If you're planning a family road trip, the best idea is to create a travel kit for your child. In the travel bag include the "necessary" items such as pens, pencils, crayons, travel games and writing paper -- these are all important for a child to have in order to stay entertained on a trip. However, other items are necessary to spice up a long car ride. The best idea is to find small and inexpensive items with a lot of play value. Don't spend a fortune!
Making your kit
Here are some ideas of budget-friendly items to add to your kit:
Allow your child to help choose what kind of items he/she would like in the tote bag. However, be sure that she does not decide everything, because the element of surprise will keep her from getting bored.
Individually wrap the items you bring with on the trip. Inexpensive wrapping paper or placing the items in lunch sack bags creates interest. An item is always more fun if the child doesn't know what it is ahead of time.
Visit your local discount store, but don't just buy any item. Be sure to ask yourself, "How long will this item keep my child's attention?"
Buy some Colorforms. These are great to stick on windows. Don't buy too many, because they can cause a mess. Just one set will do. Children will enjoy using the Colorform characters to act out scenes.
Buy snacks for on the trip. Preferably, choose snacks which don't cause crumbs and are easy to pack, such as fruit roll-ups, grapes, apples, juice boxes with holders, carrots and celery.
Buy a roll of scotch tape for your child. This will keep his or her attention for hours! Your kids can tape their mouth shut and try to talk to one another. They will also put tape on the windows and tape together paper to create books and other masterpieces.
Get a book or two for them to read on the trip -- just be sure to save it for the trip!
Bring along some stencils so your child can do something a little different with the pencils and paper.
Sing songs and play games on your trip.
Include Post-it sticky notes in your child's tote. Your child will love writing messages and drawing on them, and then he or she can stick them on the windows and create an art display.
Put a sticker pack in the tote bag.
For older children, include a comic book, kid-friendly magazine, soduku game or word search.
Wrap all new items in the tote bag in gift wrap or construction paper. Give your child a new surprise every 30 minutes to 1 hour (30 minutes for ages 3-5, and 1 hour for ages 5 and up).
Include your child's favorite kind or candy or gum in the travel tote.
Put tiny toys and other things in an empty aspirin bottle. Examples: Micromachines, worry dolls, pretty stones & beads. Check out your local craft store for more great ideas.
More on traveling with kids
The daddy packhorse: Tips for air travel with kids
Simple tips for road trips with kids
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