5 Tips For Keeping the Kids Entertained While We Drive

Travel with kids. We are really learning while we go. Trial and error, tweak and re-tweak (and that’s “tweak”, not “twerk”!). But these are some things that are working for us:

1. Audible: this is the #1 thing, it’s THE BEST. You can tap into something like this – a  Special Offer – Get Your First 3 Months at Audible for $7.49/month – that’s how I started. After the first 3 months, iIt’s about $14/a month for a few credits, which you exchange for books. We go for the LONG, meaty books – it’s the same number of credits, more bang for your buck. So far, we’ve “read” The Princess Bride, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and Alice in Wonderland. I like the fact that it is an Amazon company and the book downloads onto the kindle automatically. This means that when Micah loves a book (- as he absolutely loves The Wonderful Wizard of Oz) he can read it on kindle (later – not when we are driving) while listening.

Strangely enough, I also like Audible for my own. I use a headset that connect with the t-coil of my hearing aids so that I can hear. I listen to the feel-good stuff while I am walking/running.

(I’m putting in some kind of ad thing at the bottom of this post whereby you’ll get a free book if you join up with them)

2. Individual (purchased) toys:

MacQuinn likes loves is a fanatic for stacking cups. Give him at least 2 stackers and he’s happy.

Moxie is more of a challenge. She can start out with her Dora dollie, but will lose interest pretty fast. I put the milk crate with simple toys at her feet and she can actually pick up stuff with her feet. Clever child. She usually settles for something, falls asleep, wakes up and goes for what Mac is holding.

Micah is pretty easy, like Mac. He still digs his transformer that he bargained for and purchased at the Laney Flea Market. 50 cents. He wants another one but he rolls with this pretty steadily.

3. The cookie sheet:

We have a cookie sheet tray with a bunch of story magnets. It’s pretty great for Micah – he can make up stories while he sits by arranging the magnets on the cookie tray. We also have some picture magnets that can accompany the story words – I hope to be able to let Moxie use these at some point but honestly, right now I’m nervous about her chucking them out the window. So far, it’s just been Micah and he loves it.


4. Spotify: 

A while back I asked friends on facebook for new music. My friend Allura recommended Spotify – if you subscribe ($10/month), you can actually download the music onto your iphone/ipod – up to 5 devices/computers – and listen. They have just about every album in the world, an unbelievable selection. I think it’s cheaper to just subscribe than it is to purchase anything off of itunes, plus, when space is at premium like it is with us, it’s gold. We can change the playlists when we have wifi connection, we have the kids playlists (- the best of Sesame Street! Raffi! ) and ours (Kingston Trio and Johnny Cash coming out of our ears). I also downloaded a bunch of Spanish language music so we are learning to singalong to Enrique!

5. Food:

Food is big with us. I prepare individual snacks for the kids, water, sometimes juice. I start doling it out to them after we’ve been on the road for an hour or two. It’s great – it takes a lot of their time and energy to eat and they like it.

That’s really it. I am hoping I can update this list later with all kinds of intellectually stimulating things, but right now that’s just not happening. We’re too new at this – just looking at the desert with Willie Nelson singing “On The Road Again” is often enough, and if it’s not, a book will hit the spot. For now.

What do you guys do?


As promised – here’s that coupon thing –

1 FREE Audiobook Credit RISK-FREE from Audible.com

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is a deaf blogger, global nomad, tech-junkie, cat-lover, Trekkie, Celto-Teutonic-peasant-handed mom of 3 (one with Down syndrome and one gifted 2E).
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  • Great suggestions!! We also do games in the car – and fun sing-a-long songs – whatever keeps them occupied – movies help too!

  • So glad I found your blog today via expedition portal. We are about a year a half behind you to begin embarking on a similar trip with our 2 boys (one still in the oven). We can’t wait and for now we will have to settle for just following your blog and seeing all the places we will be very soon. You have a beautiful family, lovely kids…love reading about the kids on the road. So long for now….

    • Hey! a year and a half behind us?! we are going so slowly, there is a good chance you will catch up!! haha.

      I was pregnant with Mac when we were working hard on planning this all.

      I don’t understand why more people with kids don’t do this – it’s perfect for kids. Mine are absolutely loving it. Where are you guys going to leave from?

      thanks for tapping in – I’m really looking forward to getting to know you. Oh – also, there’s a facebook group called ‘pan american travelers: past, present , future’ or something that like – it’s a wonderful group to belong to for questions and information…

  • Funny, we are hoping to do it some day soon. I’m always amazed by how many people are actually doing it. We have been to Baja a couple times in the car. Our daughter was 5 the first time and absolutely cannot watch videos while driving (carsick)… actually there’s not much she could do. But we took our dog the second time, and Cara kept her company – not a bother in sight. Thanks for the ideas though!

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