Thursday, September 5, 2019

20+ Kid-Friendly Things to Make Your Next Road Trip ROCK! Must-Haves to Make Your Ride Hassle-Free and Totally Fun! 2019-2020 Guide

20+ Things That Kept My Kids Busy On Our 16+ Hour Road Trip! 

Shotgun! If you're riding co-pilot, you've got to bring the goods, and I have the goods to bring to make your next road trip with kids an easy one! We recently went on a road trip with our two boys, and we had a blast! From NY to Florida, we trekked hundreds of miles per day with two boys, then five and two years old (we came home with a six-year-old!). 

From beginning to end, our trip was just awesome. More on how we survived in a later post, but here’s what I thought to bring to keep the kids and us parents busy. I’m happy to say everything worked! You can use any of the items below (not the bubbles) for a trip on a plane or train, too! 

Start your road trip with the right navigation guides! If you use Waze, go to Settings and check out the latest limited edition voices that take over the directional prompts. In June, they had Woody and Buzz from Toy Story and Elmo and Cookie Monster from Sesame Street! The kids will be looking forward to what they will say next. Not only are the guides fun, but the tools within the app are very, very driver-friendly. Get notified if there is a hazard in the road up ahead, a stalled vehicle, or even if the po-po is lurking behind some bushes. TIP: Download the app before the big trip and pre-set your stops. 

Snack it up with easy to pack noshes and drinks. For kids, good2grow juices are super easy to tote and spill-proof with the fun character cap! Snack some Disney themed Goldfish crackers with Mickey Mouse or Toy Story! Easy to snack fruits and veggies like cut-up grapes and carrots will give your kiddos something healthy and sweet to nosh on! 

Keep kiddos busy with easy to pack and easy to access things to do. Each kiddo should have their own travel bag full of goodies for things to do. Imagine Ink books are a lot of fun and pretty inexpensive, plus they feature all different characters from superheroes, cartoons characters, movies, and even JoJo Siwa! You can buy them on Amazon for under $5. Sometimes you can find them at Five Below, but these versions are shorter. 

My Busy Books are self-contained book sets with figures, a story, and a map of different panels to play. The map can be great for hotel stays as well. The figures and book are great for the car as they play nicely in the book’s compartments. You can find them online at B&N and Amazon.

Road tripping should be fun for the whole family, and if you’re a family that thinks they got the chops to belt out the hits, then you’ve got to bring The Mic! James Corden takes celebrities around town and they sing together all of the hits. You’ll be the hippest, coolest car on the road! The Carpool Karaoke The Mic by The Singing Machine will connect to your vehicle via AUX input or tune into an unused FM station. You can belt out your favorite tune and hear it through your car’s speakers. Plus the battery is rechargeable and provides up to six hours of Karaoke style fun! The Mic is also perfect for parties as it has Bluetooth connectivity so you can connect to any Bluetooth device and put on a show for your friends! You can use The Mic with the app with free songs up to 30 seconds, or play it through your music player. We actually used it through Apple Music and read the lyrics we didn't know, however, doing it through the app is actually a lot more fun! You can queue up songs and sing continuously. Check out our video if you want to see us sing! Available in stores now for $59.99, don’t drop the mic! Grab it and sing!! Carpool Karaoke The Mic is available for sale at

Traveling on the road compromises what’s on TV for the kids while getting settled or recharging for that seven-mile stretch! The PBS Kids HDMI Streaming stick has over 100 hours of kid-friendly content. It’s useable with any digital TV and has access to PBS’s streaming service. If you only want educational content for your little one, then this is great for at home and for on the road!  You can also play your own videos to stream or to pull from the microSD, includes fun family-friendly games, and includes continuous updates for the device. You don’t need the internet with this as there are pre-loaded educational software and PBS quality shows. This is the device that has everything your kiddo needs to be entertained. I found this device to actually be perfect in hotel rooms. Many hotels on i95 don't really have too many kids channels, so this device was a Godsend. It's also under $25 on Amazon, which is an amazing deal! Thank you so much PBS Kids! 

If you want something handheld for your little one and something that is strictly to be mobile then you should definitely include PBS KIDS Playtime Pad+. Kids will be able to be the masters of their own devices by selecting the content they want to watch that is totally kid/friendly! Play games, learn, sing songs, and more—this is the most kid-safe tablet out there! Entertainment at your child's fingertips! Not only is it useful for kids for when they’re on the go, but it’s durable, too. Available now on for $79.99.

For little artists, Y’Art is the coolest set of crafts you can get that are self-contained with no glue or sewing—the kicker is that the artwork is created with yarn! The finished products are pretty enough to be framed! With five options to choose from get creative and make a pug, flamingo, llama, narwhal, and unicorn! For the holidays they will release special Van Gogh Starry Night version, which is actually the perfect template for Y'Art. Y'Art by Kahootz Toys are $14.99 each and include the exact colors and tools you will need to create. Make sure you bring a pair of scissors for when you're on the road. 

