So first things first - toys! As well as a few of my busy bags (see previous posts) - I packed a 'surprise' bag full of miscellaneous things. Some of her favourites, some new things - things I can easily pass to her from the front seat. I've also thought of packing things that I can play with her if I need to retreat to the back.
She loves the TV show 'Mister Maker' and I saw this sticker/activity book in Big W and was thinking of popping it in her stocking for Christmas - but no, decided it would be perfect for the road trip. The little mini 'magnadoodle' will also hopefully keep her happily drawing (mess free) for a while.
I also brought along one of her favourite books "Big Book of My World" - it's quite long and has so many detailed pages so when we read it in detail cover to cover it takes ages! I would never leave her unsupervised with the money box and coins - but it will keep her amused for quite a while if I sit with her in the back.
Hanging toys and books that you can clip to the headrests are great (and you probably already have these in your car). Plus the little 'linky clips' are a must have so that little hands can reach the toys.
My lovely facebook mother's group also had some helpful suggestions to offer - music to play, a good repertoire of songs to sing, stickers, plenty of books to read... and this clever little 'Aquadoodle' travel mat from Toys R Us.
Now - food! The plan is to keep it easy and relatively mess free. Jatz bikkies, Cruskits, 'Rafterty's Garden' fruit bars are winners at the moment (don't you just love how toddlers taste buds are constantly changing! One day they love sultanas the next day not at all?) We packed her bottle too in the esky and are hoping that we can get it heated up when we stop. Dummies are a must have as well to increase our chances of getting her to sleep at the usual time.
We have episodes of Peppa Pig, Mister Maker and The Wiggles on our iPhones to play for her if we get desperate. Honestly - if it means she is happy and quiet and we can drive safely that's what's most important. We just pop it in the headrest and she's good to go! Just like a built in DVD player. I love that with the latest iOS update the episodes play continually.
Also did you know about the setting called 'guided access'? If you've got specific apps for your little tikes, you just triple click the home button (once activated in settings) and it locks them in to whichever app they are in - so you don't need to worry about them making calls, deleting precious photos or getting into mischief ;) I recognise that 'screen time' and use handheld devices are one of those parenting choices that not everyone will agree on - so please be respectful of our parenting choice :)
Wish us luck!
Lauren + James + Miss M