When Nick and I first decided that we were going to jump in the car with an almost three year old and six month old baby and drive over 2000 km to the Gold Coast, I was all for it. But the closer we get to leaving, the crazier I think we are! But crazy or not, we leave in six days and I’ve made sure that I’ve got plenty of activities ready for Paige so our trip goes as smoothly as possible – fingers crossed, anyway!
Paige is obsessed with puzzles at the moment. Like, properly obsessed. I’ve recently introduced puzzles with interlocking pieces and she LOVES them!!!! She does the same two puzzles six or seven times every day and is so proud of herself each time she finishes them. So I’ll definitely be taking those with us, plus another one that I’ve put away, which will be a new challenge for Paige.
I saw these simple popstick puzzles on Pinterest (here), so I made some for Paige using pictures of some of her favourite shows – Peppa, Hey Dougee, Playschool and the Wiggles. Each puzzle uses a different coloured popstick so if they get mixed up, it will be much easier to sort out! I’ve also put magnets on the back so they will stick to our baking tray and won’t move around while in the car.
I came across this magnet match idea over at Busy Toddler and after having a full scale version on the fridge for a couple of weeks, I made some mini car-friendly versions. I’ve split the two sets of magnets into labelled ziplock bags so I can just hand Paige the laminated sheet and corresponding magnets.
We haven’t done many sticker based activities in a while, so I’m really hoping they hold Paige’s attention for a while in the car. I bought a whole heap of coloured dot stickers to use with some of Paige’s favourite activities.
I made a simple colour sorting sheet (again, this is a mini version of this idea from Busy Toddler), and as it’s laminated, it should be easier to pull the stickers off and start fresh.
I also made an A5 version of Paige’s favourite sticker match activity – she matches the colour stickers to the corresponding dots, and of this activity from Busy Toddler (AGAIN! – can you tell I love her page??!).
We went searching through Kmart for some ideas and Nick came across this great sticker activity book, with five backgrounds and almost 250 stickers to create under the sea themed pictures. And for only $5, I’m sure we’ll get our money’s worth!
Speaking of Kmart, we found this felt board activity which I’m sure will provide lots of open ended creations using the felt triangles. It also came with plenty of pictures and patterns to create, but I have a feeling most of them will be a bit too challenging for Paige to do independently at the moment.
I also made two I-Spy bottles using some cute novelty erasers I found in Kmart and The Reject Shop. I just filled a plastic Voss bottle with rice and the erasers and attached a photo so Paige knows what she’s looking for. Just make sure you take a photo BEFORE you put them in the bottles – I had to tip everything back out, take a photo then put it all back in! Oops!
We’ve also got plenty of plain paper, crayons, some foam flower stickers, masking tape and a baking tray. The baking tray fits A4 paper perfectly, so it will be able to be used as a little table for all our activities. And everything has been sorted into labelled folders and ziplock bags – #teachermuch? – and packed into a basket that will sit on the floor in front of Paige’s seat.
I’ve made sure everything I made is easy enough for Paige to do independently, but hopefully won’t get bored of quickly. I’m planning to sit between Paige and Samuel in the back of the car for most of the trip, so I can entertain Samuel with songs, books and his own toys, and I know Paige will be much more manageable if we do the activities together.
And if worse comes to worse, we’ve got the trusty iPad with plenty of Peppa Pig, Hey Dougee and her beloved ‘Bear Movie’ (Monsters Inc) to get us through!
What are your favourite ways to keep your little ones entertained on long car drives?