Dolce Mouse Backpack with Neck Support  Dolce is known for producing high-quality toys for babies and toddlers. My youngest son, Rocco, still loves his Dolce Spring Bunny. Dolce has created the Dolce Mouse Backpack with Neck Support. To keep toddlers entertained it comes with a Rabbit toy with crinkle ears, which is a great quiet toy for planes. I know this from experience! Toddlers love to crinkle. There is also a removable mouse, ribbons to pull and tie, and tactile fabric to keep kids busy. Babies and toddlers benefit from these tactile toys as they test their sensory skills. Dolce actually stands for  Develop, Observe, Learn, Create, Educate. Dolce products incorporate the best of learning in the cutest of packages. The Mouse Backpack is also great for on the go and can fit a book and toy, and the neck support is great for naps on the road when you stop for a stretch. Now Available  Ages 0 months+  MSRP $39.99

Travel BINGO cards are still a fun way to pass the time with the kids. You can find them still in Target’s one SPOT section for just a buck. Keep them in the car behind the front seat pockets for traffic jams, too! If you can't find them anymore at Target, then Amazon has four-pack of them for about $8.   

Toddlers love to work with their hands, especially my little guy. From ripping up paper to buckling belts to looping lace to pressing buttons —he’s always fiddling with something. 

Hide and Seek Pop Up Alphabet Board by Battat is perfect for on the go and at home. Toddlers can learn letters, numbers, colors, and associate words with images.  They will love pressing the buttons to reveal an image. Learn the alphabet, colors, numbers, words, and more. 

Toddlers will also love these adorable buckle pillows. My little guy loves these pillows and they’re easy to take on the go. With a variety to choose from you can’t go wrong. Keep in mind some are smaller than others, and I find the larger ones to better suited for smaller hands. Find them on amazon for around $14 to $22 each. 

Fat Brain Toys makes a great collection of toys, but their fidget toys for babies are like a Godsend. Dimpl is like a mom’s and dad’s secret weapon! My toddler loves playing with it, and the construction is so simple! Try out Simpl Dimpl that comes with a ring to attach to keys or even a diaper bag. If you’re looking for something larger, but has the same idea then look into the Dimpl Duo that acts a learning tool and fidget took all in one.  Their sizes alone make them very portable for road trips or even a quick trip to the store. 

Bubbles are always fun, but not in the car! When you stop to eat or for a bathroom break, whip out the Glove a Bubbles! Kids will love this opportunity to play and let out some steam. Glove a Bubbles are so easy to use and to store. They are packaged flat and work like a glove, so when kids wear them and wave their arms beautiful bubbles fill the air. Glove a Bubbles also make for great party favors!

Highlights are not just a magazine subscription! You can buy individual books to meet the needs of your child. From puzzle books to dry erase books, these are great slim books that fit perfectly in a drawstring backpack. Kids will find the puzzles to be engaging and fun, as well as provide some educational downtime. 

For older kids, hand them a puzzle that will engage their minds and hands— a Rubik’s cube! Rubik’s cube is revitalizing and making a strong come back this year, so don’t be surprised to see this old favorite on your kid’s holiday list this year! It’s size alone allows for easy portability and access to some quiet time. My son Marcello was getting antsy in the car even after taking a long pit stop, and this relaxed him so much that he passed out. Score!

Crayola Color Wonder Books are a no brainer. There’s no mess and each pack comes in a different character variety. I packed Toy Story and Mickey and the Roadster Racers. Since the markers are blank and only color when they touch the Color Wonder paper, there are no messy hands to contend with. Plus you can mix up the colors from other sets! 

If you have a Michael's near you, look in the crafts section for these cool, wooden masks that kids can color. My son picked out his own that are Halloween themed. For a buck each, you really can't go wrong. Plus the playtime that ensued after was really fun and lasted a long time. 

A travel desk is a great way for kids to feel like they have their own space in the car. I found a Toy Story 4 themed one at Target. It came with stickers, crayons, coloring sheets, and markers, too. The desktop is a soft plastic so kids can snack on it too. The loops in each corner all for sheets to be looped in, or tuck crayons in there while you work so they don’t roll away.

Handheld games by Super Impulse are easy to pack and fun miniaturized versions of the real game. Play games like Tetris and Pac-Man in true color and sound. This is great for downtime for the parents! The co-pilot can have a turn at some fun while the kiddos sleep. Nothing sounds more fun than playing some Tetris! I loved it while we were traveling at night. The full-color LCD screen was bright enough to see my gameplay, and the volume control was perfect because Tetris's game music lulled my kids to sleep! If you need a quick charge, the USB cord plugged into our adapter and charged right up on the go.

If your kid wants to unwind on the iPad or tablet, check out my list of the best apps to download for kids when traveling. Some are free and some cost about $2. You don’t even need the internet for some, so make sure you download and test the apps before.  

When traveling with kids, you’ve got to keep in mind that they will need to stretch their legs often and take a break from sitting. The good thing with young kids is that they fall asleep easily, especially when you’re keeping them so busy in the car with all of these activities. Be sure to pack healthy snacks like dried fruits and nuts, and some treats like mini muffins and goldfish. 

The night before our big road trip, I made homemade chocolate chip cookies with my son as a nice treat for our car ride. Don’t forget about the driver and co-pilot—pack plenty of water and drinks in a small cooler for your trip and snacks to keep you from stopping unnecessarily for junk food. Stay tuned to my blog with my NY to Florida road trip guide on where to stay, stop, and play! 

What do you bring on a road trip with kids? How do you keep your kids entertained? 

Happy road-tripping!

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