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Road trip? No problem! Pack up a fun box and that's that. We have several sturdy cardboard boxes that once held printer paper that have built in handles. You could go to a yard sale and get a hard top briefcase cheaply.

Let the child decorate the box/briefcase with stickers or paints. Anything that gets their creativity flowing and gets them excited about THEIR box.

Each child gets their own. This is a MUST so there are NO disputes involved. Depending on your space the box could even double as a table.

Our rule is - "If it doesn't fit in the box you cannot pack it for use in the car". Older children can pack juice boxes and snacks if you think they can handle it. The fit in the box rule helps to keep more space in the back seat for elbow room and less junk in mom's car! Many cars have room for the box to be put on the floor, under their feet, when not in use or during nap time.

Here are some things we always include:

clip board with paper and colored pencils



card games

felt board and story pieces (easy and cheap to make - you don't have to buy one)

magnetic games (watch small pieces and toddlers)

walkman and tapes (don't forget audio books)

matchbox cars

Buy a notebook to put maps in. Or glue in restaurant biz cards or postcards along the way.

We've packed puzzles too, the wooden kind where the piece sits IN the frame.

Here are some more ideas:

Etch a sketch or magna doodle

Picture books (especially pop up books)

Fill a ziplock bag (about gallon size) with finger paint. Secure zipper and corners with duct tape. When it lays flat you can draw designs on it and erase it super easily.

Maps of where you are going (use to print off several good and free maps that can be ripped or colored on without worry)

Gather clip art of things you think you will see along the road (signs, animals, buildings) and encourage the child to check them off as they are spotted or write the word when they see the object.

Tip - Anything covered with clear contact paper can be used with dry erase markers just like a white board.

Homemade games and dice. Use velcro on the laminated file folder and the pieces so that little ones don't lose pieces or have their game interrupted at a bump in the road. You can put the dice in the top of a PAM cooking spray container, cover with saran wrap and put masking tap around the sides to secure wrap. Then you can shake and see without losing/dropping dice. This tip for the dice isn't mine. I read it on a yahoo group called  GamesForLearning.  If I manage to remember the brilliant person who thought it up I'll let you know.

When my kids were younger I never let them see the fun box. I'd pull things out as mystery surprises when they needed them. (Meaning they were getting bored or cranky). Now they put the box at their feet or on their laps as needed.

Don't forget to tell jokes, sing and play interactive games like I Spy or What am I riddles.

Oh..... and of course don't forget to HAVE FUN!


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