Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Car Time Tips

We have several activites in our life that cause us to have to spend a bit of time in the car. It is usually not more than 20-30 minutes of travel time, but that can feel like an eternity to children. Because of this, I wanted to tell you about a wonderful trick that Works For Me.

I keep a basket of travel friendly items in our vehicle. The first thing that goes in is a pencil box filled with appropriate writing utensils for each child. I focus on colored pencils so that their creativity can shine. I add a coloring book and a plain spiral-bound notebook (which I buy 10/$1 or less when the Back To School sales are at their peak) as well. With these simple materials, I can give them words to write, ask them to draw pictures, write stories, solve math problems or make lists - which they love to do, just like their obsessively organized mother - and it can fill time while we're driving or waiting for an appointment. We can also take these into restaurants that do not provide activities and stay busy with some competitive Tic-Tac-Toe games!

I have also gathered some various items, primarily from dollar stores and Target's fabulous Dollar Spot. I get any travel themed items, small workbooks, wipe-off boards, etc. that are quiet activities. These filter in and out and I change them to provide a surprise for the kids now and then.

We also have our trusty GameBoys in this basket. I have a camera bag for each of them and we have their game and the various age-appropriate cartridges that we have collected at garage sales and resale shops. I make them play them with the sound off and they have saved many a meltdown when we hit a traffic delay or are waiting for a late friend. This is the only time they play them, so they stay fresh and fun.

We keep this basket on the floor, snug between their seats so that it could not fly thru the car in the event of an accident.

I hope that this has provided some ideas for you to help with your travel time. Do you have other ideas you would like to share?


We hope to see you back here tomorrow for Thrifty Thursday. We would love to hear your favorite money saving ideas!


  1. Can you tell a bit more about the basket itself? Where did you get it? Also who gets the items out of the basket? Are you children old enough that they can reach the basket on the floor?

  2. The basket came from Target in the laundry basket area. My kids are old enough to get the items out themselves (6&9) and it sits wedged between their seats. They can reach since they are in boosters. If your children aren't old enough to reach, you could set them up with something to do from the box before you begin your trip and use the box as storage for yourself. Hope that helps!