CREATING A CAR BUSY BOX

May 04, 2016

Summertime can mean road trips.  If you’re parents, road trips can mean long hours in the car with pent up, bored kids.  In other words, the seventh circle of Hell.  I recently trekked my 2 and 4-year-olds on a solo trip from our home in Columbus to Atlanta (9 hours if there is no traffic) for a wedding.  People literally looked at me like I was growing a third eye when I told them I was going to attempt this.  I have to say, I had my doubts too.  And while the trip was not perfect (an entire beverage was spilled on the floor and I was NOT stopping for another), it went much better than I expected.
Part of the way I fend off boredom in the car is by bringing along a Car Busy Box.  I started our box when we were making our first family road trip to Virginia Beach in the winter of 2015.  I created a Pinterest board to pin ideas to keep toddlers occupied in the car.  I continue to return there each time we take a trip so the box can stay fresh, interesting and age appropriate.
Here is what I have in my box:

·        Inexpensive Cookie Sheets from the Dollar Store – Good for use with magnet puzzles or toys.  Also makes a good hard surface for coloring or snacks.
·         Magnet Toys and Puzzles  My kids love these super fun Crazy Animal Magnets from Djeco and their Magformers.  I also printed some very simple puzzles and attached business card size magnets to the back.  They can play with these on the cookie sheets and toys are less likely to fall on the floor (not 100% successful)
·         Color Wonder Markers and Coloring Books – I choose these only because we often rent cars for trips (because our cars are either old or leases) and I don’t want the markers to get on their clothes or the interior. 
·         Dry Erase Crayons and Board – This was a new addition for this trip.  Even though these crayons aren’t quite as transparent as Color Wonder markers, they don’t really leave a mark on much but the double sided board they came with.  Q really likes to practice writing so this was a great way for him to practice words and to free draw.
·         Printed Tracing Pages – Again, thank you Pinterest.  I found some sheets to print for tracing practice and laminated them.  He can use the dry erase crayons on the sheets and wipe them off and do them again.

·         Felt Play Mats – This was another new addition this trip (yep, Pinterest).  I found this adorable post from Fun at Home with Kids that included the pattern for a roll up felt dinosaur mat.  Then my 2-year-old wanted a Monster Jam mat for his trucks (not nearly as cute or polished but served its purpose.)  The mats are 9” x 12” and designed for lap play.
·         Multi-Purpose Bin – I could probably write a whole post just about how much I love these bins from the Container Store.  They are inexpensive and live up to their name of multi-purpose.  I got the medium sized one for $4.99 to go in between the seat but it just as easily go on the floor of the passenger side.

I’ve been tweaking and adding to the this bin for over a year of short and long trips.  I try to keep it all together in the bin (previously an expandable folder) and only let the kids play with it on trips (so it stays fresh.)  I’d love to hear if you have any car ideas to keep your kids occupied and sane while traveling.  Comment below to share....Happy Summer Travels! 



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1 comments

  1. Great food and great people with awesome styling and interior. Also great venues in Los Angeles for cheap happy hour drinks. However, the downstairs beer selection is about as standard as it can be while upstairs can be a bit more creative.

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