Entertainment help: Car trip with kindergartener

I’m going on a long car trip, just me and my 6-year-old son, and I’m looking for ideas for entertainment. He has coloring books, toys, and a Nintendo DS — and does enjoy looking out the window, and talking to me — but these amusements aren’t going to last the whole trip, never mind the whole way back.

I was thinking there might be podcasts geared to the younger set. True? I haven’t looked yet. Also I have thought about seeing if there were storytellers’ CDs available at the library (Paging Zsofia! True?) that I could check out that we could listen to. I had an Appalachian storytellers’ cassette that my older children and I used to listen to, but after about three times through, you are done.

I don’t have a DVD player or a laptop at the moment, but I do have an iPhone I’m willing to let him borrow (he likes Plants vs. Zombies) … but I’d like to encourage a little more creativity and a little less electronic amusement.

Since he’s going to be the only kid in the car, and I have to drive, I’m getting a little paranoid, thinking I’m going to have to listen to a lot of “Are we there yet???”


I’m thinking that a long car trip with a kindergartner isn’t the time to worry about creative, enriching pastimes. It’s a time to keep him quiet and occupied. I strongly suggest you find some of those storyteller CDs and load them on your iPhone for him to listen to, or get him a cheap MP3 player of his own to put them on.

From the time I was 3 to the time I was 11, my parents and I did a 14-hour drive to our annual vacation, and back. Listening to stories and music through headphones is how it happened for me, and for them.

Duct tape.

:rolleyes: :stuck_out_tongue: You’re always such a helpful soul, silenus.

Well, at that age my kids would fall asleep pretty easily on long car trips. How long are we talking here?

My kids used to love these Create-A-Scene Magnetic Playsets, (and other brands as well) available in many different scenes such as construction site, firefighters, farm, zoo, trains, airport, etc. I only brought them out on trips and restaurants so they weren’t bored with them yet. Being magnetic, the pieces don’t fall off. They’re sold at so-called “better” toy stores. I haven’t found them at Toys R Us. They’re really fun and creative, and should be good for at least 20 minutes of play time. They’re completely flat so they don’t take up room in the car or travel bag.

Hit the toy stores for travel games. License plate bingo, spot the cop, alphabetical semis…lots of ways to keep entertained. As far as podcasts go, check iTunes. I’m sure I saw a bunch of kid-appropriate podcasts listed. I’d give you a list, but I’m at work and the site is blocked.

Connect-the-Dots. You can print out a ton of pages of them from home or just buy the books.

Those look good needscoffee! Which did your kids like best? I wish there was a jungle animal one, or reptile scene. He likes books about animals a lot — whales, spiders, reptiles.

Leaffan, he won’t fall asleep and hasn’t on this trip since he was about 3. It’s a five-hour drive, that usually takes six since we stop halfway at a McDonald’s playland for him to run around.

Here are a couple of tricks we used successfully when our kids were younger:
Presents to unwrap; find some of the travel games that have been mentioned. Gift wrap them. Set a timer (or your cell phone alarm) to go off every hour. When the alarm/timer goes off, Li’lCherry gets to pick a gift to unwrap. This has the advantage of giving him something new and unexplored every hour. Cheap stuff is good (new coloring book/activity book; new crayons; colored pencils), mixed in with a couple of nicer things (like the magnetic games mentioned). Also, you can find lots of fun magnets at dollar stores, and any tin you can buy for 39 cents at Goodwill will work as a “board” as well as storage for the magnets!

For the “Are we almost there?” problem, money! Here’s what we’ve done (successfully): give each kid a baggie filled with $10.00 worth of dimes. We’d promise to keep them updated on where we were, how much longer, etc. but if they asked us “How much longer?” “Are we almost there?” etc. they would have to pay us a dime in order to get an answer; any money they had left when we reached our destination was theirs to keep.

I have girls, but they liked pretty much all of them. Other companies make jungle ones, dinosaur ones, playground ones, etc. My daughters loved one that had a restaurant scene. A bonus is that if you save the magnetic sheet that the cut-outs come from, you can use it as a puzzle afterwards to put all the pieces back in their holes.

The car has a CD player and holds four discs, I think, so that’s no problem. I would probably enjoy listening too. I can also hook the iPhone up to the car system with an adapter I have.

Those ‘Where’s Waldo’ style books have held my kids’ interest for long periods. Also Tintin/Asterix type comic books worked well.

I’d hit the library for audiobooks, kids books and travel books. Plus, old school games like 20 questions, alphabet naming and license plate bingo are great time killers.

Finally, the internet has tons of great colouring pages and simple crafts if your kid is good with scissors, folding and taping in a moving car.

When I was a wee Sigmatot, I always enjoyed looking at a map and matching the names there with the road signs. Go to the AAA and get a map and give the lad a Sharpie marker.

:eek: :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek:

No sharpies unless you’re in high school, and then only at a desk or table. No using a Sharpie on the bed. :eek: That is THE RULE in the Cherry household.

Thanks, everyone, for great suggestions.

OK, a bunch of little stickers he can put over places he’s seen. Sheesh. :slight_smile:

Download these free collections of children’s stories (in mp3 form) and burn them to blank cds.

I downloaded a bunch of the ghost story collections to keep us entertained during a project, and they were of good quality.

This. We have an iPod classic that I load up with movies…I think the one we have holds like 80 movies. We have it hooked up through an external screen and the car stereo, so both kids can watch…but with one child, just let them watch on the little screen. Sure it’s not good for the whole trip, but a movie at the start, and one at the end can make the middle part of the trip easier to get through.

Sesame Street has put out about 90 shorts via video podcast about various subjects. Having those on the iPad has kept our young’un busy for quite a while on longer trips. The “Pasta” episode alone grabs her attention for way longer than it probably should. heh.

There’s always the “alphabet game”. Call out a letter, and she has to search signs and license plates until she finds it, then she gives you a letter, and so on back and forth. If you’re stuck with “Z”, drive past a pizza place.

Great ideas, guys. I appreciate it so much.