Cross country road trip with 2 1/2 year old

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-20-2008
Cross country road trip with 2 1/2 year old
Wed, 05-04-2011 - 1:36pm
Next month I get to drive cross country with my 2 1/2 yo son. I was hoping someone would have some advice on how to keep active toddlers occupied during long drives.
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-24-1999
Wed, 05-04-2011 - 11:56pm

Wow, that sounds like fun. Some things we did for our girls when they were small and with our youngest:

1. Lap desk and one with a lip or sides if you can find it

2. Playdough, crayons, small cars/toys

3. We did books on CD especially familar ones, not sure if he's too young.

4. Of course, dvds.

5. We used bubbles if it there was a true melt down and we couldn't stop, we have a van so it's not too bad if you're in the back.

6. My dd (was 3 in January) just started using LeapFrog wands and books, the wand has a headphone jack and I found some headphones made for kids that don't go up too high/loud.

7. Frequent stops. Realize you won't make good time (unless your little one takes nice long afternoon naps).

8. Seat protector for the car seat. With extra drinks in the car, the diaper might be extra wet. Or use an over night diaper.

That's all I can think of right now, good luck.

Cathie, mom to Audrey & Emily 12 yrs, Libby 2 yrs
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-02-2005
Sat, 05-07-2011 - 6:46pm
We drove from Chicago to Big Sky, Montana last year with my son who was 2 1/2 at the time. He is SUPER active.

They make a travel aqua doodle that was a favorite toy. It opens up and has a stiff back and they can draw on it forever, just add water. And, if they choose to draw on your car, whatever, it's just water and it will dry.

Play Dough was a HUGE hit. He liked to squash it on his lap desk and drive his cars over it and look at the different tracks it made.

At one point we pulled over and picked an ear of corn, and that kept him occupied for about 4 hours.

We made sure to get out a lot and let him run around and explore. He really liked picking up rocks from the different places we were.

Overall, for us, it was really a good trip. My son did great in the car, even though he is so super active and I was sure he was going to go insane! Just pack a little bag of toys he has never seen before, even simple stuff like koosh balls (those ones with all the "whiskers") for the times when he starts to get ansty and you're not ready for a break.

Good luck!
Signature Short

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-16-2007
Mon, 05-09-2011 - 8:06am
Lots of snacks, a portable DVD player, books, coloring supplies!

Good luck!

December Gumdrop 

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-06-2005
Sat, 05-14-2011 - 11:50pm
Last summer, when my granddaughter, Ashlyn, was two and a half, she and her parents drove from Utah to Texas, to visit her dad's birth mom and family. I've had lots of experience traveling with little ones, when my kids were small, and also traveled a lot when I was a child, since my dad was in the military. I made a bag full of things that whichever parents wasn't driving could use to play with her in the car. She was starting to learn shapes and colors, so I got out a bunch of fabric scraps and made little pillows of different colors and shapes. I made two pin cushions and put some of my quilting pins in one, so that they could use it for counting by moving the pins from one cushion to another. That was something she and I had started doing when she was here while I was sewing. (Of course, the pins were not for her to touch.) I also got out some old socks that I couldn't find the mates to and made hand puppets, with yarn hair, button eyes, etc... They weren't fancy, but they were cute, and she loved them. Something my parents did, when we were small, was buy little presents, and wrap them, one for each day that we would be driving. When we started getting bored, each morning, we would get to open a present. I did that with my kids, too. Little matchbox cars were one of our favorites. Of course, snacks help a lot, but you might want to cover your back seat with something, first. Of course, whenever you stop, try to find a place that has some room for him to run and get the wiggles out, as much as possible. It isn't the easiest thing, taking long road trips with little ones, but it doesn't have to be an ordeal, if you are prepared! Have a good one!