Lucy's favorite thing lately is for me to "tell me a story about when you were a little girl." I love that request, I love her interest, I love the connection it's building between us. But after months of retelling my stories over and over every day, I'm sick of them, and completely out of new ones. And we're about to take a 7-hour drive twice in one week. I cannot fill all that time with stories! So I've been working on back-up plans.
When I was a little girl, we drove 18 hours to Lake Michigan for two weeks every summer. My mother held the bag of M&Ms and doled them out one at a time to the first to spot "a red car" or "a blue station wagon." She packed big piles of library books. My sisters and I lay stretched out with pillows in the back of the station wagon, reading, playing, and eating candy from the specially-stocked mini suitcases my mother packed for us. (One year, there was one of those things you draw on with a red plastic stick and then peel up the plastic covering to erase your picture. What were those things called? Anyway, I stuck the red thingy in my ear, and we ended up making an emergency trip to the doctor...)
I kept my mom's ideas in mind as I perused Pinterest and brainstormed my own list.
Here's what I've packed for Lucy's entertainment on the road:
Cookie sheet with magnetic paper dolls (made with printable magnet sheets and free downloads). I planned to make these car trays, but I just didn't have any more time to spare right now (or a large-enough clean cookie sheet). For containing items in the car, she'll use a wooden tray rigged to her car seat.
An "I Spy" bottle. My mom and I had tons of fun gathering tiny things for Lucy to try to find hidden in the rice (I spy mama's hair clip, a googly eye, and a button right now). There's a photo of all the objects, so she'll know what she's looking for. I really loved this idea, but again, limited time, so a recycled bottle it is.
Mad Libs. I loved these as a kid and certainly spent car-time on them myself, but I would never have thought to buy them for a 3-year-old had I not happened across this one at Goodwill when I was shopping for car activities. I realized there was no reason I couldn't teach Lucy what a verb is, and have her offer those while Andi suggests the rest, and then maybe do verbs and nouns. I think she'll love it.
Our family songbook.
A lollipop. Bought them for Halloween, and still have a few. I thought it might buy us a few minutes of quiet. (Lucy eats very little candy, so this will be a huge treat.) There's one for the trip home, too.
A couple of favorite books with lots and lots of details to study.
Pipe cleaners, beads, and buttons.
Markers and scissors.
A tiny flashlight.
A little mirror.
A notebook holding paper, stickers, mama-made Bingo (seen above), and printed Bingos and scavenger hunt. There are also dry-erase crayons (borrowed from Nanny) for marking the bingo pages and I spy photo, which are all in page protectors. Nanny also loaned us a dry-erase board to take along.
Not pictured: our iPod, loaded with Pooh and Sparkle Stories.
It's all packed up in Lucy's tote from Granny: