By Kathryn Peck
If you’re one of the many families this summer who, as we start to slowly ease out of the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, are eager to pack your bags and hit the open road with your kids, it might be worth noting that some things, despite our travel-less year, never change. Questions like, “Are we there yet?” and “How much longer?” haven’t changed, particularly when you’ve only been in the car for 15 minutes. Statements like, “I’m bored,” and “There’s nothing to do,” will quickly become familiar again.
Take it from this mom of 4, here are 5 items you won’t want to start the car without this summer.
1. Snacks, snacks, and more snacks. You’ll want plenty to eat for the car ride in leak-proof containers. Containers with multiple sections are great, like SnapLock Snack Stack Food Storage Container ($9 for three) or bento boxes like the amazing Bentgo Kids' Durable & Leakproof Lunch Box ($24.99) with five sections and a lid that kids can easily open and close themselves.
Sugarbooger's cute insulated lunch sacks easily fasten with a hook-and-loop closure and are perfect for car trips; plus they wipe clean. And don’t overlook Sugarbooger’s Twist & Snack Stacker containers (shown below): three different-sized (dishwasher safe!) snack containers that stack up into one.
And, don’t forget water bottles, like Stojo's ultra-portable bottles ($25) that collapse and fit into your bag.
2. Wipes. Not just for diaper changes, but sticky post-snack hands, too. Oxo’s On-the-Go Wipes Dispenser with Diaper Pouch ($19.99) is great for both. Water Wipes are a great open for the car; these all-purpose wipes are clean and without any strong fragrance, they're perfect for any messes. There's a variety offered, but just sticking with the baby wipes has worked for us.
3. Games for the car. When you’ve exhausted trivia and “I Spy,” you’ll want to have a supply of new games for the car. Mud Puppy’s Magnetic Tin Games (shown below) are perfect for the car because the tin itself acts as the magnetic backdrop.
Sticker books and activity books are always a hit. Pair these with a travel set of markers that comes with its own case, too. Jaq Jaq Bird's adorable erasable books come in various themes, and best of all, the Butterstix that are used for drawing is essentially dust-free chalk.
4. Trash bin for the backseat. I don’t know about you, but with the windows down in my car, granola bar wrappers literally go flying, so this is probably a must for all car trips, regardless of length. Check out the small and sturdy KMMOTORS Foldable Garbage Can for the car ($9.99) back can. $10.
5. Tablet. I know. It would be wonderful to enjoy the time spent together without screens, but let’s be honest and admit that sometimes — sometimes — screens are a parent’s life saver. So, pack your iPad or tablet, chargers, and make sure to load up on memory for offline movies and shows when needed. You’ll be glad for the backup option. And, if you’re bringing this along in the car, don’t forget the kiddos’ headphones.
About the author: Kathryn is the owner of Bicycle Pie and mom of 4 little ones. Also a writer, editor, and former owner of one of Boston's premiere baby boutiques, she continues to write about motherhood, children's products, family life, and all other things that test our skills and patience as parents.
Photo credit: iStock.com/AleksandarNakic.jpg