Long car rides...without a DVD player?!

Discussion in 'The Toddler Years(1-3)' started by SMax, May 25, 2011.

  1. SMax

    SMax Well-Known Member

    We are making our annual, two-day drive to Montana to spend a week with my parents in August. We break the trip into two segments, traveling only ~300 miles a day. We had a REALLY hard trip when the kiddos were one...last year was better until the last bit of the return trip home. We were all tired from a long week and siting in the car was awful. We have been trying to avoid a lot of TV for the kiddos, so I have been relucant to buy a DVD player for long car rides.

    HOWEVER(!), I am wondering if this might be the year I break down and buy them for the ride. I cannot see my kids sitting happily with MagnaDoodles (they are rarely used at home) while DH and I chat up front and admire the beautiful scenery :) For the past two trips, I had fully stocked backpacks with little toys to keep them entertained. I just feel like they would not have the same interest in the little dollar store toys that I would normally buy??

    Yet, the trip is not too bad since we are taking it slow...I can be a bit more flexible with eating schedule and of course, it is so much easier to stop, get out and let them run around now.

    Maybe I just need some creative ideas for the car ride? Would they understand books on CD at this age? Any suggestions for toys/activities for 3 year olds?
  2. Danibell

    Danibell Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    Kudo's to you if you go without a dvd player! ;) We make an annual 4 day drive trip from south carolina to saskatchewan canada, 2000 miles one way, every summer. My dvd player is my sanity saver! We plan stops every 2 hrs, and after every stop we put a new movie in and refill snacks and cups. You couldn't probably do 300 miles a day without the dvd player if you bring some fun kid music along to play, maybe some magnets (use a cookie sheet for them to stick them on), do they know their colors yet? Can they see out of the vehicle enough to see the colors of other cars? Cookie sheets work good for coloring books/crayons/markers too, as well as keeping hot wheels cars in place. We have two of these tables to use, from when we only had 2 kids. We'll use these for the twins this year, and the big kids have small folding lap tables to use in the back seat. This table looks handy too, and it's cheaper!
  3. kumphort

    kumphort Well-Known Member

    I would get a DVD player, but not break it out unless you are truly desperate, this way you have a back up plan

    Can you get a color wonder coloring set? they make a travel kit http://www.amazon.com/Crayola-Wonder-Travel-colors-styles/dp/B001KW0606

    Some sort of colorforms or magentic scene http://www.amazon.com/Go-Diego-Colorforms-Fun-Pocket/dp/B000K2I7ZS/ref=sr_1_5?s=toys-and-games&ie=UTF8&qid=1306348112&sr=1-5

    Do you have kids song CDs?

    Can you make a book on tape of their favorite stories?

    Car bingo, or just pointing out things for them to look at
  4. TwinsInOkinawa

    TwinsInOkinawa Well-Known Member

    We don't have a DVD player in our car and routinely make 150-250 mile trips with the girls. I think it is good for the family to talk and interact rather than zone out for the whole trip ( or I'm just a glutton for punishment!).

    We do a lot of singing, I read lots of books over the back of the front seat, counting and practicing our alphabet. The girls have recently gotten into ColorWonder books, I love those! I usually pick up a new little toy, doodle board or even small bubbles in the kind that can't spill, found those at Kohl's, before the trip. We recently got view finders and this past trip, the girls really liked those.

    Lots of snacks, too!

    Mine don't listen to books on tape yet, they just don't get it yet.

    It is definately not a relaxing trip for me, I dont get to read or relax and look at the scenery, but it works for us. In fact, my DH usually drives the whole way so he doesn't have to deal with the girls. And mine don't like to sleep in the car, so I can never count on that happening.

    It has gotten a lot better as they get older, though.

    Good luck!
  5. kgar

    kgar Well-Known Member

    I say buy the DVD player. My kids hardly watch any tv at home. I save it for the car. So they're absolutely mesmerized by it when we go on trips. I go to the public library and pick up a few new DVDs for each trip. The Best of Elmo series, old Blues Clues episodes, and the Greatest of Thomas the Train 2-dvd set are the best. The dual-screen car DVD player is probably the best $100 investment I've ever made.

    The backpack full of new, cheap toys is also a lifesaver.

    My most frequent long trip is a 6.5 hour drive to grammy's house. I stop after 1.5 hours at a rest area to let the girls run around for a few minutes. Then I stop at the halfway point and find a place for the girls to run around for a long time - about 2 hours. We go to a park, have lunch, and let them run themselves exhausted. The end of that stop coincides with naptime. So they generally sleep the first 2 hours of the last half of the trip. At that point, we're homefree.
  6. tiff12080

    tiff12080 Well-Known Member

    We just drove 10 hours in a 2day period without one...I was shocked it went off without a hitch. My boys love cars so they were just happy looking at the mac trucks!
  7. KCMichigan

    KCMichigan Well-Known Member

    We just did 17 hours each way (2 days one way- each day 8-9 hours) to Utah, we rented a car that happen to have a DVD player.....

    Day 1 watched 1.25 hrs (two 45 minutes shows) when DD2 was feeling carsick to take her mind off it it

    Day 2- no tv

    return trip

    Day 3 no tv

    Day 4 no electronics at all....tv

    I really really thought we would use it more, but did not. We do regularly do a 5-6 hour trip (each way) w/ a dvd player a few times a year since girls were a year old. They are really good!

    A few things we did/do:

    new books, new trinkets, new crayons, Magna doodles, stuffed soft animals to play with, pipe cleaners, favorite small toys, music and book CDs, window clings, and lots of snacks!
  8. nikki_0724

    nikki_0724 Well-Known Member

    Last Saturday we were in the car for about 10 hrs. 3-4 hrs to get to our destination, we had about 6 stops planned for the day and then we drove home another 4 hrs. The kids didnt have any toys or Dvd players and did just fine. They enjoy looking out the window and talking to each other. We have been traveling with them since they were young so maybe that makes a difference. Do you have a laptop that you could set up in the car so you dont ahve to spend money on a dvd player?
  9. Dielle

    Dielle Well-Known Member

    I make a 200 mile (each way) trip every other month or so, to visit my folks. And about 1/year we take a long road trip, like 1000+ miles. Though at gas being $4/gal I'm not sure it's happening this summer.

    One thing I've done a few times (recommended by a SIL) for our long trips, is to get sandwich bags and put little goodies in them, then name and # them so you know which to grab when. Could be a snack in one, stickers in another, glowsticks (for at night), a small dry erase board, a coloring book, etc. Everytime you stop (and with little ones, you know you stop a lot), they get a bag. You could change this to where if they've behaved for the last part of the trip they get the next one, if that would help. My kids look forward to seeing what they're going to get, each bag entertains them for awhile, and I get most of it from the dollar store or $ section at Target. And I sewed large pockets that hang from the seats in front of where they're sitting, to hold things. We also listen to books on CD almost all the time in the car... lots of great options at the library.
  10. Lynn76

    Lynn76 Well-Known Member

    From March to November, we head to my inlaws at least every other month sometimes more in the summer. They live 4 hours so roughly 230 miles one way and we do it without a dvd player. We do stop 1/2 way. I just find toys in the house the kids haven't played with in a while and set those aside so they won't play with them and thats the toys that go in the car. I will some times buy a new toy for each of the kids but thats rare!

    We have traveled to Indiana and Alabama before without a dvd player and our oldest did just fine. He was our only kid at the time too. We have traveled to the Gulf Shores too and we break that trip up a lot and for that trip, we do have a dvd player. Its such a long trip and a treat to watch movies in the car!!

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