[ Edit: Since originally posting these ideas, I have had some comments about the safety of my suggestions in the event of an accident. To be honest, I hadn’t considered the possibility of lap trays hurting my kids or toys becoming projectiles. I would never intentionally endanger my children and appreciate your concerns. Please use these ideas at your own risk. ]
Earlier I shared a few cheats on how to get your car clean for a road trip with two kids. Today I’m back with my game plan for keeping my munchkins happy along the way. This topic really deserves 2 posts – organization and entertainment.
1. Personal space.
For such a long ride, each child needs their own area to eat and play. I had seen the idea of setting a cookie sheet atop a pillow and, while I liked the magnetic factor, I found the lip of a cookie sheet to be uncomfortable on arms for extended periods of time. So, I developed a similar lap tray using a pizza pan. Look for the step by step tutorial on how to make your own next week!
By simply attaching self-adhesive magnetic buttons to the bottoms of things, you significantly cut down the spill factor.
Does one judge the caliber of a child car restraint in the same way one judges that of a car—by the number of cupholders?! If so, my kids’ seats are a big fat zero, despite their hefty price tags. I couldn’t even find a suitable attachment aftermarket type. Enter the suction cup shower caddy. Not only does the big one fit a decent sized water bottle, but also some snacks and a personal fan. They’re easy for kids to reach on the window and quick to remove. I bought a few different sizes for Songbird’s window to keep her colored pencils and small toys handy as well. [edit:On second thought, colored pencils at eye level are probably not a good idea in the event of an accident. Maybe crayons instead?]
Duh… these are essential to road trip success – kids or adults! I tried to pick things that didn’t need refrigeration and already came individually packaged: granola bars, pretzels, lunch-sized goldfish, fruit squeeze pouches, and veggie straws. I also divided up larger bags of things like Chex Mix and Cheerios into sandwich-sized ziplock baggies. In the front seat I put a few snacks in a dollar store bin with a package of baby wipes for spill maintenance.
Although I am an impeccable driver, I also buckled them in to prevent flying food in the event of quick stoppage.
On the passenger floorboard I put Gatorade, water and energy drinks into insulated lunchboxes to grab in-between meals.
Another bin in the trunk has back up snacks and drinks.
All those snacks and meals on the go are bound to generate a few handfuls of trash. A tupperware bin with a trash liner shoved between the carseats works great. Kids can reach it themselves.
Be sure to bring the favorite blankets and stuffed animals. Leaving a child’s legs dangling for hours on end can prove very uncomfortable. Place kids’ suitcases on the floor beneath their feet as footrests. This also frees up a ton of trunk space for other travel goodies.
“Just In Case.” Once, when Bug was tiny, we had an incident that left me with a blowout and no diapers. I swore that would never happen again and fashioned this car organizer to keep all sorts of extra necessities handy in my vehicle; things like bungee cords, diapers, wipes, extra clothes, sunblock, scissors, etc. Basically it’s just a plastic shoe organizer that’s been cut, restitched and hung from a cheap shower rod. Some day I’ll get around to posting a tutorial if ya’ll want.
Alright, that’s all I got for kid prep – organization. Entertaining these monsters will be a whole other beast; stay tuned…