Inexpensive Ways To Make The Miles Fly By

By Karla Mikkelson

Inexpensive ways to make travel fly byWhether you’re a mom-on-the-go or a grandma with little ones in tow, there’s more to long car rides than giving your most precious cargo highs from “fruit” snacks and a stack of gaming devices.

Think back to the simpler days – life without a Nintendo DS, iPod or portable DVD player. Teaching kids to entertain themselves with a few small, quiet toys when they are toddlers is a skill they’ll carry with them the rest of their lives.

Here are some inexpensive tips to take the pain out of long car rides:

  • Search for items out the window that start with each alphabet letter.
  • Spy license plates from as many states as possible and find them on a U.S. map.
  • Chat Pack or Brain Quest (portable kids’ question/answer decks).
  • Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader (try the travel-sized electronic version.
  • Travel-sized Connect Four, Battleship or Boggle games.
  • Mini notebooks, washable markers, age-appropriate workbooks (try Mad Libs).
  • Reading books.
  • Hand-sized toys like Polly Pockets and action figures (store in zip-up pencil case).
  • String for cats cradle, etc. or a friendship bracelet making kit.

Having a handy supply of things along on every trip is crucial to keeping your family on budget, as well as keeping your kids happily entertained. Keep supplies in a basket or small plastic bin within your children’s reach.

Some basket “must-haves:”

  • Wet wipe packets and tissues or napkins in a refillable Ziploc bag.
  • Umbrella.
  • Water bottle.
  • Travel-sized toys, games, books, markers.

It’s also a good idea to keep a sick bag and change of clothes in the car. Think of it as insurance. One day you may be thankful you have it!

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