Infants and toddlers get bored very quickly when they are strapped into a car seat. They can't bend over to pick up things they have dropped and can't look around and see what is going on around them. This can be very frustrating for a young child. When they are in a car seat, there is no way for them to burn off excess energy. Parents can help keep children from getting restless by giving them interesting toys and objects to keep them occupied. Here are a few that we have come up with.
Kids love to sing. There are many songbook/cassette sets that children seem to love. Some favorites are the ones by Wee Sing. Disney soundtracks are also wonderful. And if tapes don't make them sing, maybe the songs will put them to sleep.
Cards are a great way to make a long trip go faster. Even adults will enjoy playing a game of Go Fish or Solitaire. There are so many different card games that you can play and sometimes kids can even make up their own card games to keep them occupied. Always keep a deck of cards in the glove compartment of your car, you can use it while waiting in line at the bank.
Play Board Games!
Magnetic or peg board games work great. A simple IQ peg board game has kept children busy for many trips. There are also various other board games that will work just as well. A cookie sheet works great for your child to do puzzles and play games on. It is also a good idea to keep a few extra toys in the trunk of your car. This way you can always get your children new toys when they are bored with the ones that they have been playing with.
Let Them Count Things!
Have them count things that they see while they are on the road. Perhaps have them look for red cars, or a particular states license plate. Let them use their imagination. License Plate Bingo is still a fun car game. Have your kids try to spot plates from different states. If you are travelling in a big city where there are a lot of vanity plates, have your kids try to figure out what the plates mean. That can be a real challenge!
Books are always a good choice whether you are at home or traveling on vacation. Mom or Dad may have to sit in the back seat for this one, unless your are fortunate enough to have a few books on tape. Bring along a tape or CD player with headphones which can be used for your books on tape or music. You can also combine books with counting, point out items in the books, like a cow or a barn and ask your child to watch for it.
Give Them Crayons Or Markers!
Bring along a flat topped plastic container filled with art supplies. The container can serve as a place to keep art materials along with being a nice flat surface for your child to write on. One word of caution with crayons, however, make sure you don't leave them in a hot car. If you must leave the car for an extended period of time bring the crayons with you or give your kids washable markers instead. Many of us have learned this one the hard way.