Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Road Trip Essentials for Kids

Whether you're planning a cross-country spring break road trip, or just a hop, skip, and jump to the lake for the weekend, packing the car can be a daunting and overwhelming task for anyone. 

Road trips during college (or pre-kids) were actually something I couldn't wait for - I always set my alarm clock extra early, jumping out of bed on the day of embarkation, feeling rested and refreshed to get the show on the road.  Snacks were always picked up at the gas station on the way out of town (White Cheddar Popcorn, Sour Patch Kids, and a Diet Cherry Pepsi - because calories don't count on road trips).  My freshly burned (thanks Napster!) CD was appropriately titled "CAR JAMS" and filled with songs from soundtracks like "Legally Blonde" and "Crossroads", and I was ready to hit the highway!

And then, kids!
Road trips are kinda different now.  They are fun and exciting, but now it's filled with goldfish and juice boxes, Itsy Bitsy Spider sing-a-longs, and 97,000 bathroom breaks.  

We have a few kid-filled road trips under our belt, and we are headed out for one next week (to Florida!), so I thought I'd share some of my kid essentials that I've packed for our family.  

Tissues - We probably go through an entire box of these on our road trips.  They clean up spills, wipe up runny noses, hold snacks, dry tears, and are just completely necessary.  

Hand Sanitizer - Self-explanatory.  We can get pretty filthy in the car, and we snack almost the entire time.  So this is essential. 

Sunglasses - Everybody gets the sun in their eyes at some point on a road trip.  And almost everybody will complain about said sun.  These are a must.  And the kids think they're kinda cool with their sunnies on :) *we love these!*

Water Wow - A mess free coloring/activity book.  Great for toddlers!  All you need is water, and it can provide hours of entertainment.  

Lara Bars - These are more for the adults, but they are my favorite snack, and the kids love them too.  Made from only 3 or 4 simple ingredients, they have replaced the junk food favorites I used to rely on in the car.  

Cheese Squares and Pretzel Sticks - I have found that everybody loves these two snacks.  They are easy to hold, easy to eat, and not too messy.  I wouldn't try to introduce a new snack for a road trip - they may not go over quite as well as your classic favorites.  

Crayons and Paper - For toddlers or school age kids, these are always a great activity.  We were given these cute personalized holders (soap containers from the dollar store!), and I love how portable they are.  Each child can have their own, and they are able to just focus on the colors in their container, no messing with 264-count crayon boxes.  My 1-year-old likes taking out the crayons, and then putting them back in one-by-one over and over again.  Until she decides she needs a snack. Then she eats them.

Jelly Beans (or a fun new candy!) - Just because.  They'll make your kiddos realllllly happy :)  Get something that takes a long time to eat. (Suckers are good too!)  I love jelly beans because they aren't sticky, won't melt, and there are different colors to look at, providing a little bit of entertainment. 

A new toy - This can be anything!  Preferably something that is some sort of activity.  The newness and novelty of it will give your kids the excitement and entertainment they may need, say half-way through the trip.  I scooped up these great travel magnet sets from the $3 spot at Target.  I think they'll be a great surprise!  


Now although this next item isn't completely mess-free (at least for my toddlers!), we ALWAYS bring them along for when we stop for potty breaks and lunch!  They are easy, compact, and can be filled with all kinds of yummy and healthy goodness!
These pouches are a staple on our road trips for sure :)  
{Especially when Chick-Fil-A kid's meals might be all they are eating for 12 hours straight.}

Hope you enjoyed taking a peek into our road trip bag!

What are your road trip essentials?

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