Sunday, July 22, 2012

I must be crazy. (Planning a long car trip - Help!)

Many factors converged and it occurred to me that I might - just might be willing to attempt a 24 hour (round-trip) car ride with my children without my husband. (I must be crazy.) This is how I arrived at that rather startling conclusion...

There are several factors playing into this decision. Many of my loved ones live a 12 hour drive away in the New Orleans, LA area. We don't get to see them as often as we'd like but they are dear to us. I desperately want my children to have significant relationships with their extended family. They are wonderful people and true connections with wonderful people are gifts to be treasured in life.

The children are slightly, yet significantly older than the last time we made the trek (8 months ago). School is going to start soon, so now is the time. Also, the children are nearing the end of their first set of swimming lessons and my Louisiana relatives have a pool. Finally, I mentioned the idea, somewhat offhandedly, to my mother and she jumped at the chance to drive down with us.

And so, in a couple of weekends I'm going to pack up the children, leave my husband behind, and my mother and I are going to take the children on a 12+ hour car ride to New Orleans, LA for a three day visit before the return trip.

I'm less worried about the actual stay (wonderful relatives, pool in the backyard, a backyard the size of a small park to explore...) than I am about how to fill 24+ hours in a car with a 3 and 4 year old. We'll have access to videos, but even the power of the television wears off. Any suggestions?


  1. FELT! Bonus: it's quiet. The basic idea is that you have a large piece of felt mounted on cardboard for a background. You can have small backgrounds for individual use and a large one they they could work on together. Ahead of time, cut out a wide assortment of shapes in different colors and sizes; store in a ziploc. The smaller pieces of felt "stick" to the background. The scenes they can create from little circles, squares, and triangles are limited only by their imagination. Then have them tell a story related to their scene. If they have some kind of small figures to use as "characters," they can act out various scenarios on the different backgrounds they create. I'm sure you'll think of some SLP-related practice as well. "Let's make pictures of things that start with 'z'."

  2. You provide your readers with some of the most creative activities.( I shared your site with the OT's and Speech Dept at my school and put your info on my website.) Although, to spend 12 hours in a car IS a long time. Here are some ideas:
    1. Before trip kids can help you make their own pillows using muslin - decorate with fabric paint. You can put a pocket on the pillow (sew on velcro to seal pocket) so it can hold cards, small toy, etc.
    2.Kids each have a small backpack and help choose activities for the car, e.g. preferred small toys such as vehicles, doll, stuffed animal, crayons, paper, cards, favorite storybooks, coloring book
    3. Bring small velcro board (hook & loop), felt board or magnet board so cards won't fall on floor
    4. Bring clipboard or lapboard for each child
    5. Sing songs together - Kimbo has the best preschool songs - including
    5. Download favorite music or bring CD's - bring headphones for walkman or ipod
    7. Play I Spy game - with colors,numbers, letters, objects.
    8. Bring iPad - on my site, you can download list of 108 apps for preschoolers. Many of apps are FREE

    Hope some of these ideas are helpful.
    Ricki, Speech Pathologist

  3. A friend of mine does this occasionally and she will wrap up dollar store treats in wrapping paper/tissue paper and every hour or so will give them to her kids. Also, another friend does a time line down the middle of the van with velcro and has major cities they will drive through and as they go through the city, the car (matchbox with velcro) moves down the "time line" until they are at the destination. It's a great visual for the kids to see and they know that there are only X more cities to drive through. Also, if you can drive any portion of your trip at night, that is the best. We will often leave for a 2-3 hour trip at 7pm and they are usually asleep when we arrive at our destination. Thankfully they are easy to transition, but it makes it easier. Good luck!


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