Road Trips with the Kids

Since forever, truly forever, my husband and I have made the four hour drive between Minneapolis and the northwestern part of the state to either see each other or family. In college it was to Moorhead while I finished school and now we pack our two redheads in the minivan to head to my dad's house. So with those two little, highly active, boys (plus one more little person on the way) it has become important for us to strategically pack our minivan with the tools to survive the drive. Since the says of traveling with a baby or toddler who will nap for an hour or more we need to fill our time wisely. This list not only helps the boys have an enjoyable ride, it prevents us parents from pulling our hair out.

Snacks: I pre-pack nearly every snack into two small containers, one for each child. This way at the request of a snack, I can grab a container and simply hand it back.
Snacks that I have found work well to travel with include: apples, bananas, grapes, small oranges, fish crackers, popcorn and granola bars. I also pour each child a water bottle.

Entertainment: I almost laugh at this thinking about how different road trips are for my kids in comparison to what my siblings and I grew up knowing. I remember wishing we could somehow bring our television with us on long drives! Books on tape were the closest thing to that when we headed out west to see Yellow Stone one summer and my brother got to record how our gas mileage was at each gas station.
For our boys I pack the following: a small pack of crayons for each, small coloring book or blank notebook to draw or use stickers in, binoculars, small toys like Matchbox cars, small play figures like Ninja Turtles or Paw Patrol, their favorite "lovie" (stuffed animal/blanket) and when all else fails we have the life-saving DVD player. I limit our movies to one on the way to our destination and one for the way home. I figure they are capable of entertain themselves with other things or heaven forbid, they look out the window and just relax! We also do a few sing along CD's, play I spy, or play a new game I came up with called "Find the Baby"- this one gets pretty funny!

Other "must haves" of mine are: a small cooler, small bag or container for garbage, wipes, sanitizer, paper towels, plastic bags (because the time you DON'T bring them, someone will inevitably get car sick).

Am I missing something? I'd love to hear other ideas for making a long road trip more enjoyable for the whole family!

When I pack our van on Friday I'll update with photos.

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