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Old 02-20-2012, 12:27 AM   #1
thomascaldwell1
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Smile FREE or Cheap Car Games Needed!

We've still got a few months before we hit the road, but I have a 7 year old and a 2 year old to amuse for a 9 hour drive. This is not our first rodeo, but our 2 year old has become more active than ever, and we're going to do a lot of driving during the daytime this trip. Normally we leave around midnight and drive through the night while the children are sleeping, but that makes for miserable parents since we have to be up all night to keep the other awake and alert while driving in the dark.

So, I'm looking for some games and activities (cheap or free, please!) to amuse one or both of the kids- the oldest is pretty well amused with her DVD player and her Nintendo DS, but the youngest is so hard to amuse- and hates to sit still long enough to watch a movie- she gets bored far too easily! Any help or ideas or suggestions would be much appreciated! I plan to give them each a little 'goodie bag' of various $1 Disney items I pick up between now and then which might keep them amused for the first hour or so, but that hour might be wishful thinking- as many activities as I can stockpile, the better since we've got 9 hours each way... Thank You!!
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Old 02-20-2012, 06:42 AM   #2
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Magna doodle, magnetic shapes or play dough on a cookie sheet, pipe cleaners that you can bend into people and animals, finger puppets, matchbox cars, paper dolls,etc. You can go to the dollar store and buy little gifts that you can give to her every hour so she has something new to play with every hour. For the older one, one thing my kids do is see how many different license plates they see on the way and try to find one from every state. Oh, and be sure to have lots of snacks and drink boxes. Good luck!
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Old 02-20-2012, 12:26 PM   #3
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When my DD was 2, she never could sit still for long. She did love cardboard sewing cards and stringing wooden beads on a shoe string and would do those for long periods of time. She also loved books with "lift a flap". She wouldn't sit through a whole movie but did enjoy 1/2 hour DVDs that had music especially the Wiggles.
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Old 02-20-2012, 01:02 PM   #4
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I second the magna doodle. My kids loved this when they were younger.

When traveling long distances (and we do a LOT of this) the kids pack books; even the 2 yo will like board books if they're new and fresh (borrow some board books from friends or the library). I've also discovered that the "Flash" games are good for travel as they give the kids something to do when you stop or you need something simple to keep them busy at a restaurant table. The 2 yo might like the simon game as all it requires is hitting the flashing color.

ziploc baggies filled with legos or duplos are/were also a hit with my kids as they let them use their imagination.

Have each kid pick out some favorite small toys to pack.

Even tho the food is crap I recommend stopping for lunch or a mid afternoon snack (buy a couple of packages of the cookies or a soft serve) at a McDonalds with a playplace along the way so they can work off some of their energy.
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Old 02-22-2012, 12:02 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 3boymthr View Post
I second the magna doodle. My kids loved this when they were younger.

When traveling long distances (and we do a LOT of this) the kids pack books; even the 2 yo will like board books if they're new and fresh (borrow some board books from friends or the library). I've also discovered that the "Flash" games are good for travel as they give the kids something to do when you stop or you need something simple to keep them busy at a restaurant table. The 2 yo might like the simon game as all it requires is hitting the flashing color.

ziploc baggies filled with legos or duplos are/were also a hit with my kids as they let them use their imagination.

Have each kid pick out some favorite small toys to pack.

Even tho the food is crap I recommend stopping for lunch or a mid afternoon snack (buy a couple of packages of the cookies or a soft serve) at a McDonalds with a playplace along the way so they can work off some of their energy.
Please explain- 'Flash' games?

My oldest packs a 'toy box' which includes items for both girls- DVD's, books, a few silly toys, cards (hotel room more than anything), magna-doodle, etch-a-sketch, etc. Guess I was looking for even more entertainment for my 2 year old, or even car games like the license plate game, but something on a 2- year old level? Anyone ever get creative and do something like printing pictures of certain color cars and have them give you the printout (mounted on cardboard and/or popsicle stick or printed on card stock)? Trying to come up with some creative things as I'll be sitting in the backseat next to my 2 year old (the 7 year old gets the WAY back seat in the minivan). I appreciate the ideas and suggestions folks! Keep 'em coming!
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Old 02-22-2012, 12:06 AM   #6
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Any ideas on a 'tray' concept with sides? Someone above mentioned playdough on a cookie sheet- I thought about using a brownie dish since it has 4 deep sides- maybe a tin one or a disposable Hefty-brand type deal so that the legos/toys would not slide off the edge of the cookie sheet as easily? Do you think a Hefty EZ Bake pan would work well enough for a 2 year old or will she destroy it early on... She's a heathen sometimes, especially when bored! Love her to death, but she sure has figured out the Terrible Two's- good thing her older sister skipped right over this phase!!
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Old 02-22-2012, 08:01 AM   #7
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We let our two year old play with an ipod touch in the car. We loaded it up with lots of fun games and mickey mouse clubhouse videos. She's scary good at working it.
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Old 02-22-2012, 08:05 AM   #8
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On the top of the Disney families board in a sticky post they have a bunch of printables that you can print out and make a little book for them with activities they can color, do mazes, word searches...all kinds of things depending on their level and what you want to print. They have a girl one and a boy one so you can really have fun with it. There are also lots of disney sites that have printables you can work with.

My son is 4 and I made him a book when he was 2 and he still hasn't finished it all. We are locals so our car trip isn't long but he loves his book and plays with it in the hotel too.
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Old 02-22-2012, 09:23 AM   #9
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Something easy that we do that requires no advance planning is a type of I spy game. We take turns naming an item to look for while we're driving--a certain color car, a word, a sign, an animal, a certain type or color of building, etc. If you want to even up the field you can give an easier item to your two year old so they have a shot at finding it too. I have to admit, the whole family gets into this game & it can get quite competitive--great way for all of us to pass the time!
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Old 02-22-2012, 10:01 AM   #10
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2, man that's tough. Our kids play a simple dice game called "farkel", but that's probably not doable for someone that young. Ditto the license plate game. The previously mentioned doodle boards have been a hit for both my girls right from the start though. One thing we have always done is plan to spend 10-15 minutes at the rest area allowing them to play on the slides and burn some energy before getting back in the car.
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Old 02-22-2012, 01:49 PM   #11
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We are road warriors and at that age, the magna doodle was the favorite. For whatever reason, a blanket and a baseball hat kept my crew entertained quite a bit.

Now that they are older, we get clipboards and load them up with drawing paper, lined paper, mad libs, sudokus (easy) and so on. The markers are in a plastic tub. The kids prefer using a clipboard over an activity book.

You can also print out car bingo.

We also enjoy music and books on tape. I'm not a fan of children's music (for the most part) but it's fun to listen to older music with them. Jackson 5, The Beatles, and so on. We love some old school rap in our house.

Our go to food stop was always chik fil a. The kids would play a while and we would take them to the bathrooms in turn. After they were done playing, we would buy the food and the kids would eat it in the car...that was good for a half hour.

Good luck!
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Old 02-22-2012, 08:50 PM   #12
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I make the boys an activity book with printable pages. I bound it up, and supply them with colored pencils. Some pages are laminated. I provide dry erase markers for those pages.

We also play the cow counting game (get to 100 first, a grave yard kills the other team's cows)
License plate game
car bingo
roadkill bingo
alphabet game (find all of the letters in order on signs)
A word game, where you say a word and the next person says a word that starts with the last letter of the word in front. Cannot repeat a word. We try to make our words end with X's, because that's the kind of family we are.

We do not do dvd's or video games. No ipods. No electronics. Until our last day of vacation. We talk, visit, laugh, tell jokes. We once had a book with games. one of the games was to get the other cars to laugh. So, my son would wave, full smile at everyone that drove by us. I think we were a bit overboard there.

The boys have been traveling since they were born. They are excellent travelers.
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Old 02-22-2012, 10:23 PM   #13
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OH I got something for you! billybear4kids.com
I printed off a bunch of there paper dolls, bears and babies (plus some of the house parts) and laminated them (i just used contact paper) then bought some magenitc sheets (Hobby lobby) and put them on the back. The girls love these things and spend hours playing with them in the car on their cookie sheets. Its the only thing they ask if im bringing everytime.
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Old 02-23-2012, 12:37 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thomascaldwell1 View Post
Any ideas on a 'tray' concept with sides? Someone above mentioned playdough on a cookie sheet- I thought about using a brownie dish since it has 4 deep sides- maybe a tin one or a disposable Hefty-brand type deal so that the legos/toys would not slide off the edge of the cookie sheet as easily? Do you think a Hefty EZ Bake pan would work well enough for a 2 year old or will she destroy it early on... She's a heathen sometimes, especially when bored! Love her to death, but she sure has figured out the Terrible Two's- good thing her older sister skipped right over this phase!!
Jelly roll pans are what we used. A jelly roll pan is just like a cookie sheet but it has small sides ( maybe a 1/2") we use them as cookie sheets at home too. I always forget people have flat cookie sheets as I have never owned a flat one.
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Old 02-23-2012, 07:16 AM   #15
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When my oldest was 2, she loved the look and find books. We discovered that they have some my first look and find types with Disney characters. They are board books with pictures that are pretty easy to find but also lots of other things to look at. We own a few and get a few from our library. Also, if you are going to be sitting right next to her, what about a craft? I know my DD also loved some cutout construction paper shapes, a gluestick and some popsicle sticks. Hours of entertainment. Plus, then you could do a puppet show for big sis!
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