We did a roughly 12 hour trip each way on our jaunt to Echternach, and Mini-MI suffered all the indignities of a long hot day in the car admirably. There were times when some of these ideas came in bloody handy, though.
BTW, when I say safe I mean it in a relative sense — nothing is truly safe when you’ve got a one-year-old with you.
- Books. Preferably soft ones, to prevent injury when they’re thrown at your head.
- Music. Mini-MI will be happily distracted for up to half an hour at a time if there’s something to listen to.
- Pulling faces. Doesn’t matter if you’re no good at it, they’ll show you how.
- Water games. On a hot day it’s particularly good – just drip a bit of water on the baby’s head or arm, let them do what they like. Give them the beaker and leave them to it if you can…
- Singing. Any kind will do, especially if you’ve got no other music.
- Hand signs. Vulcan, Gangsta, Rocker, Surfer – all genres welcome here. You copy them or they copy you; this is an easy one.
- Food. Let’s face it, this is one of the easiest distraction tactics in the world. Something that takes a while to eat is best.
- Hunt the Food. When your darling little one drops half-chewed snacks into the mysterious cavities of the upholstery & luggage, you’re gonna play this one anyway. Might as well play for laughs.
- “Look!” (like I Spy, but for younger infants the objective is just to point out the window at stuff. Mini-MI likes spotting bikers on the road.)
- The paper fan. Fold a paper sheet in zigzags, pinch one end and fan the other out, waft it at your offspring. Cooling and entertaining.
- “Where’s your…?” (like Look! but pointing at bits of your body)
- Drawing. Provided nobody gets stabbed with a crayon, this could occupy a whole 20 minutes before the upholstery’s at risk.
- Clapping hands. Mini-Mi absolutely loves the power trip of grabbing our hands and clapping them for us, or you could play pat-a-cake if you remember how.
- Winking and blinking. Younger kids typically haven’t figured out how to wink yet, but they’ll give it a damn good try.
- Sleep. Yes, OK, you can’t make this one happen. But it’s the longest period of quiet you’ll have, so make the most of it when you get it.
- Gadgets that Create Road Trip Bliss (drivenct.com)
Other related stuff we posted: