtag loves to snack and point at the lights and the moving buildings while in the car. She has super fun! These are great tips for when she grows up even more.

  30. I have used books and goody bag to my escape during car drives for long now. They always work. And whenever my toddler became irritable, I would distract him by playing the what color game. Loved this post. Its so doable

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