As a mom of 3 little ones, I have some experience with taking kids on road trips. My third child is two now, and I’m gearing up for some upcoming road trips. Two year olds present a special set of challenges on the road. They generally like to move and have shorter attention spans, making long hours in the car seat tough. They also don’t always enjoy sleeping in the car like younger babies, and may be in the middle of potty training. To help parents know what to pack so they’re prepared for what may come up on the road, I’ve created a list of my Must Haves for a Road Trip with a Two Year Old.
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Keeping active little ones entertained in a car seat can be a challenge. Here are my must haves for keeping two year olds busy on a road trip.
If an adult is available to read out loud, this can be an awesome way to burn up a lot of time. My two year old can listen to books for a LONG time. My son’s favorite books are Karen Katz books and these 5 minute stories.
2. Interactive Books
3. Small Toys
I have found that a combination of old and new small toys are fantastic for pulling out to give two year olds something to look at while riding. My little guy loves vehicles and I bought this tractor and fire truck to keep him busy. I also think this magnetic toy is a great choice.
It’s hard to beat the level of entertainment you get from the small package of a screen. I usually purchase a season of my kid’s favorite show and load it on our iPad before we leave.
PRO TIPS: Get a protective case for your device. Also make sure it’s fully charged and that the show or game works on Airplane mode before you leave. We have left town before and realized that the episodes didn’t actually download to be watched without wifi.
As far as the mom guilt for extra screen time, I find it’s just not helpful. A screaming toddler is not helpful. We’re not on road trips every day and we just have to do the best we can to maintain our sanity.
Food and Drinks
We usually stop for meals on road trips, but snacks are great for keeping kids busy and happy. Instead of buying individual snack packs for everything, I usually package snacks we already have in zip top bags. I prefer to have a wide variety of different snacks rather than lots of one type of snack because the novelty keeps kids excited.
6. Water in a Thermos Cup
Bring a cup that doesn’t leak filled with water. These cups are our favorites.
8. Baby Wipes can clean up a variety of messes.
9. Bottled Water is useful for cleaning up messes, and also refilling drink cups.
When a spill or mess happens, a large towel to clean up can come in handy.
11. Trash bag
We usually use a plastic grocery bag to hold the trash that accumulates on the road.
12. Child Potty
If my child is potty training during our road trip, I bring a child potty with us. In my experience, kids can be intimidated by public restrooms when they’re first training (automatic flushes scare my kids) and I find they’re more likely to go quickly in a familiar child potty. Also I don’t have to worry as much about germs on the road.
My kids don’t want to wear shoes in their car seats, but we need them for restaurants and gas stations. I keep them right under the driver seat so I know where they are.
14. Change of clothes
Messes and accidents happen and not having to go through an entire suitcase to find a change of clothes is so nice. I keep one outfit for each child, and a shirt for myself in a separate bag behind the driver’s seat.
If you’re arriving at your destination at bed time, set aside some pajamas for each child. You don’t have to unpack suitcases to get the kids in bed.
16. Hand Sanitizer
I’ve tried almost all types of hand sanitizers, and this is by far my favorite for kids. The foam makes it so easy for them to coat their entire hands.
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Let me know what you think about these must haves for a road trip with a two year old!
I’d love to know what you think of this list. Is there anything I haven’t listed that you love? Please leave me a comment below!
Disclaimer: The information published in this blog is for information and entertainment purposes only. I am not an expert and you should look elsewhere for advice. I am not liable for any damages resulting from using the information on this blog. All activities for children should be done with adult supervision. For further information, see the Disclaimer page.