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Any tips on keeping a 2.5 year old amused on 5 hour car journey

(20 Posts)
LittleMammaTo2 Sun 19-Jul-09 19:58:19

We're due to travel to the in laws next month which means a 5 hour journey by car sad. Does anyone have any tips on how to keep my 2.5yr old DD amused during the journey? We're thinking an hour or 2 napping, CD of nursery rhymes and obviously some toys (which she will no doubt throw on the floor for the amusement of watching me attempt to retrieve them every 5 or so minutes).

Any other magical suggestions gratefully received

cyanarasamba Sun 19-Jul-09 20:07:12

Can you set off at 7pm, getting there for midnight? She will probably sleep the whole way and there will be a lot less traffic on the road.

If this is not possible I would plan to break the journey with a stop of 2-3 hours somewhere you can wander around (farm, NT place etc) and have lunch.

If she has a dummy/blankie she may be happy to zone out with that for a bit even if not actually napping.

Take lots of small snacks - raisins, finger sandwiches, grapes, etc. And a couple of emergency bags of quavers.

peggotty Sun 19-Jul-09 20:09:12

One of those portable dvd players has been an absolute godsend for long journeys for us! Unless you are anti-tv or whatever I would recommend you get yourself one of them tbh!

CMOTdibbler Sun 19-Jul-09 20:11:39

We do the following - spotting (can you spot a green lorry/cow/bridge), looking at signs (not motorway generally), singing (music man, old macdonald, wheels on the bus with verses about everyone we know, etc), general chatting, and lots of little snacks.

monkeyfacegrace Sun 19-Jul-09 20:13:12

Right, this takes patience, but I get an hour easily. Play I spy...but as my daughter is also 2.5 we simplify it. So its I spy with my little eye, something blue/a tall tree/5 birds/a bus/a yellow car etc etc (On really long journeys I write a list before we go so I dont have to think too hard!). Then every time she gets one (like 5 birds, takes a good few mins), she gets a grape/haribo/strawberry.
Also, take pens and paper, and she has to draw a ball, a square, a rectangle etc, and when she has dont them all, she has to colur them in. If she does it beautifully, she gets a little box of raisins.
Then when we have really lost the will to live, we have a sing song and do 'if your happy and you know it' really loud and do all the actions (change to clap hands/kick feet/wiggle fingers/nod head/do all 4), and these things can all be done while strapped into car seat!
I think the key is keeping them involved, they hate sitting in the back lonely. We took our dd on a 8 hour drive into France, and we took turns sitting in the back with her keeping her company. It was a case of, mummys turn, daddys turn, then mummy and daddys turn to be together! When I was in the back with her, I took the laptop so we could watch a cheeky dvd grin

JODIEwantsanewname Sun 19-Jul-09 20:17:45

We usually leave at about 4am, pack the car up the night before and put he kids in last thing, still in PJ's etc, that way they sleep for at least 2 more hours and then we stop at the first services, get dressed (you'd be very surprised how many kids there are in their PJ's at the sevices) have breakfast there, walk around, make a big deal out of buying the lastest Ceebeebies magazine (which serves to keep him quiet for a further hour in the car!)

And there isn't much traffic on te road then either

monkeyfacegrace Sun 19-Jul-09 20:28:26

But aren't you SHATTERED by 4pm Jodie?!

MrsBadger Sun 19-Jul-09 20:38:25

dd is 2, we schedule long trips to leave at 12noon
30min eating a packed lunch
then sleepy music cd goes on and within 30min she has dropped off
drive for duration of nap

then portable dvd player attached to back of headrest [bad mummy emoticon]

Denny185 Sun 19-Jul-09 20:43:14

...Or at tea time, with a picnic tea to start the journey.

Argos sell those strap on table things that they could lean on for drawing, playing cars etc.

JODIEwantsanewname Mon 20-Jul-09 11:29:26

Monkeyface no, DH drives and I sleep! grin Once tent is up I let him have a nap/rest while I take boys to the swings and have an explore...

lizzy77 Mon 20-Jul-09 12:53:40

If at all possible, try to make them tired so they will sleep for most of the journey. In my experience, even a car packed full of toys is not enough to keep a toddler occupied for five hours.

kathyis6incheshigh Mon 20-Jul-09 12:57:03

dvd player.
Don't count on them going to sleep if reschedule the journey to do it late - that can backfire and you end up with a grumpy and overtired toddler refusing to sleep and being awful.

LittleMammaTo2 Mon 20-Jul-09 21:07:04

Thanks for all the suggestions.

We were going to try and avoid the DVD player because we feel guilty letting her watch TV for the odd hour a day let alone putting a DVD in front of her but not really sure why we should feel guilty!

NumptyMum Mon 20-Jul-09 21:17:37

Would second cyanarasamba's advice, can you start journey later so that you go in evening? Mind you the last time we did that DS defied us and stayed up ages because he was enjoying looking at the car lights! Not to say that he was unhappy at all, but didn't get the sleep I thought he would. When we arrive at our in-laws, he wakes up but we can usually get him to sleep again within the hour (which given we spend half an hour with in-laws first is quite quick).

Otherwise plan at least one break, whether around mealtimes or just to stretch legs. 5 hours without movement is a long time, even if 2 of those hours are spent napping (if you are lucky).

monkeyfacegrace Mon 20-Jul-09 21:24:48

No LittleMamma dont feel guilty, christ I gave my 2.5yr old dd a book of jungle book a few weeks ago, cue irrational toddler obsessiveness, watching dvd about 3 times a day, everyday. Thats hours of solid Baloo. Do I feel guilty? Do I heck, its a faze, and its giving me chance to get stuff done!

nuttysquirrel Mon 20-Jul-09 21:55:18

I regularly travel from Scotland to Devon on my own with my 2 year old, always leave at 6pm in PJs and he then sleeps for the duration......about 8 hours.....

jkklpu Mon 20-Jul-09 22:01:25

If doing it in the day-time, get her to bounce on the bed for a bit before you leave so she's a bit tired and will sleep after the initial novelty's worn off. Play all the games others have suggested when she wakes up. Plan somewhere to stop for lunch and a run-around, eg a castle/museum/some kind of attraction with lots of space. Ten she'll sleep after that once she's tired and there will be only an hour or so to go when she wakes up again (or less).

ljb11 Wed 29-Jul-09 20:50:26

When we first travelled long distances with kids I trawled these boards for advice on keeping kids occupied. My conclusion was that unless you want to arrive dog tired and with a child who will be up all night or at the crack of dawn is to bite the bullet and get the DVD player. Ours has been invaluable over the last few years and enabled us to drive down to Switzerland last year which we could never have done without it.

LittleMammaTo2 Thu 30-Jul-09 08:49:57

Portable DVD player bought! DVD's ordered from Amazon - what have a I let myself in for hmm

Thanks everyone

BecauseImWorthIt Thu 30-Jul-09 09:21:44

I can highly recommend story tapes/CDs. At this age, unfortunately grin they will drive you demented. Bob the bloody Builder and Postman bloody Pat. But as they get older, (and I'm assuming that as these are inlaws you'll be doing this trip again!), you will also find that you can buy things that you enjoy. Harry Potter, for instance. Some of the books, on tape/CD, can take up to 24 hrs to listen to! (And they are beautifully read by Stephen Fry).

We have a whole library of them, as both sets of parents live 120-220 miles away, and we have travelled to France for our summer holidays for several years. I'm quite sad that now my boys are older we don't listen to them anymore!

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