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Entertaining a Toddler on a Road Trip

Summer is a time when we pack up the family and hit the road. Sometimes we visit family, or hit a theme park, but wherever we go, we end up spending a ton of time in the car. With 5 kids, I’ve taken plenty of road trips, in fact, over the last 17 years, I’ve only taken one trip without kids.

My kids vary in age from almost 16 years old to 19 months old. My older kids really don’t need much distraction. They have their electronic devices, books and games. In fact, I’ll have to take all of their distractions away at some point so they will actually look out the window or talk to us. But, with my toddler, I always need to make sure I have plenty of things to entertain her and keep her happy, because honestly, what’s worse than a long car ride with a cranky and bored kid.

Entertaining a Toddler on a Road TripHere are a few ways entertaining a toddler on a road trip.

Cookie Sheet Magnet Board

Last year’s Disneyland trip was made so much better with the magnet boards we brought along. I grabbed a couple cookie sheets at the dollar store, along with magnetic letters. My kids had fun spelling out words and writing messages to each other (I did have to take the boards away from the older kids since their messages weren’t very nice). My younger daughter used the letters as people. Best part was, the letters stuck to the cookie sheets for storage.

Painter’s Tape

Toddlers love peeling and sticking things. Painter’s tape (the blue tape you use to mark off lines) is perfect for the car. It doesn’t leave any sticky residue and it peels off easy. You can use it to make funny faces on the back of the car seats, give each other mustaches, make roads for toy cars or just let them stick it all over their body. It’s easy to clean up, and toss when play time is over.


This one seems obvious, but there are also creative ways to make snack time fun in the car. Find fun small containers to put snacks in. Maybe make the snacks themed to your destination, like fishy crackers for a trip to the beach, or character themed fruit snacks for a theme park trip. Whatever the snack, be prepared for it to be on your floor or in the car seat. Don’t stress, it will just vacuum up.

Surprise Presents

Everyone loves presents, and toddlers love presents and most of all, ripping open presents. Take a trip the dollar store and wrap up some fun small presents to surprise your toddler with along the way. My family has a tradition of purchasing a bigger new toy especially for the trip. My older girls love getting a new doll, or an app for their tablets. My youngest daughter loves stuffed animals, but I find that they usually take up too much room. Elks & Angels Cuddle Bear is perfect for a road trip.

Entertain a Toddler with Cuddle Bear by Elks & AngelsI received a Cuddle Bear and Little Cuddle Bear in exchange for this post. All opinions are my own.

Cuddle Bear is a 100% Australian Sheepskin bear with baby safe eyes and nose. Since Cuddle Bear is only one inch thick, it’s perfect for storing in a diaper bag, rolling up in a suitcase or stashing in the pocket of a car seat. Cuddle Bear is made of sheepskin, which is naturally resists dirt, bacteria and never holds odors and is considered by the medical profession to be hypoallergenic. Cuddle Bear is also designed for babies.

20140628_122906_resizedMischa grabbed the Cuddle Bear and immediately hugged it. It’s a great size for her to hold, and she loves rubbing the soft bear against her cheeks. It’s really pretty cozy to hold onto. I would love to lay down on a huge Cuddle Bear and watch T.V. I was able to roll up the Cuddle bear pretty tightly and put it in my bag on a recent road trip. Cuddle Bear is available in 2 sizes, Cuddle Bear and Little Cuddle Bear. You can pick up Cuddle Bear from their website or at various specialty stores.

Wherever you are heading this year, enjoy every minute. Even the hard times will be pleasant memories in the future!

Where are you heading this Summer?

Liz Mays

Tuesday 1st of July 2014

I have a road trip coming up this weekend. I'm loving your magnetic board and painter's tape activity ideas. Simple brilliance.

Tiffany Cruz

Tuesday 1st of July 2014

We will probably end up at Orange Beach in Alabama. Can't wait to take a road trip with my family, it's only about 2.5 hours but I'm sure the kids will get board and I'll have to pull out some of my tricks to keep them entertained.


Tuesday 1st of July 2014

It is a tough trip with a toddler.


Monday 30th of June 2014

What great tips!! I never would have thought of the cookie sheet with magnets before!

Sarah Marturano

Monday 30th of June 2014

These are such great tips. This would definitely make road trips easy and fun.

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