The solution to keeping kids amused and occupied on long car rides can seem as elusive as the perfectly placed pit stop.
Parents of even the smallest of infants will find the perfect travel toys to keep them amused and stimulated in between naps. The irresistible Whoozit Activity Spiral wraps around most stroller and car seat carrier handles for on-the-go fun. A baby safe mirror encourages self-discovery, a hidden rattle reinforces cause-and-effect play, and the pull-and-release Ball pit for kids under the Whoozit makes a delightful jiggling motion that stimulates developing motor skills.
Does your baby love to reach for little toys and give them a good shake – before throwing them under the front seat? Well, Lamaze Garden Bug Foot Finder and Wrist Rattle Set is your solution to keeping those toys and rattles off the car floor. These baby-soft wrist rattles and foot finders slip around wrists and onto feet. Let baby grab and shake to her hearts’ content – while developing hand-to-eye coordination skills! Bright patterns and faces encourage discovery while fun sounds reward exploration.
Now baby can “drive along” just like mom or dad with the Beep Beep Baby Soft Driver by IQ Baby. This colorful, soft activity toy features a steering wheel, key, gear shift – even a cell phone! The colors and contrasts stimulate baby’s visual development, while the baby safe mirror promotes self-recognition. And with all the squeakers, rattles and ratchet sounds, your baby will be kept amused no matter how long the car ride is!
For quiet moments, try keeping an assortment of CD’s to soothe your young ones to sleep on the road. For example, Dreams and Lullabies by Markus is a collection of old favorites like Brahms’ Lullaby and new favorites-in-the-making like the dreamy Angel on my Shoulder.
LeapFrog can make traveling with kids seem like a walk in the park. The Little Touch LeapPad allows your baby to interact with classic stories like Guess How Much I Love You, while the My First LeapPad is perfect for your pre-schooler to learn letters, numbers, shapes and other fundamentals while reading and interacting with engaging stories and familiar characters like Bob the Builder and the Wiggles. You can even coax the Game Boy out of your 4-8 year-old’s clutches when you hand him a Leapster! Boys and girls have a blast reinforcing essential math and language skills while playing games and reading stories with their favorite characters like Spiderman, Junie B.Jones, and Spongebob Squarepants.
Electronic games are sure to be a hit with your school-age travelers. Remember 20 Questions? The the hot new game, 20Q – a small, handheld electronic genius that can guess what you are thinking in 20 questions or less! Just think of any object and answer “yes” or “no” to each of its questions as they appear on its LCD screen. Will 20Q guess your answer? About 95% of the time it will – wow!
Another backseat favorite is MadLibs by Excalibur Electronics. Based on the wildly popular series of activity books, players create the craziest, funniest stories by choosing from a list of nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs – or by writing their own. The wackier the better!
Perhaps you have a passenger who is an aspiring chess master. Travel chess sets are a great way to improve your chess game on the road, and the Excalibur Chess Station is the grand champion! This full featured travel unit has an LCD screen – no small pieces to lose – and boasts a 1750 tournament rating with 73 power levels from beginner to advanced. It even has a teaching mode and a series of opening play challenges to sharpen your traveler’s skills. Once you have arrived at your destination or returned home, Excalibur Chess includes a game board and chess pieces for traditional play as well.
So your teenager thinks he knows it all? Test his Quiz Quotient against the New York Times Quizmaster from the famous Noodle Nudger of the NY Times online quiz game. Featuring over 2200 questions in 280 topics, this multiple choice format travel game is perfect for either the solo player or a minivan full of kids (and adults!) to match wits against each other.
Pen and paper games are also essential activities for traveling with kids. Klutz has discovered a new use for your vehicle’s drink-holder – how about Klutz Books in a Cup in either Green or Orange `flavors’? For ages 8 – 10, this unique collection of puzzles and games comes in a reusable container, complete with a pencil and a lid, that fits neatly into a cup holder for easy access and storage. Combine this with the Klutz Kids Travel Book and you have the ultimate backseat survival kit. This super high quality book comes with a built-in clipboard, 100 page notepad, 47 page activity book, and a conveniently attached zipper pouch full of markers, yarn, dice, string and more! Mazes, Cat’s Cradle Loop and instructions, Hidden Pictures, Parcheesi Board, License Plate Bingo and Classic Song Lyrics are just a few of the activities included in this Parent’s Choice Gold Award-winning travel activity kit.
What’s a road trip without a great selection of tunes? Your traveling tots will enjoy Raffi or Disney. For songs in the car that even Mom and Dad will love, check out A Child’s Celebration of Rock and Roll featuring original artists like Bill Haley and the Comets, the Coasters, Bobby Darin, Johnny Otis, Shirley Ellis, and Richie Valens. Modern hit-makers, including Sarah McLaughlan. Billy Bragg, Tom Waits, and the Barenaked Ladies, provide new takes on old childhood classics (and some new ones!) on For the Kids. This alternative-rock CD is perfect for traveling with kids of all ages – even those too-cool tweens who think they have outgrown kids’ music!