Here are a few of our tried and true items that are being stashed into each kids' backpack.
The kids have the following items in their bags, ready to hit the road:
1. I've written about these before and have used them in all sorts of situations. The Crocodile Creek Matchbox Puzzles are tiny puzzles, perfect for road trip pit stops. When lunch is being purchased, the puzzles hold everyone's attention. Plus, they are easy to tuck into your handbag (and have at hand for coffee shop time) when you reach your destination.
2. I love the Leapster Explorer. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it. The kids get a video gaming experience and the games are really helpful in subtly adding some summer learning. They games are fun and based on current characters that fit a wide variety of interests and ages. (And, although she's at the top end of the recommended age range, the Leapster is continuing to hold my now 9-year-old's attention. And, although he's a bit young by product recommendations, my two-year-old has one for this road trip now too.) The leapsters aren't used around the clock in our house, but instead pulled out for travel or special quiet time once in awhile.
3. My youngest received the My Pal Scout toy (also from Leapfrog Learning Toys) stuffed toy when he was just a year old. Now at age 2, he's started to take a strong interest in it-- talking back to the prompts. And, the best part? You hook the toy to your computer via a USB cord and personalize the prompts. Enter your child's name, favorite food, favorite songs, etc. The prompts are fun, age appropriate and engaging.
4. Another great product from Crocodile Creek (they make the puzzles above that I love too). These water bottles pack well, don't leak and hold just the right amount of fresh water. (Plus, they come in tons of designs!)
5. Mad Libs. Perfect in every way.
6. Little activity books from Dover Publications. They are a perfect small (packable) size, come in tons and tons of different activities (mazes, connect the dots, temporary tattoos, stickers) and topics (space, bugs, travel, animals) and are great for a wide variety of ages.
7. Neck pillows. These come in soft fabric, several fun animal designs and the perfect size for a child's neck. Really great for impromptu napping.
In my bag, I stash a few unexpected items to bring out when I need to change the pace. Here's what I'm carrying on this trip:
8. Whistle Candies. I introduced these to my kids while we were on a layover, a few years back, in the Tokyo airport. You can buy them online or you can, do as I did, and visit your city's international district to purchase them from a local supplier. Put these between your lips, blow and watch the kids giggle.
9. Ping Pong Balls (in bright neon colors!). These are great for when you arrive at your destination and you need to get the car unpacked. Give the kids a few plastic cups, some ping pong balls and stick a bit of masking tape to the ground. Tell them to sit on the masking tape marks and try to make baskets with their ping pong balls. Surprisingly simple, but shockingly effective!
Happy Car Party!!!!
*** Oh, and I should say that I'm not paid by any of the listed companies to express my opinion. I just genuinely find the above products to be great!