Monday, August 06, 2012

How TO Keep Smiling on a {10 hour} Road Trip With Little Ones

RoadTripWhen Matt “begged” me to accompany he and the youth group to camp this year, I was hesitant. Why? Because it was in Glorieta, New Mexico!!! Sure, I knew I would get there and be SO glad that I made the trip…but, THE TRIP sounded miserable.

But, as soon as I made the commitment to go, I got Mammer & Slickpaw on board and got busy making TONS of things to do for our 10 hour travels! {Thank you, Pinterest, for being so helpful on this venture…as I explain these ideas, please understand that MOST of them were based on ideas I found from others. I’m sorry to say that I’m not going to take the time to link all of the sources…because that would take me YEARS…but, if you’re interested, you can find them on my “Road Trip Pinboard!”}

So, how do you happily travel 10 hours with one 5 year old and one just turned 2 year old!?…

Here’s what we did…

Before we left, I went to Dollar Tree, Target Dollar spot and World Market to stock up on “Road Trip Sussies!” I put them in paper lunch sacks and labeled them with different sayings that would prove to be appropriate for desperate times in the car…
Glorieta Part 1 005I strung a ribbon from handle bar to handle bar in the backseat and clothes pinned some of the big cities we’d be traveling through. Then, using the “Swaggon” that Q created, we had a way to track our trip! Ask me how many times we heard “are we there yet!?”…I think none!!!
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Since Q has gotten into being our “map guy” lately at the Zoo, etc., Slickpaw made him a map to Glorieta that was laminated. That way, he could use a white board marker to follow along as we drove. He did a great job the whole time!!
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And, speaking of white board markers…this boy was OBSESSED! Letting him color on the white board was his first activity and it probably could have lasted the whole trip! He loved it so!
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Road Trip Bingo was A HUGE hit too! They both had fun looking out the window for the pictured items!
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We made some Fruit Loop bracelets with Pipe Cleaners for a mid-morning snack!
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And, we danced with Glow in the Dark Slinkys! {Found in one of their “Sussie Bags!”}
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I filled an old wipes container with fabric strips (Wal Mart will sell you the tiniest amount of fabric) and watched Nash get so excited as he pulled out each new piece!
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Another thing we did was STOP! We ate lunch at a fun little café, stopped to take pictures next to silly landmarks, and stopped at random convenience stores to grab crazy snacks! It may have added some time to our trip, but it helped break it up!
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{“The mule” in Muleshoe, Texas}Glorieta Part 1 046

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{We made it to New Mexico!}

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I printed 8x10 pictures and put them in page protectors. Then, they (and I) got to scribble away with white board markers to make funny faces! They thought it was hilarious!
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As the trip got closer to ending, the “Sussie Bags” were put to GREAT use! Here the boys are with some fun projector suckers (World Market), sticky hands (Dollar Tree) and Lemon/Lime Salt! (they LOVE this stuff!)
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{These gross hands ended up being the BEST $1 I’ve ever spent! They got HOURS of playtime!}
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These Dollar Tree cookie sheets were great for magnet play time and popsicle stick picture puzzles that I made!
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Of course, I thanked Jesus many times for our in-Swaggon movie theater and wireless headphones and the mini-Magna doodle! Nash also loved “taking pictures” with his pretend camera!
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Here are a few of the fun games that I found at World Market…so vintage and fun!
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These watercolor pages provided a good amount of entertainment. I used ‘paint cups’ to hold a little water and let them go to town.
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Here are some pics of the unique candy I found (Dollar Tree and World Market!) They had such fun with both!
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And, we had some fun Magnet Fishing! I found a cheap “fishing set” at Dollar Tree and hot glued magnets to the hook. Then, I glued paper clips to felt fishies! Q especially loved seeing how many he could catch!
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The basket of books with “reading tools” from my teaching days proved to be helpful multiple times. He had his ‘reading glasses’ and a ‘whisper PVC pipe phone!’ …Of course, the DS came in handy during Nash’s nap time, too! And, how fun is this bathtub set up at the hotel!? I thought it was, genius, if I do say so myself!!! Glorieta Part 1 107
Of course, we had our miserable times too! Times when NO DVD or iPhone app could be a cure! But, we survived! And, I’m so thankful that I took the time to plan some fun things for our travels! The boys had a great time…and, we all stayed sane! Maybe I’ll rest up to do it again NEXT summer!
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P.S. A HUGE thank you to Mammer and Slickpaw for coming along! Slickpaw drove the WHOLE time so that Mammer and I could facilitate the fun!! I can’t imagine that I could have done it without them!!! Glorieta bound


  1. Thanks for so many great ideas!!!

    We're heading to Houston this weekend and although it is only 4-5 hours (depending on traffic) I know I am definitely going to use some of these "tricks."

  2. I'm so using a ton of these ideas for our 12 hour drive in October!! Love the idea of the 8X10 pictures! So many of them I hadn't seen before. Pinning for sure!

  3. We took a 14 hour (plus) trip to Colorado this summer and we did so many of the same activities you did- thanks to Pinterest! The intentional planning helped us survive and we actually had a very pleasant car trip to and from our vacation! I think these ideas make a huge difference! I love your fishing idea- should have done that one! I'll save it for next year.

    So fun!

  4. What fantastic ideas! So glad y'all had a great trip! :)

  5. Oh these are such great ideas, and lots of them that I hadnt seen before. Definitely pinning it for our upcoming 7 hour drive to Disney! Just wondering if they just reused the same things on the way back home or did you have new little bags?

  6. Jessica,
    I actually had enough to have some there and on the way back! :) Good luck!

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