We go on a lot of car trips,and have learned a few ways to make the car trips easier for the whole family.

Car trips with kids

Mommy Crusader Family Fun 5 Comments

We drove to California a little while ago. Driving in the car for longer than two hours can be a scary experience for any parent. It’s something I generally don’t attempt by myself. Actually, I don’t usually attempt car trips longer than an hour by just myself and my kiddos. It just gets too hazardous. I become the woman we’ve all seen – driving the car with my nose while one hand is taking something away from a child and the other hand is calming the baby. It’s not a very safe, or sane, way to operate a vehicle. Just sayin’.

Anyway, my kids were fantastic on this drive. And I think I’ve figured out why. We started earlier, had snacks and entertainment options for the kids, and we tried to include some interactive activities while we were driving.

We started out earlier in the morning, with snacks and drinks all at the ready. We had our Leap Pads, coloring books, reading books, etc., ready to go. When the kids started getting restless, we’d rotate the items around. We’d usually rotate items after 20 minutes. It kept the items new and entertaining and helped the kids survive the long drive better.

Reading is one of my children’s favorite activities on car trips.

Also, every two rotations or so, I send out a round of treats or snacks. I’d love to say these snacks were healthy, but they weren’t. My favorite in the car snacks are licorice sticks, popcorn, cereal treats, and M & M’s. These treats don’t seem to cause as much mess in my car as other treats.

My preschooler is getting ready to enjoy a treat.


And we invented a song. The song goes along with an old song from Sesame Street – “It’s a long, hard climb.” I’ve attached a video of their song. The words are:

“It’s a long hard drive, but we’re going to get there. It’s a long hard drive, but we’re going to get there.
It’s a long hard drive, but we’re going to get there. We’re headin’ to the settin’ sun.”

We sang that song over and over again on the drive.  But that made it all the more fun to be on the trip. We also played “I spy” together. We played it so that turns just rotate through family members, not by who guesses the item first. During part of the drive, when we were going through the desert, the clues degenerated to “tall, brown thing,” which made guessing what was brown and tall among a lot of tall, brown things rather difficult.


Like I said earlier, my kids did great. Except for one thing, potty breaks. One thing, which I’ve noticed about trips in the car, is that one of my children will invariably need to use the rest room five minutes after we’ve passed through the most recent city. It doesn’t matter if we had stopped in said city. One of my children will need to use the rest room; again, after we’ve passed the last exit for the city we just stopped in.

But factoring in the random potty stops, we made good time and we had a good time on the road.

What are your best tricks for driving in the car with young ones?

Comments 5

  1. With two very young kids, we always bring snacks and favorite toys too. The thing that seems to make trips easier for my kids is our DVD player and planned stops at parks or indoor play places though. I usually pick up a few movies they haven’t seen from the library to keep it new and interesting. Sometimes we do our traveling at night too, so the kids sleep during much of the trip. We listen to books on CD when we do these night trips to help the adults stay awake.

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      I like your ideas about the planned stops for getting out of the car a lot. We’ll be incorporating those into our long trip coming up! Thanks also for the ideas about audio books and videos.

  2. We have 5 children, the oldest one being 8, the youngest is 4 months and 1 week. 4 boys and 1 girl. I can guarantee that our trips (and everyday life!) are animated!! One day a friend gave me a hint: she bought small, cheap presents for

  3. Sorry, couldn’t write further. She bought a few gifts and wrapped them. Every 30 minutes or so, each kid could open one gift which kept him/her busy for quite a while! I ‘ve done this and it works like a bomb! We are soon going to see my family in Belgium (we live in France) and we’ll have a 10-12 hours trip… We might split it up in 6 and 6 hours and sleep over at my in-laws, but it stays a challenge!

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      Your friend was brilliant! I love the idea of the gifts. Thanks for adding to the ways parents can help their kids with long trips. I hope your upcoming journey goes well, too. Thanks for coming by!

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