We are no strangers to road trips. Since Yannis was just 6 months old, we’ve taken long drives of up to 6 hours. When he was 11 months old, we drove 3 hours to Los Angeles for a family vacation. At 14 months old, Yannis and I have braved three mother and son road trips. With all of these experiences, we’ve learned a lot about how to keep Yannis busy and happy while we drive. One of the keys to keeping a baby happy on a road trip is providing interesting developmentally appropriate toys. Of course, we also have to make sure these toys are also relatively small. These toys are lifesavers! Yannis is entertained and also learning while we drive for miles.
Because toddlers aren’t meant to stay still for long periods of time, we also make adjustments in our travels so that Yannis can get his wiggles out. In addition to toys, we plan restroom breaks for moving around, snacks, and naps. Between these activities and the toys, Yannis does really well during long car rides.
Wondering what our favorite road trip toys are? Here are some of our Montessori items for the road.
These books are small enough to fit in their lap and are easy for his small fingers to maneuver. I try to pack books that are relevant for the trip such as “things that go” or truck books. That way he might be able to find some of the items in the book outside his window! Or, if you’re going to the zoo, you might take a zoo book.
Yannis loved his object permanence box and has now graduated to the coin box. He gets lots of fine motor practice putting the coins in the slot.
Our roadtrip basket is not complete without these magical fine motor figurines. I keep a collection of community figures and Schleich animals to keep him engaged and focused on his language development on the road. We Recently discover Kids Around The World figures and Children With Differing abilities figures for diversity activities on the road.
Cars and trains
We don’t leave the house without Yannis’ automobiles. His fascination with cars and trains keeps him busy moving his vehicles around for long periods of time. While he plays with his cars, he is developing his spatial awareness as he sees how moving the cars changes their positions in space relative to each other and him.
Music (what more for a road trip with the baby!)
Listening to roadtrip music and singing songs is a great distraction on road trips. As Yannis starts to learn the words and sing along, he’s working on his language development. He hears new words and learns about sentence construction. His favorite song so far is The Wheel On The Bus.
Toddlers songs for Roadrrip Playlists:
Road Trip Games
We sharpen Yannis’ observation skills by playing games that involve looking out the window. We ask him to spot trucks, certain colored vehicles, and other items to keep his interest up. As he gets older, he can play even harder games such as looking for items that start with a certain letter sound, spotting letters, or 20 questions.
Road trips aren’t always easy with a baby or toddler. But, if you’re prepared, you can make them manageable and more interesting for your little one.
Best wishes to you on your road trip!