Road Trip Sanity Savers for Parents of Preschoolers

Summer’s here, which means many families, are prepping to take annual road trips to the beach, grandma’s house or a favorite theme park. If you are planning to hit the highway with a preschooler in tow, then consider employing some of the following sanity savers:

Shoeboxes as snack holders: Don’t knock it until you try it. Empty plastic or cardboard shoeboxes are great food holders. Simply fill the boxes with your preschooler’s favorite snacks and place them on his lap while traveling in the car. If something should spill, the mess will be contained to the box and easier to clean up.

Cake storage pan as a tray table: A 13x9x2-inch plastic cake storage pan makes a wonderful tray table in the car. Let your child personalize the container, then fill it with her favorite toys and coloring books. You can even affix a Velcro strip on a corner of the lid and place Velcro dots on pens and crayons, so they’ll stay in place while your vehicle is speeding down the highway.

Audio books: Give the portable DVD player a rest and listen to audio books to pass the time on your road trip. Also, bring along some joke or storybooks to pass the time while you are waiting for your food to be served at a restaurant.

Maps for kids: My preschooler loves looking at maps, so I download and print out a portion of a road map we will be using on our trip. I highlight our route with a yellow marker and glue pictures of some of the landmarks we plan to stop at. You could glue the map to a piece of cardboard and laminate it with clear contact paper, or simply tape it to a window, so your child can track your progress.

Go to the library: Head to your local library prior to heading out on your road adventure and borrow books, such as “Games for Family Road Trips.” You could also visit a local discount store and pick up a deck of cards called “52 Fun Things to Do in the Car.”

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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.