Keeping the kids entertained on the road is a lot easier than it used to be, what with portable DVD players and iPods. Plug ‘em in and keep ‘em quiet is sure a popular way to go. But it’s not the ONLY way to go, right? Some parents rightfully don’t want their children to watch that same stultifying Spongebob episode for the thousandth time. For those parents, here is a list of some recommended small toys to help keep your kids occupied on the family vacation road trip.
Recommended Children’s Toys to Help Survive the Road Trip
Hasbro makes The Littlest Pet Shop, which my younger daughter loves. All the little pieces keep her busy, using her imagination (which is great) and repeatedly dropping said little pieces (not so great). The Littlest Pet Shop is easy to pack and carry, though, as it’s self-contained and folds onto itself. And if a mini hairbrush gets lost somehow, there are plenty of other pieces to implement in the ongoing stories that will be created in imaginative play.
Hasbro also makes a pile of Star Wars toys – I guess the whole Star Wars phenomenon is part of the collective North American consciousness by now, since many little kids ask for Darth Vader action figures before they even know there’s a bunch of movies about the guy. Transformers action figures are also popular with the little dudes these days. Anything that helps spur on children’s imaginations is a good thing, in my book.
Tamagotchis are the little beeping doodads you see dangling from many school-age kids’ backpacks. Fortunately, they do come with mute buttons, or every parent would have tossed them in the incinerator by now. Tamagotchis have been around for a while; every few years a new crop of kids discover them and are enchanted. The idea is to raise a little pixelated critter from egg to infirmity, with games to play and points to earn along the way. These things are around 20 bucks, and worth it. Children can “befriend” each others Tamagotchis as well.
My kids get carsick when they read books on road trips. Nausea does NOT a fun car trip make! But, assuming that some children can read in moving vehicles, slim paperbacks are the way to go. They are flat, obviously, and take up less space. Toddlers may enjoy looking through Richard Scarry’s Cars and Trucks and Things that Go, and slightly older children can work on their reading skills with any of the huge “Little Critter” library and later, the “Magic Tree House” series. My older kid has been reading the Spiderwick Chronicles lately, but really, pack a book in the genre your child likes, and chances are it’ll get read.
Time away with our families is increasingly rare. Make the most of a family road trip by helping your kids stay happy and entertained in the back seat. Happy children help the car ride go much more smoothly, after all.