Living the country life has a lot of benefits over city life. One of the things we find ourselves doing is taking road trips. With Edmonton, only an hour and half away, these jaunts have become possibilities for after the workday, or weekend trips. Although the grocery store is only 5 minutes away, the one with the best prices, is over 30 minutes away. Want to do swimming lessons? Well, that’s 30 minutes away too.
I don’t mind the commute by myself in the mornings watching the sunrise over the trees as I whiz by the friendly neighbourhood moose on my way up the highway. I sip a beverage, listen to a podcast or start brainstorming my next topic or task. Add in kids and it’s a whole different ball game.
The key in our success in road trips can be boiled down to two simple distraction principles – snacks & toys.
Snacks in the car are preferably healthy, no mess and easy to eat. We arrange ours in either 3-hole stainless steel containers (we love LunchBots), or reusable snack bags. In a pinch, we have even gotten pre-ready fruit or veggies from the grocery store. For nonperishable snacks, we use a simple $1 tote from the dollar store to corral them in one area. Click here for excellent, no-mess snack ideas for your next road trip!
To be clear, we don’t have an entertainment system in our truck, we don’t use iPads and we don’t own a portable DVD player. We did over 9,000 km with our kids without any electronics (save a camera). So when we talk about toys, we are talking the kind that build fine motor skills and develop sensory play.
Also, when we travel, we squish in two massive car seats in, along with a hairy border collie on the floor and sometimes a visiting relative between the two car seats. This isn’t the time to bring massive toys that take up a great amount of space. We’re looking for collapsible & portable, space saving toys that have big impact.
Here’s a few of our favourites that are big on fun but small on footprint:
1. Dressy Kids Girl (ages 2+ yrs): 5 fun dressing activities toddlers love to explore: zip, button, buckle, fasten, and tie. She has a hook to fasten on to the back of the seat, your diaper bag or car seat to keep her within arm’s reach.
2. Stack N’ Stow Cups (ages 9 months+): If you’ve ever played fill, fill, dump, you will know why these will be a hit. Perfect just in case you forgot your snack cups & with other small toys along for the ride, the imaginative options for developmental play are limitless. Visiting relatives? These are perfect as a bath tub toy if they don’t have any. Bottom will lock them into place so they don’t get lost in your gear.
3. Pop Up Rollin’ Ramp (ages 12 months+): Love this one! We frequently take small cars with us, but the novelty wears off fast. This is the perfect size to wedge between car seats to keep the fun rollin’ along, check out http://actionac.net. Ramp collapses to make the whole thing only 3″ when folded. Sounds like that will fit in my behind seat pocket.
4. Pop Up Shape Sorter (ages 18 months+): Simple, engaging, and skill-building shape-sorter kitty. Not only can you learn colours & shapes, this classic toy folds flat to fit in the pocket of your diaper bag for fun beyond the car.
Sounds like playtime can happen anytime, anywhere thanks to these Playskool Play-Stow-Go toys!
Although this post has been generously sponsored by Playskool, the opinions and language are as always my own.
a passionate recreation coordinator by day, crazy farm mama of two by night. i live outdoors: growing my own food, camping and hiking with my border collie with two active kids in tow. when I’m not writing, I’m experimenting with recipes, and crafts – or anything else that might keep the monkeys entertained.