Disclosure: 5 Ways to Keep Young Kids Busy on Long Car Rides is sponsored by Mazda through DriveShop. Thoughts and opinions are 100% my own. Affiliate links are contained in this post which earn us a small income. You shop as normal.
I remember when we had our first child. Our lives drastically changed. And not just because we were learning how to feed, bathe, and keep alive this tiny human. But because she drastically changed how we did everything. Even a simple trip to the store was different. She didn’t like being alone, so I sat in the back with her as often as I could. She wasn’t even really happy then. You see, she hated the car. Twenty minutes rides to the mall alone with her were almost unbearable. Luckily, she eventually grew out of it. Then, we had her sister and repeat all over. Thankfully, we are at the stage where they both happily enjoy taking a car ride. Okay, so they fight now, but at least there’s no crying.
Then, I had a brilliant idea to drive with them by myself for 8 hours.
In a car.
With 2 kids under 5.
I needed a plan. A good one. I needed a back-up plan to the plan.
Back and forth each way ended up more like 10-11 hours, but we did it. No major breakdowns or screaming kids. WE DID IT!
Today, I wanted to share with you 5 ways to keep young kids busy on long car rides
These are five things that I did on this long epic trip that we took that actually prevented tons of meltdowns.
1- DVD Player
I know. No brainer right? But seriously, grab a portable DVD player and some brand new movies that they either haven’t ever seen or haven’t seen in a long time. The novelty of something new to watch will keep them occupied. We didn’t have this one the entire trip, but it was nice for some of the trip. We love a dual mounted DVD player because both girls watch the same thing and they are mounted so we don’t have to worry about them dropping it while we are driving.
Before you guys call me crazy, hear me out. This was actually the best thing that we brought along. The girls both played for an extended amount of time with the play-doh during the trip. I got a multi-pack of play-doh and took 6 colors with us on the trip. The girls switched which colors they were using at different times.
3- Magnetic Drawing Board
We had two magnetic drawing boards in the car with us (one for each kid). Our favorite is this V-tech Write and Learn Creative Center. There’s learning and art related prompts or they can just use it as a drawing board. It’s great for creative play and I don’t have to worry about a mess from paper and coloring supplies.
4- Magic Coloring Books
We adore these magic coloring books. Essentially, there’s blank coloring sheets and this magic coloring marker. The marker can only write on the special pages in the book. If they color their car seat or clothes, nothing happens. But the color page comes to life magically with different colors as they draw on them.
5- Reading Books
I took a collection of some of their favorite reading books. While we were driving, they baby would just look at the pictures, but with the big girl, I would ask her to tell me what the story was. She loved “reading” to me.
These are just a few of the activities that we did while we took our road trip! I hope that they help you on your next trip with littles too!
About our vehicle-
Our epic long first trip was taken in the 2017 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring AWD. The comfort of this vehicle was amazing. I’ll admit that I was a bit nervous because my back starts to hurt on trips longer than two hours, so this was a big deal. The seats were so comfortable and added with the heat warming front seats, it was an amazing ride. This compact crossover SUV was perfect for our small family and enough stuff for a week long road trip.
Some Specs –
The Mazda CX-5 starts at $24,045. It has a windshield-projected Active Driving Display that I was jealous isn’t on ever vehicle. It was amazing to see my speed and the speed limit displayed in a way that didn’t distract me and always let me know when a speed limit had changed. The Mazda CX-5 also has two rear USB ports, along with rear A/C vents which are very handy for little kids.
Three of my other favorite functions were the:
– Lane Departure Warning with Lane Keep Assist
– High Beam Control
– Blind Spot Monitoring with Rear Cross Traffic Alert
Mazda took to shortcuts when it came to family safety. The lane keep assist will help in assisting that you stay in your lane (it slightly moves back into the lane if you start to cross the line). The high beam control actually detects if cars are coming ahead of you and turns off your high beams for you (this was a life saver night driving on this trip).
Paired with our 5 Ways to Keep Young Kids Busy on Long Car Rides, the Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring AWD makes for the perfect road trip.
Here’s some Products that we discussed above: