How can I entertain my 3 1/2 year old on long car trips by myself?

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We have some long car trips coming up, the first with my 3 1/2 year old. I am a single mom and will be traveling alone with her. Do you have any suggestions for the trip to keep her entertained?

First thing to invest in is an inexpensive tray that you can attach to her booster seat so that she has a work, eat and play surface. Look for one that has a cup holder area or two built into it. Find a tray that has a nice lip all the way around the edges of the tray to keep things from rolling off or getting knocked off. Make sure you can attach to securely so it doesn’t slide around or fly off her lap. A number of baby supply catalogs carry one variety or another and some stores carry them too, particularly places that specialize in baby and child equipment. Next buy a bag with cubbies that can be hooked to the back of one of the seats in front of her so the supplies for many trips can be stored there or changed. Then fill it with things she likes to do. Put crayons, papers and colouring books in one area. Pick a few picture books she likes and add those. Put in her favourite small dolls or play characters and don’t forget to pack the things that calm her like her favourite blanket, and stuffed animal or doll. Include things like puzzles with handled pieces or age appropriate puzzles. Put those in large resealing zip top plastic bags, so the pieces don’t get lost when you store them. If she has a toddler’s tape recorder, bring story tapes or sing along tapes and show her how to use the recorder before you leave on the trip. Definitely bring finger snacks and sipper cups of milk, water or juice with the lids and sip spouts so she won’t spill all over the car, plus a wet wash cloth sealed in a plastic bag to clean her up with or hand wipes. Many people have invested in the in car video systems but I’m not a big fan of those unless it is after dark. During the day you want to encourage your daughter to look outside the car and see the world going by around her so she gets more out of the trip and maybe learns a thing or two. Don’t give her all the supplies you have packed to entertain her with at once. That way there are new things for her to do as you travel along. Don’t forget to make potty stops and let her run around for a bit at rest stops. She will need to stretch her legs and release some of that boundless child energy once in awhile. Pack what you know interests her and maybe add a new surprise or two into the mix. Have fun on the trips. Mama Nono

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The answer to "How can I entertain my 3 1/2 year old on long car trips by myself?"

Question asked on February 27, 2009at 2:56 pm:: Comments (0)
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