Friday, July 11, 2008

How to help a toddler not kill mommy in the car

Sheila, BFF, Fischer and I are leaving at 4 am tomorrow morning for a long road trip to visit our other best friend and her family. We'll be there for a week. We are really excited, but I'm sure you can imagine the possibilities for the roadtrip part with two 2-year-olds!!!

"I want to get out! I need something to eat! I need a drink! I need to go potty! Stop saying that! BFF keeps saying that! BFF not listening! Don't sing that part! Fischer not listening! Fischer don't touch! That's Mine! I want that! BFF not sharing! Fischer not sharing!! Mommy! mommy! Mommy! mommy!"
All the while, sheila and I will be popping Advil and cranking up the music to try to drown them out.

Sooo.... We have some activities planned. Sheila bought some new and novel toys for them, we have our portable DVD player and books, and ... drum roll please...some FABULOUS CAR FUN!!!

I got the idea for these great activity bags from Melissa's Chasing Cheerios' toddler activity bags and she was inspired from Megret's preschool activity bags, and so on... that's how mom's (and teachers) do it. We take an idea and adapt it for ourselves and our "people".

Here are the Chasing Cheerios bags:
I made a bunch of activities that were more conducive to Fisch and BFF, many of them were quite similar. I have writing, felt boards, play dough, magnets, letters, sorting, lacing, blocks, matching, etc. I noticed that Melissa had used her activities with a cookie tray. She did the activities on an airplane where her little one was parked right next to a parent for help. Problem: BFF and Fisch are going to be in the back seat of the car where we can't help them. So I needed to make some adaptions to the activities. First, they are all things that can be done completely independently. Second I have made some very simple adaptions to the tray to help prevent everything from rolling off.

For instance, for sorting, I have velcroed the containers to a foam place mat that fits inside the tray. This way all of the containers and manipulatives won't get spilled within the first second. I can also remove a container or two depending on how many things we're sorting.

For lacing (pasta and lacing cards), picking up metals with a magnet wand, matching game, and blocks, I have put a piece of rubber drawer liner into the tray. For the pasta beads, I used pipe cleaners with buttons on the end to make sure that they could do it easily without help.

I have a stiff felt liner for the felt boards (don't make fun - I'm not an artist). I also cut the loops off of decorative buttons and glued felt to the backs to give us some fun manipulatives for our felt pictures.
The tray itself is obviously good for magnet letters and shapes, but also perfect for play dough.

Now the only trick is to get them to think this is as great as I do! Oh, and for me not to freak out when they destroy it all and chuck it out the window!!! Wish us luck. I'll let you know how it goes!!!
By the way, these activity bags will be great for restaurants, visiting kidless homes, and to toss one in my purse (the tray is not necessary for all).


Liz and Jake said...

OK Seriously! It's a miracle if I pack enough underwear for the kids and don't forget the swimsuit! Once again you amaze me!! Have a fun trip I will miss your blog while you are gone!

MamaBird said...

You rock, those are all great ideas - thanks for sharing. And yes! I do love how we all help each other in the blogosphere and life.

Jenny said...

Wow... you put me to shame. When we had to go to Houston I was happy I remembered some new, fabulous books and some magnetic drawing books. I'm feeling realllllly inadequate. Poor Avery.

Oh! I hope you are having a wonderful time!

Anonymous said...

I agree with all the comments- you are amazing. I was SO proud of myself this morning for getting both kiddos to the pool by myself until I realized in the locker room that I left Z's swimsuit behind....
Hope you and D are having a great time!