Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Overachiever

I'm a MAJOR overachiever when it comes to road trips. It's not because it's in my nature to be an over achiever or becuase I really love entertaining kids, but because I can't stand to be trapped in small quarters with whiny children. I want to appease them before any amount of whining escapes their lips. Sure, it's rough on me to do so much, but not nearly as rough as the alternative.

So here is my compilation from my last few successful road trips. I do all my shopping at the dreaded Walmart... one stop shopping is a must when I'm carting three kids around.
  • Tin foil was the hit of the trip. We made hats, ponytails, swords, hooks (as in Captain Hook), balls, face molds, etc.
  • I gave each kid their own roll of Scotch tape...I always get mad when they unroll mine at home...but this was strictly their own. Parker used his to make spider webs since he is, of course, Spiderman.
  • Don't discount toys you have at home...if they can entertain themselves with superhero action figures for an hour at home, they can in the car as well.
  • Of course movies.
  • Never underestimate the power of a McDonalds Happy Meal. Reid is the only one of my kids who can finish a whole meal. I hate to buy them...it's such a waste. Though they do love the chocolate milk option. I've found you can purchase just the toys for $1 and that is quite often cheaper than buying them each a meal...we split food...only as much as we'll eat...and they still come out with a toy. I always swore I wouldn't be the parent who made my kids share fries...I hated that as a kid and now I'm that parent. Can you believe McDonalds had Spiderman toys that week? How lucky were these superhero lovin' crazies?
  • At the last minute, I threw brown paper bags in my activity bag. We made puppets and I taught the kids how to blow them up and pop them. Nothing extravagant, but it entertained for a good amount of time.
  • I gave Gray a pen and let him color all over himself...I've done this with markers before, but we tend to lose half the caps and they all dry out.
  • I never dress the crazies in good clothes on a road trip...we travel in jammies.
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Surprisingly, no one enjoyed silly putty.
  • Spray cheese and crackers is both an activity and a snack.
  • Dry cereal was the best snack I invested in. Cookie Crisp, in particular was fantastic. They could have a whole handful of mini-cookies.
  • I always pack Ziploc bags...if a bag of treats rips open...I stick them in a bag. Or when I need to pass out snacks to kids that don't come in individual packets, I divi them out in baggies.
  • I choose water bottles with the kind of lids that pull up and snap down to close...rather than screw on and off. Way less mess. I also brought a jug of Gatorade to refill in the water bottles once we drank them. Everyone seemed to prefer Gatorade to juice boxes or soda.
  • Diapers are GREAT for cleaning up spills.
  • I try to pack a little first aid. Bandaids and Neosporin and Tums and Tylenol (for both grown-ups and kids) and just a handful of things we use regularly. Inevitably, someone gets sick on every trip and stopping at a gas station for medicine is the most expensive way to buy it.
  • Foam visors have been a hit on more than one road trip. They're less than a dollar and we have a plethora of foam stickers at home. We've done the same thing with masks. Anything to wear always goes over well with my crazies.
  • Along the same lines...we've had tons of fun with silly teeth.

  • Anything that sticks to the windows are fun...post-it notes, sticky hands (the toys, not actual sticky hands) suction cup balls.
  • Speaking of sticky hands, Dum-Dums always quiet a crying kid. And then his own sticky hands afterward would entertain Gray for a while. After one blue sucker, I tried to pick out the clear colored ones for him.
  • I never leave on a trip without construction paper and tape and scissors. Hats are great. Some have been elaborate, but mostly they're just a paper headband with something stapled on...like a shamrock or reindeer antlers or feathers...depending on the season.
  • Notebooks, coloring books, a fresh pack of crayons...all good.
  • We had fun with a road trip scavenger hunt...we had to find a cow, a green truck, a stop sign, someone on a cell phone, etc.
  • Battery powered fans (with foam blades from Walmart) went over really well last year when we traveled in the heat of the summer. The air isn't as cool in the back seat, not to mention how sweaty the boys got when the car was off at the gas stations.
  • I try to pick up a few packs of silly little toys. This time it was stretchy lizards. They all loved them...especially Grayden. I like the toys that come in packs...there's enough for everyone without having to buy three.
  • Don't get it all out at once. I managed to save a few things until the last couple hours on the way home. That was a life saver.
I should write a book on this.

28 comments:

Amber Nish said...

Impressive!! It seems that you were blessed with kids that dont get car sick! I cant imagine my girls being able to focus on activities like that without an adverse reaction. Fortunately, they are all great travelers, so I have never had to be so creative, but RJ and Courtlyn may break that mold. And, one thing you might be interested to know about me..I HATE TAPE!! The mere thought of letting them have tape sends chills all over me (much like people with nails on a chalkboard!) Just reading that gave me a chill, but I am sure they would love it, if they did not have such a crazy mother!! Again, I applaud your creativity!!

jeanine said...

Awesome ideas! I'm totally stealing several of these in a few months!

Judds said...

These ideas are AMAZING!!! I am going to have to steal some of these.We usually have three options... movies, singing or sleeping. That seems to work for them.

Lauri said...

You're right--you should write a book! I would never have thought of most of these and I'm sure no one else would have either. Where did you get your creativity? Maybe you should sell some of that while you're at it.

Kris said...

YOU SHOULD write a book. The foil was my favorite!

Danielle said...

Love it! I would definetly buy your book, such simple but fun and awesome ideas! You are such a fun mom!

Cynthia said...

Your book would be a best seller!
So, do you sit in the back with them? or are you leaning over the seat to make, help, staple, or pass out supplies. That was always my problem. If we were ever in an accident, someone would have had to explain why I went through the front window back-side first.

Nicole said...

I tried a few of these on our road trip last week and they worked out great. We did the fake teeth and pipe cleaners although I think Amanda had more fun with the pipe cleaners then Tony. Thanks for the great ideas!

Amanda B. said...

Wow- I have done some of those, never thought of some. My question is how you fit all that in your car! :) Ya, I used to make my kids share happy meals, but lately they are to the point (even my two year olds.....) that they really do eat most of it themselves. Our days of sharing are over. Oh well. Glad your trip went well! I'll bet you are exhausted just from the road trip! And you think you aren't as good at being a mom to little kids...... :)

Suzanne said...

I'm so grateful for all these ideas. I'll let you know if our road trip is as successful as yours! I hear dramamine is a must too!!

Kelly said...

You should write a book for sure! In our case, we just take Grandma along, and she does all the entertaining, because I get too sick if I even attempt to turn my head to the backseat! Awful!
Love all the ideas- it would be a best-seller!!

Autumn said...

Great ideas! I'm going to send my sister who's moving a link to this.

Kim said...

Yeah really you should write a book on those things. Those are things I never would have thought of...but are such good ideas.

Sheryl said...

YOu are soooo creative. I will buy many copies of your book! For now I am going to copy and paste it to my documents!

Jen said...

Great ideas! I'll for sure have to use some of them on our next road trip.

Heidi said...

SERIOUSLY... this post will be bookmarked! I will need this sooner than later! Thanks Katie!

gibblove said...

Thank you so much for posting all your fun ideas! You are amazing:) I really think you should write a book. I know I would buy it:) You are a very crafty mom. I love all the ideas. I am still trying to comvince Randy that I can drive to Utah this summer. I still have a little more time:) Take care! Give Grayden a squeeze from me! You have such cute cute boys!

Violet and Thomas said...

I just saved this post as a word document. You should write a book about it. Thanks for the ideas.

Curtis Whipple said...

Ahhh... stretchy lizards! Good times! How did you keep them from popping each other? "Mom, he ppppoped me! He's always going aroung pppppoping peepole!

Kelly said...

Again, so impressed with your creativity for these road trips! I am sooo not creative at all... but I will copy your many ideas on our next trip for sure!

Shalece said...

Thanks! Next week we are going to Utah and you bet we will be trying some of your creative ideas. I got a good laugh out of Cynthia's comment.. so funny. I have a hard time turning around a lot too in the car, car sickness is a serious weekness of mine! Anyways hope it goes good, and thanks again! Oh and I think you should just get your blog published, it would be a best seller. Seriously!

Erin said...

Love your creativity and planning. So stealing these if we go on a trip this summer!

Kipn n' Sarah said...

I am going to have to copy this and print it up and save it in some sourt of parenting advice book I should start to make! You are a GREAT mom and a very SMART mom as well! Looks like you had a very successful trip and the kids had fun! If you keep doing stuff like this all their lives they are going to have the BEST memories of car trips with the fam! Way to go mommy!!! Im coming to you for so much advice once this little girl comes out :)

Heidi said...

I loved them all! Thanks for posting them!

Lisha said...

You totally need to write a book on this! Great ideas! How do you come up with all of your ideas? I'm so glad you posted this. We have a trip to Yellowstone coming up in August and I'm sure to need some ideas to entertain the kids. :)

AshnRuss said...

I don't think you can be any cooler, but you always surprise me. You are so creative I get so jealous of you! Your boys will have awesome memories when they are older.

Kristin said...

Katie,

I loved your ideas!! Thank you so much! We will be making a trip out to Utah this Summer and for the first time every seat in our minivan will be full. I am pretty nervous to have us all stuffed in like sardines, but these ideas will be SO helpful!! Thanks! (:

Harmony said...

Wow Katie. You are amazing. You are sooooo clever and creative and full of positive, fun energy! Why oh why were we not better friends in high school! Most likely it has to do with being one year different, too bad that tends to make such a difference. I'm regretting that I didn't realize how awesome you are and try to get past that barrier anyway! I missed out. Your blog is totally inspiring. I need to step it up as a mom. Thanks for reminding me. I enjoyed browsing your blog. It's been awhile since I visited.