Most of our favorite memories of time spent with family include holidays, barbeques and infamous car trips. Back then, the only things we had to look forward to on car trips were convincing transfer truck drivers to honk their horns and playing license plate bingo. Technology has changed all of that, but that does not mean that your children have to be plugged into video games every time you hit the road. What is does mean that your kids can now ride to and fro without hair pulling and name calling. Trust us… these gifts for car trips are just as much for the adults in the car as they are for the children!
It may be a funny name, but you will adore Whoozit! Let Whoozit be the beginning and it will also be the end to your search for great infant car seat toys. ($20) manhattantoys.com They have an innovative line of toys that attach to car seat handles. Covered in mirrors, crazy shapes and wild colors, your child is sure to stare at a Whoozit for a long time.
Also available for younger children is the Baby-Ville Travel Toy from Manhattan Toys. ($21) You can safely drive while your baby has a play date with her "friends" as this toy features photographic images of babies of varying races and emotions.
If you are the parent of a toddler then you probably know that the most exciting thing about a toy is dropping it so your parents can retrieve it for you. Imagine the excitement your child will have when she drops her toys and is able to find them all by herself! If you have not seen the Hold It Baby on-the-go toy organizer, then we highly recommend that you visit their website. ($30) holditbaby.com This nylon tether keeps your baby’s toys, books, pacifiers and cups at arm’s length. And because it keeps them off of the floor, it also helps to keep them a lot cleaner! This must-have accessory is not only great for car trips; we think you’ll also want to attach it to shopping carts and restaurant high chairs.
Stick To It
For older children whose attention span and manual dexterity are more advanced, we love Orb Factory Mosaic kits. ($10) orbfactory.com The idea is simple: children begin with a mat that has a mosaic design on it. Then your child sticks colored foam adhesive squares to the corresponding shapes on the mat… and voila! The result is worthy of framing. They are also available in reusable magnetic versions.
Keeping all of these toys organized is a breeze with the Snack and Play Travel Tray. ($20) onestepahead.com This plush nylon tray sits on your child’s lap and gives her a flat surface on which to draw, build and play. It also has a generous 2-inch border around the edge that keeps markers and other accessories from rolling off. Large mesh pockets on the side flaps are great for holding her cups, snacks and even more toys.
Many families choose to allow their children to watch DVDs in the car. We believe that even a car trip is an opportunity for learning. For pre-school and kindergarten aged children Leap Frog has a great series of DVDs for learning about phonics, math and the alphabet. ($10-$12) leapfrog.com
For elementary aged children (and older) we love the Discovery Channel’s series Planet Earth. ($40) store.discovery.com This 5-disc set shows life from every contour of the Earth. From the depths of the oceans to deserts and rain forests, it shows breathtaking and spectacular footage that is sure to captivate every age. Because nature can be graphic, we do not recommend that children watch these movies without parental supervision.
For more ideas for car trip activities across town or across the country, check out our article All About Car Trips Part Deux.