I love traveling. I have a passion for it, and there is a sweet spot in my heart for it. Over the last few years though, I’ve realized that traveling with children is A LOT different than traveling without those little sweetie babies of mine. I’ve had to come up with ways to still make traveling a “pleasant” experience.
Over Memorial Day weekend Matt and I decided to get crazy and drive down to San Diego for the weekend. I had about 2 days notice, and it made it just that much more exciting! I love spontaneity! The drive is about 11 hours, so I wanted to come up with something to make the car ride enjoyable for all. There’s the popular idea to get new activities and toys for the trip, but I wanted something a little different. Something extra that Cole would just love! Then it hit me! Here’s what I did:
1. Invest in $35-$50 of new, small toys (small price to pay for a pleasant, joyous road trip with a toddler, right? Make sure your child doesn’t see the toys and spoil the surprise! *Don’t forget glow in the dark toys for driving at night! Such a HIT! Be creative. Get things you know your child will love. I found some great things at the dollar spot at Target. Also, they don’t all have to be toys! They can br fun treats and goodies!
Here is a list of items that I got:
-tiny finger bike
-small monster truck
-Meiji Yan Yan (little asian cookies you can dip into chocolate)
-giant sticky hand
-Star Wars Squinkies (the cutest things you’ll ever see!)
-Color inside the velvet art. What are they really called??
-army men with helicopter
2. Cut out TWO sets of “tickets” aka colored construction paper. A different color for each toy. You may need to draw designs on some of the tickets if you don’t have enough colors. *Make sure that you have a set of corresponding “tickets” matching the tickets on the toys, to let your child choose from.
3. Tape a colored ticket to each toy. If anything is in large or awkward packaging, it’s helpful to take it out of the package first so you don’t have to deal with that in the car. Re-package in small ziplock bags.
4. Have a special bag designated specifically for the toys. Put them all in there and have it with you in the front seat so you don’t get any peekers.
-Search through your bag for the toy with the corresponding ticket. -Ask him to give you the ticket, and in exchange you give him the new toy! (I know it seems pointless to have them actually hand you back the ticket, but Cole LOVED it, like he was at a toy store buying a new prize. He felt like it was actual money. It was very cute)
*Cole always liked a frame of reference for when he was going to pick a new ticket. So I would tell him things like, “after your movie”, or “after you finish your lunch”, or “when the sun goes down”, then he could get another ticket.