Getting through long car rides with a toddler

On Sunday, we headed out on what should have been a 3 hour round trip to see my sister. Thanks to traffic, it ended up being 10 hours in the car! The worst thing about traffic (in Nigeria anyway) is that it’s crawling, you’re sandwiched on both sides and can’t even decide to pull over. How did we survive you ask? 

Look out the window! There’s so much to see. Different vehicles, people doing different things, different colors, sounds and sights to see! This is our favorite tool and we spent most of the time spotting thing. Solu really liked this truck of watermelons with people lying on them. Another favorite was a man wearing an umbrella hat. 



I always have two books in my car. This book (L’imagier Deyrolle) which has lovely pictures that would be great for making language cards and this one (ispy board book). They both hold his attention and he doesn’t get bored of them. At one point I heard him say “metu let me read this book to you.” Yes he’s speaking in complete sentences and I think all of the things on this list have a lot to do with it. 


You Guys are So Awesome Cards. I ALWAYS have these cards with me. They are truly awesome. I pull them out when we’re stuck in the car, when we have to stand in line, when I’m having a long conversation and need to keep him busy for a while and just any unplanned situations that we encounter. Our favorites on the Go and are the Go! And alphabet decks. They both have lots of details that interest a toddler in the sensitive period for small objects.

My Wallet: I think every toddler dreams of being an adult and wants to do what they see the adult doing. In desperate situations, I sometimes offer my wallet for exploration. There are pictures to look at, “Monik” to count, cards to slide in and out, Zips to zip and unzip and snaps to open and close. #toddlerwin!

Music: We love music and it is a fun part of our car rides. We sing at the the top of our voices and have a merry time. Some of our favorite CDs for car rides are this music together CD, this rhythm of the rocks CD, and you are my little bird by Elizabeth Mitchell 

Our favorite songs are ridin in the car, obwisana, mama, mama I want a mango, and three little birds but we love all the songs on these CDs

Bonus tip: we have a potty that stays in the car. I’m not sure what we would have done otherwise. 

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How do you get through long car rides?
Live a Good Life!

2 thoughts on “Getting through long car rides with a toddler

  1. We kept a potty in the car for our huge car trip this summer and the few times we needed it, we really, really, needed it! Great post, Junnifa.

  2. Great tips! Thanks for the CD recommendations. I always travel with a small bag of books that I keep in the car and rotate the books as needed. Lift the flap ones are especially interesting. We also love the wallet cards – shape and colour are our favourite. We have objects of different colours to match to the cards, in a special little bag. For longer car rides we have a soft, flexible tray that attaches to our daughter to allow her to do small object and card matching (e.g. animals – Toob size is awesome!). Also a plain notebook that is hers with a pencil pouch filled with stickers and crayons. One of our favourites is a picture dictionary. And don’t forget snacks! We did a lot of road trips this summer and they were all screen free so we had a good car travel bag.
    Recently we were stuck in traffic too, not quite as long as yours but 2+ hours when it was suppose to be 30 minutes. We had a small snack, used the containers as drums & maracas, sang songs, pretended to chug our waters, laughed a lot, talked about what we saw, and generally just stayed positive. I don’t think I would have chosen anybody else to be stuck in traffic with as everyone else looked miserable.

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