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To a kid, a road trip can feel like eternity—regardless of how long it actually is. Parents must prepare for every possible scenario. You’ll need a constant source of entertainment, snacks and more to keep the kids occupied along the adventure. Having perfected the road trip experience with her own kids, Fresh Chalk Community Advocate Elissa Tompkins has put together this guide for you to reference before strapping the kids in and hitting the road this summer.... more
One of the most essential items on our guide to success is an Apple Ipad Mini. Our boys rarely get tablet time, so when we are making our 13-hour road trip to Illinois from Colorado, the Ipad is a necessity to keep them mostly occupied and allow for the time to go by quicker. I prefer the Ipad mini because it is very parent and child friendly. You can enable guided access for younger children, so they are able to access only the applications you allow, or you can give them a little more freedom. It’s easy for them to learn how to use, can be used with or without internet access, and the battery life is great.
Along with the Ipad comes two essential accessories, one being a very durable and kid resistant case. We have used the Moxotek Kids Case for our Ipad Minis since first letting the kids play with them and the case has saved the Ipad more times than I can count. It comes in fun colors, is lightweight, and has a carrying handle and kickstand built on.
Apart from keeping the Ipad safe, you want to keep your kid’s ears safe while saving your sanity from another kid’s show song. The IClever HS14 Headphones comes in clutch for this task. It has a 94dB volume limit to keep the little one’s ears safe. They stay snuggly on their heads, are durable, affordable, and come in a variety of colors.
Aside from entertainment, a parent’s biggest stressor when taking a road trip, even only a couple hours away, is a child’s need to potty at the most impossible times. This purchase was one of my most outrageous purchases, but I have used it hundreds of times. The ONEDONE Portable Child Potty is so great for going potty on the road. It is compact, discrete, and the design prevents the urine from escaping out of the cup if the cup gets knocked around. They have a boy and girl version, and it is impressive how well they work!
Road trips can be dirty. Between the frequent stops at gas stations, the sticky and salty snacks, and spills that happen inevitably, you will wish you could frequently wash your hands. I love the water wipes by Pampers to sub in for when you cannot wash your hands but really need something. They have absolutely no scent, so anyone can use them for a quick clean up. They work wonderfully for cleaning up simple spills and getting any type of unknown residue off your hands.
Equally as important as hand wipes is a kid’s safe hand sanitizer. This is great for all the stops you make along the way, from sight-seeing to convenient store stations. The Baby Bum Hand Sanitizer is non-toxic and smells great! It is a must have for the times when you don’t have access to soap and water.
My children always seem extra thirsty on a road trip, and I have one boy who likes his water to be very cold, and one who prefers room temperature water. These water bottles are kid friendly, leak resistant, drop resistant, and work for both my kids. Bonus, they fit in the car seat cupholders! The Yeti Rambler Jr. bottle keeps the water cold and fresh for the whole trip.
When we first began road tripping, I used regular Ziplock bags. It felt like such a waste to use them 1-2 times and then toss them, and they were difficult for my kids to get their hands all the way in. When I found Zip Top Reusable Silicon bags and fell in love. They are sturdy and easy for kids to use, close and open, and I LOVE that they are reusable. They are dishwasher safe, oven safe, and freezer safe. They come in many different sizes, and they are compact for travel.
For the older kids that can safely eat in the car while driving…Hear me out. Kids prefer a variety of snacks, from cheddar bunnies to freeze dried or fresh fruit. I got the idea for a fishing tackle box when my kids were putting little trinkets in an old box they found in our garage. While they make Bentgo boxes that are the same concept, they never had enough openings for a long trip. With the fishing tackle boxes, we can put all our favorite snacks in them and give the kids a variety of options to choose from. They’re easy to keep clean and store away when we aren’t using it!
Kids can get burnt out on the Ipad and require some screen free stimulation. If a child is old enough to bring a book and read to themselves, that is great! But my kids are not reading by themselves yet, and I had to find other ways to stimulate their mind and creative side. The Melissa and Doug Water Wow books are genius! The pen is filled with water and the books transform in color with simple strokes. They often have hidden pictures to challenge kids while they color and come in a variety of styles for all the children’s interests.
This toy is perfect for people of all ages. It is so fun to fidget with and very easy to pop in the bag for easy travel. I keep it in my purse for when I am at the doctors with my boys, or on road trips. Smaller kids focus more on what they are doing with the toy, while older kids and adults do it subconsciously like clicking a pen. It is easy to clean when the colors start getting dirty from all the little fingers that touch them and it is a must have for traveling with kids.
Another mess free activity for kids ages 4-17 are the Crayola Color Wonder Mess Free books. They have the travel art desk that comes with a carrying case to keep all the items in one place. The markers only work on the Color Wonder paper, and the kids can choose what colors for their pictures. They have all the favorite characters from kids shows, classic characters, and simple pretty patterns to color. The colors last a long time, usually 3-4 road trips for us, and there is no stress of marker ending up all over your car or your kids.
This section often gets forgotten and overlooked, and most people can get away with grabbing items at a convenience store when they need it. But for a true road trip, these kits are a necessity. The Kid Medicine kit has chewable, kid friendly tablets for allergy relief, stomach soothers, and a fever reliever.
The Welly Human Repair kit has bandages, antibiotic ointments, cleaning wipes, anti-itch ointments and a tin to keep everything contained.