Wednesday, May 23, 2012

101 ways to keep kids happy in the car

1. Fingerplays: Itsy Bitsy Spider, My Little Kitty, Where is Thumbkin, etc. 

2. Blow bubbles: the little wedding favor bubbles are great in the car!
3. Bubble machine: we got ours at Wal-Mart for $6 and it is awesome.
4. Sing silly songs
5. Small toys that they haven't seen before--try wrapping "presents" for baby to open every so often.
6. Peek a boo
7. Bubble wrap: you can get a 1 ft x 6 ft length of bubble wrap from the dollar store and cut it into smaller pieces to entertain baby.
8. Magnets: find an old magnetic cookie tray from a thrift store and add a set of alphabet
9. Pipe cleaner jar: use an old spice large holes, like a parsley container, and cut pipe cleaners to length. Baby can practice putting pipe cleaners through the holes. Great for fine motor!
10. Pipe cleaner magnet bottle: Fill a plastic bottle (like a soda bottle) with small pieces of pipe cleaners. Glue a super magnet to a string and tie the string around the neck of the jar. Then have fun manipulating the pipe cleaners through the jar with the magnet!
11. Glitter jar: fill a clean, empty baby food jar with water and lots of glitter. Glue the lid on securely and have fun shaking the glitter and then watching it settle down.
12. Those trays of nails that you can press your face or hand into.
13. I-Spy bottle: Fill a clean, empty soda bottle with rice and a dozen or so small trinkets (dice, jacks, sequins, miniatures, etc). Take a picture of the items laid on a table and laminate it; give it to your child with a washable marker so they can mark off the items as they find them.
14. Play with small toys (my girls love the little Disney Princess dolls that come with rubber dresses).
15. Magnetic paper dolls or other magnetic toys on an old cookie sheet.
16. Create a tinker kit: fill a small bag or container with a mini screwdriver, pliers, magnifying glass, old calculator, and other small broken gadgets for your kid to tinker with.
17. If you're brave, give your kids some playdough. You can use old towels to protect the seats and old cookie sheets make a good lap tray.
18. A sheet of tin foil can keep kids occupied for a long time!
19. Finger puppets.
20. Fill a balloon with flour and let your kids squeeze it.
21. If you're super brave, small musical instruments from the Dollar Store.
22. Hand out glow sticks after dark.
23. Give each child a map and let them follow your route.
24. Make a car tracker: Cut a car out of heavy paper and string on a ribbon divided into increments for how long your trip will be; move forward after each hour.

Books and Stories
25. Let your kids write a story of their own--younger kids can dictate to you.
26. Read the scriptures.
27. Read the Friend.
28. Read or listen to a talk from the conference issue of the Ensign.
29. Look at a children's magazine like Family Fun or Highlights.
30. Touch and feel books.
31. Sturdy board books or crinkly books made for infants32. Tell stories about your childhood.
33. Choose your own adventure books.
34. Tell a choose your own adventure story--my kids love this! I just tell a story and let my kids make choices about what the characters will do.
35. Listen to a chapter book on tape.
36. Tell stories about when your kids were babies.
37. Look at photo albums of far away relatives.
38. Listen to picture books on tape and look at the pictures as you listen.
39. Read a chapter book aloud.
40. I-Spy book or a Do You See What I See? book by Walter Wick.
41. Graeme Base has written a few mystery picture books, complete with hidden clues and secret codes you have to crack. They can take a while to solve!
42. Tell a Terribly Wrong story (a mystery/riddle that your kids have to solve, like the old stabbed-by-an-icicle story).
43. Where's Waldo? We got the travel book that has all five books bound together, including all five characters in every picture plus hundreds of extra things to find!
44. Write a letter to a far-away family member, a missionary, or a member of the armed services.
45.  Write limericks together.
46. Mad-Libs.
47. Continually learn with simple workbooks from Target.
48. Write in your journal.

49. Make a playlist of your favorite songs and introduce your kids to them!
50. Upper body dance party.
51. Sing along to a cheesy soundtrack, like the Newsies!
52. Watch a movie.
53. Choose a new tv series to watch as a family.
54. Watch old family videos that have been converted to DVD.
55. Watch slideshows of family pictures (my kids love watching the slideshow that played at our wedding reception!)
56. Take silly pictures with a digital camera and laugh at them.
57. Videotape each other doing celebrity impressions.
58. Play games on a VTech camera, phone, Ipad, or Leapfrog.
59. Think up new blog posts.
60. Look at family picture albums.

61. Do a crossword puzzle.
62. Do a wordsearch.
63. Play Sudoku.64. Play the alphabet game.
65. Play I'm Going on a Picnic.
66. Play Ghost.
67. Play Road Trip Bingo--you can find tons of Bingo cards online with pictures of things like trucks, trains, bridges, etc.
68. Count how many different states you can find license plates from.
69. Play tic-tac-toe.
70. Play Cat is My Favorite Meat (this is what my family calls it, I don't know what it's really called): Each person starts with a blank piece of paper. Everyone writes a sentence and then passes the paper to the person on their left. That person draws a picture to illustrate the sentence and then folds the paper so that only the picture shows. Pass, and then write a sentence about the picture; fold so only the sentence shows and so on and so forth. Pretty hilarious!
71. Play 20 Questions.
72. The Quiet Game (parents like this one!)
73. Yahtzee is an easy game to play in the car.
74. Magnetic travel board games.
75. Play I-Spy

Art Activities 
76. Practice a new skill like embroidery or crotchet.
77. Make your own comic book.
78. Do a connect-the-dots picture.
79. Color by number picture.
80. Color on the windows with washable markers
81. Make paper bag puppets.
82. Coloring books.
83. Aquadoodle.
84. Magnadoodle.
85. Etch-a-sketch
86. Fill a gallon size ziplock bag with paint; seal and securely duct tape closed. Your kids can "paint" through the bag without making a mess.
87. Color with crayons--coloring books or clipboards are good for holding paper to color on.
88. Sticker book and a small notebook to decorate.
89. Let your kids go crazy  and make weird creatures with pipe cleaners.
90. String beads on ribbon or elastic (or pipe cleaners for little hands!)
91. Color plastic "stained glass" with markers.
92. Make button bracelets by stringing buttons onto elastic.

93. Make edible necklaces with Fruit Loops or Cheerios--then eat them!
94. Squeezable applesauce.
95. Apples or easy-to-peel clementines.
96. Mix your own trail mix--hand out ziplock baggies with chocolate chips, craisins, pretzels, peanuts, and marshmallows, and shake shake shake!
97. String cheese.
98. Roasted chickpeas.
99. Pistachios--shelling them is an activity in and of itself!
100.Something special that you don't normally buy (for us it's fruit snacks!)
101. If all else fails, give your kids a Melatonin and hope they fall asleep (just joking--mostly!)


Claire said...

Wow, this is fantastic and I don't have kids yet - these would even help ME stay entertained on a trip. Anyway, I wish there was a picture so I could pin it!!

Sunny said...

I love your list. You are the funnest mom ever. I do want to see your car when you get back though!!!! We are going to try the Cat Loves Meat game. Never heard of it before. And I have one more--if you dare--idea: duplo or lego. My kids love it, but we do find random car lego for the next few years...