About a month ago I started pinning ideas for how to occupy my two-year-old on our upcoming 28 hour round trip road trip to California. I found some great inspiration, but my favorite idea came from The Growing Garcia Family where she created activity packs, each intended to last 3 hours. I loved the idea of being organized and helping ration all the fun for the entire trip, so I began coming up with idea for how to fill six three-hour time blocks for Jace. While that would bring us 10 hours short of the entire trip, I figured there would be some napping and just watching out the window time in there as well.
Activity Pack #1
-Let’s Go to the Zoo peek-a-boo book by Fisherprice (bought at Kohls)
-Tomas the Train magnadoodle and book (bought at Walmart)
-Little Einsteins video
-Old cell phone (we found it in the garage and saved it for the trip so it would be something new)
-Sheet of stickers
Activity Pack #2
-Color Wonders Dora coloring sheets and half a pack of the coordinating markers (bought at Walmart)
-Honk! Honk! book (favorite that we already owned)
-Cars the movie
-Another “new” cell phone
-Lightning and Mater toys to go with the movie.
Activity Pack #3
-The Incredibles Movie
-Cars, Trucks, Planes and Trains peek-a-boo book by Fisher Price (bought at Kohls)
-Elmo phone (toy we already had that’s a favorite)
-I later added a favorite magnadoodle to this pack as well.
Activity Pack #4
-Colors Sticker Book (bought at Walmart)
-Color Wonders blank paper (bought at Walmart)
-Half a pack of Color Wonders markers (bought at Walmart)A
-Sports Balls magnetic activity (posted about HERE)
-Little Einsteins video
Activity Pack #5
-Let’s Go to the Farm peek-a-boo book by Fisher Price (a gift from a year ago, but can be found at Kohls)
-Animals Sticker Book (Bought at Walmart)
-Little Einsteins video
-Magic Nuudles (bought at Joann’s)
-Animals Magnetic Activity (posted about HERE)
Activity Pack #6
-Elmo I Can Do It book (was a gift)
-Color sorting magnetic activity (posted about HERE)
-Numbers Sticker Book (bought at Walmart)
-Toy Story video
-Buzz and Woody toys (Woody not pictured)
Each of these items packs were put in their own plastic grocery bag and then all the bags were placed in a flexible rubber tub. I also included a few general items that weren’t assigned to a specific activity pack.
-Clipboard (bought at Walmart)
-Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs video
-First Words Sticker Book (bought at Walmart)
-Mini DVD player
-Cookie Sheet (bought at The Dollar Tree)
The bubbles were included to help him get some energy out at rest areas. In new surroundings it can be sometimes hard to get him to move around much, so I thought these would help him loosen up. The whole tub was placed at Jace’s feet, behind the driver’s seat so I’d be able to easily access it throughout the drive.
As we’ve now done almost half of the driving for this trip, I have some feedback about how these activities worked. Some of my general observations are:
-Since he’s two, he definitely will keep asking for some of his favorite activities from before, or isn’t interested in the movie pulled out with a pack. So we haven’t strictly stuck to only what’s in each pack for that amount of time. Instead, the packs help me ration what we do have and keep a lot of items a secret still. By him not being able to just see and choose whatever he wants, there’s a surprise factor. I also keep myself in the mind set of “these things need to last three hours” and try to engage him more in each of them rather than just moving onto the next toy the moment he seems bored.
-The sticker books are a HUGE HIT! One book can last us a full hour. Considering they only cost $1/each, I’d say that’s a well spend dollar. He isn’t able to peel out the stickers himself, so we just kept handing it back and forth to each other. I’d peel off a sticker, turn to the correct page in the book, and hand them to him, telling him to put the sticker where it goes. My little guy likes to do things correctly, so he’d look over the whole page first, find the matching picture and then carefully place it on the page. When we were all done with the stickers, he then took about 15 minutes just looking through the book.
-I had read the suggestion to put coloring pages on a clipboard and this trick has worked very well. I just put one sheet on at a time, and hand him a ziplock baggie with the markers in it. He likes taking the time to carefully put the caps on, so he’s able to handle it. When one falls, though, I don’t worry about it because these only mark color on the Color Wonder paper. We did have some frustration when he accidentally emptied the bag and I couldn’t find the blue marker from where I was sitting.
-The stickers not associated with a book were also a big hit because he got to do whatever he wanted with them. And since he had a bunch, he had fun. His stuffed kitty and blanket ended up with several, three were placed on the buckle of his car seat, and Mommy and Daddy were sporting a few as well.
-The Peek-a-Boo books also are a great time filler. With the new ones that he’d never seen before he spent close to 20 minutes on each page just opening and closing the flaps and looking at the pictures. I’d suggest pre-opening the flaps though if your child is 2 and a half like Jace because he had a hard time opening most of them for the first time.
-We already had our own mini DVD player, but we borrowed my mom’s for this trip because you can turn the screen around and lay it flat. This made it possible for Jace to just hold it in his lap like an iPad. This was so much easier than trying to balance it somewhere.
-We only pulled out the bubbles once, but they were great to have then.
-I had worried that these wouldn’t be able to fill up 3 hours, but with the movie included in that time, it was a pretty accurate estimate of time filler.
I’ll update this again once I have more feedback about the other activities.
Thanks for stopping by!