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Friday, November 29, 2013

Packing for the Long Haul-- with kids

Jules here-- Get ready for the stars to align-- Ems & Jules will be together, in person, in a matter of days! Ems & I will be coming up with millions of more rules every moment we are together--just kidding, we'll play word games and watch cheesy Hallmark Christmas moves; we lead riveting lives.

However, to achieve my goal of couch cuddling with my sis, I must first endure an arduous 12 hour car trip with three children 5 and under.....  *sigh*  So, to kill two birds with one stone, here is my car-packing list and a blog post in one!

Food Items:
I keep one snack bag up front, and I pack my 5 year-old's mini back pack with her snacks. I make sure all of her items can be opened by her (there have been meltdowns in the past when she is staring at an impenetrable pack of fruit snacks for an hour...)  Common car snacks for us include:

  • Goldfish
  • Pretzels (rods are fun and last a bit longer too)
  • Crackers--wheat thins, triscuits, etc.
  • Fruit snacks
  • Animal crackers
  • Water in sippy cups -- side note.... I'm doing this pinterest link idea:
I also will pack PBJ's, yogurts, and granola bars for a lunch break. We will be on the road through two meals, and I doubt my children can stomach fast food TWICE in one day without intestinal turmoil.

I am blessed with three kids who can be entertained with singing, stories, and games pretty well... but 12 hours worth? Not so much.  I typically like to have an organized center in my car of activities to do on the ride.

  • Books on CD (all my children enjoy these)--free from library
  • Nursery rhymes/singalong songs--also free from library
  • Stickers & Paper-- this works well with the younger two. Give them a bunch of stickers to put on a piece of paper. Sounds dumb, but it works.
  • Notebook/pen for my writer in the back
  • Picture books
  • Doodle pad
  • Leap-pad (small letter tracing one is the one I have)
  • Car game list
    • 20 questions
    • The guessing game (all ages game that starts with "I'm thinking of...."  it could be an animal on the farm that starts with the letter P or a place where you can buy bananas.... you can easily adapt activity for different ages and take turns).
    • Old MacDonald-- this seriously takes up 30 minutes of different animals, people, etc. All kids love it. It's monotonous and cringe-worthy for adults, but I do anything to entertain on trips...
    • We do a couple of rhymes that we have learned throughout the years from story time too:
      • Eeney-meeney miney mo, let me hear your hands go: Clap, Clap...Clap Clap Clap (a catchy rhythm of 1,2....345)
        Sounds go good, sounds so fine, let me hear you one more time: Clap, Clap..Clap Clap Clap--- now change the verse to "feet...stomp". "lips...kiss" etc.... be creative!!
      • I had a little *red* balloon until I blew and blew (put hands up to mouth and blow)Then it got all big and round and grew, and grew, and grew! (make hands bigger and bigger)I tossed it up into the air, and never let it drop (Mime tossing a balloon up)Then I bounced it on the ground (bounce motion) until it suddenly when POP! (clap loudly) **We change the balloon color, and repeat...incessantly...

Car Organization
Packing the car efficiently is crucial to a well-run trip.  I divide the packed items into several categories:
  • Stuff I need within hands-reach-- CDs, snacks, drinks, pacifier, "loveys"-- Goes in my door pockets or on the center console.
  • Stuff I need at rest stops: diapers, wipes, change of clothes, and lunch foods-- usually put these items in bag behind my seat.
  • Stuff my eldest needs in the rear-- within arms reach of her car seat
  • Stuff I don't need until arrival- in the trunk
 Now, I have a final weapon in my arsenal of entertainment this year: a DVD player.  My fantastic friend has lent me this quiet-inducing device, and I am excited to use it as last-resort entertainment in the car. 

Lastly, I pack emergency dum-dum lollipops-- not too much sugar and they definitely quiet a raging toddler for a bit!!

Ems-- here I come!!

Easy Rule #58902 Use the Boy Scout motto for car trips: Be Prepared.

Easy Rule  #5241 Enjoy the journey more than the destination-- just kidding... SURVIVE the journey and then relax :)


  1. I wonder which fantastic friend loaned you the DVD player! :). Good luck! My boys survived a 9 hour trip with massive gridlock without any tears. Granted, the return trip was less than enjoyable! But still! Sanity one way is worth it!

  2. Return trips are always the worst.... Have a great early-Christmas season :) Can't wait for Graham cracker house decorating!