Max takes after Jamie and I in that he loves taking the scenic route. Loves it. He has proclaimed freeways as “boring” and always prefers driving through canyons and tunnels to zipping along at 70+ on big, wide strips of highway. That's all well and good until I start thinking about 2 weeks from now.
Take a look at that map of California over there. See that long, straight purple line? That's I-5. In real life, it's long, straight and boring. If it was purple in real life, that might make it more interesting!
So, the scenery won't be providing the entertainment for Max, we'll have to provide it ourselves!
Here are some of the things we have planned to survive (and even enjoy!) the longest (With kid) roadtrip we've undertaken to date:
Disclaimer: We have the advantage of traveling with my parents, so we at least have them to keep him entertained for a while! I'm sure the novelty will wear off around mile 150, but additional people to take the burden of chatter is nice.
- We're letting him have a tablet for the trip. We long ago decided that we weren't going to install a DVD player in my car, that he gets enough screen time, and we don't spend *that* much time driving, but that was before tablets came along. With my parents along, we have 4 tablets and 3 smartphones. It would be crazy if we *didn't* plan to use them on a trip like this! We're giving thanks for Disney's “Digital Copies” of a few movies, and will put them on a tablet before we leave, so Max can watch a movie. My mom has Disneyland Explorer installed on her iPad too, which Max loves, so that will be a good choice to get him geared up for arrival (like he won't already be excited!)
- Car Bingo: We bought an old school car bingo for Max a while back, and this will be a great time to bring it out again! Max likes to go back on my blog to find pictures of himself (I know, he's SO not vain!) and they came across this post from a few months ago, and now he's all sorts of excited to play on our big trip! And yes, I realize I say in that post that we're anti-DVD player. We aren't bringing a DVD player, just a tablet! So sue me!
- New Music: We're going to be renting a car for the drive, since 4 adults and a car seat just won't be comfy in my Mazda3 for a number of hours… we don't know what the music situation will be in the rental, and Max is, admittedly, pretty spoiled by Kids Place Live on Sirius/XM. I'm going to put together a playlist from our own music collection, so we get a good mix of kid and grown-up friendly tunes. Cheesy family singalongs are a prerequisite for roadtrips!
- Countdown chain: We made a paper countdown chain in late July, to count the days until Disneyland. I'm going to make another one so Max can continue this little time marker that he enjoys. I'll make a chain of 21 loops, set a timer on my phone for every 20 minutes, and we should be pulling into the hotel before he reaches the end of the chain! (Under promise, over deliver! Assume it'll take longer so you don't run out of links before arrival! LOL)
- Pack enough snacks: We're going to get a little splurge-y on a few things Max doesn't get very often, some fruit snacks, cereal bars, almonds (the boy loves almonds) We'll probably also let him get a little something whenever we stop; a Hostess treat or whatever at the 7-11.
So, those are the plans we have in place to survive the monotony of “The 5” (as they say in LA) Anything to add?
Books! I know, I know, it’s 2012 and there are tablets in the car, for goodness sakes! :> But, I always get a few new books and only give half of them for the drive down and save the other half for the return trip, so there’s something new to look at & read. An old point & shoot camera or phone for him to take pictures…can even be a photo scavenger hunt (I know he’s young, but figure he’s your kid & has spent quite a bit of time around cameras now.) When my boy was that age, his Leapster went on car trips and my girl can’t go on a short or long car trip without a notebook and pencil.
You guys are going to have so much fun!! Enjoy! :>
I just found an old point & shoot over the weekend! I’ve got the batteries on the charger now, so we’ll see if it works! He used to have one of his own, but broke the zoom lens on it. Sigh.
Books are a good idea too… he might actually have a few he hasn’t read yet, since he started reading on his own! 🙂
I hate the 5!! I grew up in Santa Barbara, though, so we didn’t take it often. But as an (retired) Army family, we’ve done our fair share of driving across the country for days on end. I would recommend that you take a ball to toss around every time you have a pit stop. And if it is safe (rest stop vs gas station), have races or other games to work those large muscle groups. But the fact that you’re going to Disneyland really makes up for the monotony of the trip.
I have a AAA map (yes real paper) so he can look for the towns along the way.
There will be a prize if he can find more ten!!!