We drove to Disneyland from Washington State with four kids…and survived!
I was going to simply update my post Awesome Car Trip Activities for Kids with info on what worked and what didn’t, but that post was already insanely long! So today’s post is a follow up to that post. Sort of a before and after deal.
You should definitely read the first post since I am going to just refer to the activities that I gathered and made rather than fill out this post with the information a second time.
Now, I’m not going to lie, parts of the trip were ROUGH! We drove 1,100 miles each way, taking two days to drive down, and driving back up in one shot. However, out of four kids we really only had trouble with one, so that’s pretty good! I have three words for you…two, year, old.
Oh yes, Patrick was a bit difficult. Norman, the 6 month old did great, and the two girls (ages 8 and 5) were awesome.
The difficulties did not come from lack of activities though! Armed with my insane amount of activities for the kids, tons of snacks, plenty of water, and every comfort I could think of, we were pretty well set. In fact, we didn’t even use all of the activities I brought!
I kept asking the girls if they would like a new activity and they kept saying they were fine. And Patrick turned down activities offered during his tantrums.
We left the house just before 5:00 a.m., so for a while we tried to have the kids sleep. Once everyone was definitely up for the day and we’d had breakfast I handed out some basic activities: their clipboards, Twistable crayons, sketch pads, pencil pouch sets, and folders with printed car games.
From there I just handed back an activity whenever they asked. Here’s a list of all the activities I brought, what we used, and which ones were big hits:
- Clipboards- very handy as a hard writing surface
- Folders with printed games- great, they kept coming back to these
- Sketch pads- these were great for drawing, they kept coming back to them
- Twistables- the only way to go for coloring utensils in the car!
- Pencil pouch sets- they loved these, and the pop up pencils were perfect
- Color Wonder sets- AMAZING!!! Don’t leave home without these!
- Stickers- they didn’t really use these much
- Flash cards- didn’t use
- Phonics flash cards- didn’t use
- Books- didn’t use
- Brain Quest flash deck- didn’t use
- Paint chip colors book- this was for Patrick and he loved it, didn’t last long though
- Pipe cleaners- they really liked these, used them when we were almost home
- Post Its- didn’t use (used on the next trip and they had fun with them)
- Sewing- the girls love sewing, but they only did this once then moved on
- Felt fishing set- didn’t use (used on the next trip and were a huge hit! We keep them in the car permanently and they love playing with it!)
- Lacing cards- these were good, great for all the ages
- Lalaloopsy magnetic dolls- didn’t use (used on the next trip, the girls really liked them, Patrick was upset he didn’t have one so they had to share)
- Card games- didn’t use in the car, but used once we were there
- Magnadoodles- didn’t use in the car, but used once we were there
- Felt cupcake/ice cream- they liked this, but it took me longer to make than the time they played with it!
- Princesses on sticks- they liked these but not as much as…
- Cousins on sticks- these! They LOVED these!
- Thomas the Train puzzles- didn’t use
- Rosaries- this was a great way to start our trip, by praying together
- Bible story cards- didn’t use
- Little Flower workbooks- didn’t use
- Virtue stories book- didn’t use
- Little Flower Saint cards- didn’t use
- Princess sticker book- didn’t use
- Sticker activity pads- Loved these
- Frozen CD- they loved this (Thanks Jaime and Cadence!), so much so that Nick was ready to toss it out the window! He even made up his own song “Let it go…out the window…”
- Movies- yes, we did use a few movies. I think all together they watched either two or three, not bad for 48 hours on the road!
- Gum- fun for the girls
- Disney Pez dispensers- they loved these!
That’s the run down. Best activity we had was hands down the Color Wonder sets! The kids LOVED them! It was the only activity that would calm Patrick down. Then he sat and colored so intently! And I love that the markers will only color on the paper. No marker mess everywhere. Thank you Crayola, I love you!
They also totally loved their cousins on sticks that I made. Seriously, so fun! They got such a kick out of playing themselves and their cousins.
Other items that were awesome to have were the grab claw things (what are those called?), eye masks, motion sickness bands, a container “just in case” (barf bucket), lightweight jackets with no hoods, a full container of wipes for wiping hands, faces, etc., full size hand sanitizer (I always have this in the car), and applesauce squeeze pouches.
Things I hadn’t thought about were: we had no floor space to play the felt fishing game, it is too hard to hear from front to back of the van for reading out loud, and Patrick can’t peel stickers off on his own. Unless you don’t want him to.
Some of our activities came with us into Disneyland. I hadn’t thought about it beforehand, but once we got there I realized that some activities for times we had to wait in line would be great. So each day we brought our sketch pads, Twistables, Disney card games, and mini magnadoodles into Disneyland with us. They didn’t take up much space, and the kids definitely used them!
Oh, and our method for tracking our trip progress was awesome! I cut out a mini-van shape on my Silhouette. Rather than moving it along a string like the original post, I hot glued a piece of Mickey Mouse ribbon to the back, and a piece of Velcro to the other end. We just stuck the Velcro end of the ribbon to the ceiling of the van! That was Nick’s idea. He is so good at coming up with solutions to my crafty problems! Then we moved the van every 100 miles. The kids loved it, and were uncanny in their ability to know when we had gone almost 100 miles! I swear, they asked within 15 miles each time if it was time to move the van!
I will be posting more tips and tricks from our recent trip to Disneyland soon.