Road Trip with a Toddler | The Before

Now I must confess - we are only off on a 5-6 hour drive this weekend with our little miss...I'm sure many more families go on much longer drives and have great ideas of how to keep their little ones amused! I just thought I would share the things I'm packing to take with us in the car. Our plan is to keep her entertained as long as we can for the first stretch of driving, stop somewhere for food and a play/run around, and then hopefully she'll sleep on the next stretch. I predict the time between when she wakes up and when we arrive will be horrendous so fingers are crossed for a nice looooong sleep! I'll have to write a follow up post when we get home and let you all know how it went (and what I would do differently next time LOL).

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


  1. Good luck Lauren, we have a 9 hour trip coming up in Jan so I'm interested to hear how all this goes!!

    1. Thank you Jess! We had a great time. Have a look at my follow up post!

  2. I hope your trip goes well Lauren! I too am interested in the follow up of how it went! I am about to start packing bags for our trip and am going to do a similar post for flights! Screen time is so personal isn't it, I have just filled my iPad with things for my son so I totally understand :)

    1. Thanks Ali! Am just about to publish the next instalment. Went really well I think! I'm sure you'll find that the iPad will keep your little man occupied for part of the long flight. I think we had a good mix of screens, toys, food, sleep and breaks.

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