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5 hour family road trip with two preschoolers, what was I thinking!

goofy kid in the car
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Our family trip, adventures of traveling with preschoolers. My brain keeps saying “why would you choose to put yourself through that?” as I plan to take my kids on a 5-hour drive. Some people have well behaved kids, that sit, and read quietly for hours and hours. My kids however, do not. Because being in the car for 5 hours proved to be successful, I thought I would share our story.

Two boys, one car. For a 3-year-old and 5-year-old boy that just don’t sit still, trying to occupy them for this 5-hour drive family trip proved a challenge. My brilliant idea was to remove technology from our drive, and try to enjoy the scenery. I often find that the boys are caught up in what’s happening inside the car, and can’t lift their heads long enough to see roadside pie stands, people riding ATV’s on nearby paths, or my favourite; clouds moving over the hills ahead in the distance. I went on Pinterest, I visited the Dollar Store, and came up with what you see in these photos; lap desks. I took old throw pillows from Ikea (from another disastrous DIY project) and attached with crazy glue, cookie sheets. For my silly, wiggly kids, I quickly sewed on ribbons that I could tie in a bow around the back of their seat to keep the tray tables from falling to the floor.

Between the boys, on the seat, I placed a shoe box which had more goodies than their tiny hearts could desire. In it I put; easy to read books, colouring books, crayons and pencil crayons, toy cars, stickers, magnets, the works! The boys were excited to get at it, choosing the books they wanted to colour in, I gave them both a task. Could they use a little bit of each colour in the bin to colour one of the pages in the book? Then, we will decide who we will give that picture to. Patting myself on the back, an hour came and went. When that got boring, we used the GPS to find the lakes on the side of the road because they seemed to be everywhere, and we talked about what kinds of fish we would fish for in those lakes, what other animals we may find.

After 2 hours of driving we quickly pulled over, and stretched our legs. The air was refreshing and re-energized all of us. Back in the car we went, and it was story time. My 5-year-old is learning to read, so he picked out a book to read to us all. As they do in school, they predict what is going to happen based on the cover of the book, and then we get to read it and then describe the photos. It`s like reading a book on tape slowly with descriptive audio. Our 3-year-old can enjoy reading along beside him too.

When reading in the car proved to be a challenge on the stomach, the music went on. One by one, each kid chose a song on the playlist and we all sang it together. We took time to discuss our favourite instrument in the song. Some songs had great drumming, others had really difficult guitar riffs. Before long, we were almost there. The nice part is when you get the change of scenery by getting off the highway closer to your destination. At this point, we were able to talk about what our plans were when we got to our destination, how much longer it would be until we got there, and I let them both choose something fun that they wanted to do when we got out of the car. One wanted to get in his bathing suit, and go in a lake, the other chose to collect rocks. Sounds good to me. We arrived… it seemed painless… I wonder if the ride home will be as smooth.

Send me your comments of your favourite family trip tricks.

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