Keeping Kids Busy and Organized in the Car
Kids like to keep busy and during a car ride is no exception. I like to keep these questions and comments to a minimum: “Are we there yet?” “I’m bored.” “I am hungry.” “I can’t reach this.” “I dropped that”. Here are a few ideas that keep my kids happy and busy during short or long car trips.
Keeping It In Reach
When kids are buckled in the car there is not much that they can reach. While I adore the organizers that are placed on the back of the seat in front of them, kids in a car seat are not able to reach them while buckled. My kids use to ask me constantly to hand them items and get the items that slid to the floor, which we know is not ideal while driving. The things that my children like to access most are their: water, snacks, gum, books, paper, markers, colored pencils, coloring books, clipboards for a drawing surface, reading lights, small games, random toys and last but not least… the trash can.
In my vehicle we have two car seats in the same row of the car and a gap of space between them. After measuring the gap I set off to the dollar store to find some bins that could contain their items of interest that still had dividers to stay organized. I found that if I squeezed the two white caddies next to each other and one side of each caddy into the small green bin snugly that I had a nice setup for the user on either side. The green bin used for height. On the backside I attached a vertical file bin to hold their clipboards and extra paper. I then used zip ties to secure it all together. See my extremely simple yet effective finds in my photo.
For trash, I have a small container to wedge under the headrest of the empty seat between kids and above my dollar store invention. To sum it up, the gap cost me $6 to organize. Everyone can reach everything!
All vehicles will have different car seat setups so be creative. It doesn’t need to cost much to get organized. You don’t have to have a kid in a car seat either to create an organized, contained system as this will work for kids of all ages and even adults.
“Find It” Games
A big hit in my car is when my children or the family as a whole plays a game where you locate items on your drive. For example you are looking for items such as: tree, street sign, barn, sidewalks, flag, bridge, fire truck, horse, etc.
You can take turns guessing from each other or you can find actual games to make or purchase. We own a few versions of this hunt with those icons such as travel bingo boards, dry erase boards and a card set that you can shuffle and deal. The dollar store rotates these items.
I rented a children’s audiobook on a whim from the library and I was much surprised to find that my kids LOVED it! Our hectic sounding vehicle went to complete silence while everyone focused on the storyline. I keep a small selection in the car to switch out and keep interesting. The kids sometimes just still and listen while other times they are drawing or looking at books.
Keep your drive smooth and quick by planning ahead and packing snacks. This helps to eliminate the stops to grab a snack and saves you some money. Now, you just have those restrooms breaks to tackle. Happy driving.