On the road to camping with a 3-year-old

Discussion in 'Camping with Kids/Pets' started by Turkish, Jun 13, 2011.

  1. Turkish

    Turkish I'd rather be camping!!!

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    Ok. We'll going up North for about 7 hours to pick up our first PUP camper that we purchased last week. After that, we are planning on going to a RV park and have our first camping experience in the PUP. My question is, how do you guys entertain the little ones "on the road"? She does have a dvd player with gazillions of dvds, but of course she can only watch so much. Do you guys stop at a walmart, let them walk around? Buy some toys? Drug the kiddo?!?! We want everyone to enjoy the trip but of course if lil' mama ain't happy, nobody is happy. [8D]
    Thanks,
     
  2. adamteja

    adamteja New Member

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    dvds
    audiobooks on cd/mp3(we can get them at the library)
    nap time, I found cracking a windows for some white noise is a good trick
    stop for lunch
    lots of patience... 7hours is a LONG time for a 3 year old
    enjoy
     
  3. eporter81

    eporter81 New Member

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    We have a 2 year old. We sing to the radio, a doodle pad is great, look for things that are outside, DVD for an hour (thats all she can take), I try to make sure she has used the bathroom, had a drink and is full before nap. Plus, we make sure we have gas and we have all peed. There is nothing worse than a little one falling asleep and someone needs to pee or you need gas. The little one wakes up and will be up the rest of the trip. Or at least thats how our's are. Once at the CG, they are busy. Mine loved the bugs. Good luck. We normally drive 12+ hours a few time a year with our kids. So for them 7 hours is easy. I like to drive at night when everyone sleeps.
     
  4. JeepMama

    JeepMama New Member

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    We have driven to Vermont from Southeastern PA at least 2x a year since our boys were born. We have also driven with the boys to San Antonio, TX Here are some things that work for us.

    1. Drive at night so they can sleep, whenever possible
    2. Do stop and let them out to stretch their legs every couple of hours.
    3. Bring a new toy like a magna doodle or glow board so they can write or draw pictures.
    4. We have a Melissa & Doug wooden license plate game, and try to find all 50 states.
    5. We count 'red' or whatever colo rcars or Jeeps - usually stopping at 100. Or the I Spy game...
    6. If she is learning her letters and numbers, have her look for something that starts with the letter A(automobile), B(boat on trailer), C(cow in field), etc. Or find numbers on license plates or highway signs
    7. We also bring the DVD player and their favorite CD's.
    8. Lots of snacks and drinks, juice, water, crackers.
    9. I let each boy bring a small backpack filled with the toys they want to bring with them.
    10. bring her favorite blanket or plush animal, doll etc.

    Cracker Barrel has some inexpensive car games in their gift shop, like car bingo... might be too old for a 3 yr. old tho???

    Also, bring a bath towel, some wipes, febreeze, a change of clothes. Our guys went thru a horrible car sickness stage and let me tell you it was awful [V] [:(O]
    Good luck
     
  5. tsc

    tsc Member

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    Man, do I NOT miss those days. In the fair weather, we would bring along a cooler full of snacks. every two hours or so, pull over at a rest stop and have a small "picinic", run around with them, play tag or some other games to burn off some energy. Have a potty break and keep on trucking.

    I tend to stay away from buying toys, they will learn to "Expect" it and it's a hard habit to break. I would stay away from Wal-mart; think like 3 y/o. Walking around is not that fun, stopping at a fast food outlet for a "potti break" and letting them play on the climbers is much more exciting (and most times, the staff don't really care if you don't buy anything, so long as you don't over stay your welcome).

    Good luck
     
  6. redjacket

    redjacket In memory of Nick Dilal, Sr. 1931-2005

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    I pack tote bags for my three grandkiddos (11, 6 and 3) with items from the dollar store, things like puzzles, games, stickers, stamppads, etc. I also throw in some frozen juice boxes and crackers. It keeps them sorta busy for a few hours. Havn't traveled longer than 4 hours so far.
     
  7. carolinacampers

    carolinacampers Nights camped: 2008-10, 2009-25, 2010-6.

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    When ours were little, we tried to travel at night, whenever possible. We used all of the strategies already mentioned here. Don't forget the good old-fashioned coloring books, too.
    Another tip: we used to stop to eat at McDonald's or places that had the "playgrounds". We would let the kids play while we ate. Then, we'd get their dinner to-go and they would eat in the car as we resumed our drive. That way they got some exercise time and it also killed some "ride" time too.
    Funny, but after they quit traveling with us it was quite some time before we ate at those fast-food places again!
     
  8. Turkish

    Turkish I'd rather be camping!!!

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    Thanks all. Some great ideas. I guess we'll do our best and let the toys/books/dvd/McDonals w/playgrounds do the trick. :)
     
  9. Yooperwannabe

    Yooperwannabe Active Member

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    We utilize the rest areas along way, which often times have play equipment. Gives the little ones a chance to play for while, and everyone gets to stretch their legs.
     
  10. hahahamilton

    hahahamilton Member

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    We travel at night. There is no way my little guys 5 and 2 would sit for 7 hours and if we let them out of the car, it would be a challenge to get them back in. Makes for a long day but worth the sanity.
     
  11. RFryer

    RFryer Hopkinton, MA

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    When traveling at night what do you do about checking in and setting up before quiet hours?

    Our 3 year old is great in the car. The jury is still out on our 6 month old but so far she's been great on 2 hour drives.
     
  12. CarNutCass

    CarNutCass Put a little gravel in your travel

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    We'll be camping in Indiana next week and that's a five hour+ drive for us. All four of our little kids will be going with us and we'll be traveling by day. It's funny that we put almost as much energy into planning for the drive there and back as we do for all other aspects of the trip..lol.

    Our littlest is three and she requires the greatest amount of "entertainment". One of the things that I have found that works well, in addition to dvd's/cd's, is a Leapster. You can buy used Leapsters off Craigslist all day long for $25 and they are age-appropriate for a three year old. The games are educational too. Bonus!

    Another thing we do is play the pop-up game. I got it from someone on this forum. It's much like the slug-bug game but instead you watch for pop-ups being towed down the road. When you see one you try to be the first to declare "Pop-up, raise the roof!" while you move your hands toward the sky like your pushing the roof up. The kids love it.

    My favorite source of entertainment is super redneck but, whateva. I've taught my kids how to try to get the big rigs to honk. There's a million tractor trailers on the highway so the kids never get bored waiting for another to come along.
     
  13. jmcdtucson

    jmcdtucson New Member

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    I like the big rig idea.

    Good advice above. I'd ditto lots of stuff to draw with. Activity books, etc.
    Lots of fun, active stops.
    Plan on a 7 hour trip taking 10 :)
     
  14. cwolfman13

    cwolfman13 Active Member

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    I would definitely plan on the drive time taking longer. It's pretty difficult to "road warrior" when there's kiddos involved. If possible, you may want to split it up into a couple of shorter days....it's a sanity saver and in my experience, most kids can do 3-4 hours straight no problem.

    If that's not possible, then like others have said....plenty of stops along the way to let everyone stretch their legs. Many rest stops do have playground equipment. I'm personally not a fan of introducing the kiddos to McDonalds (probably inevitable eventually)....so I would see if you can find a park as you pass through a town where you intend to stop for a few....get the snacks/lunch/whatever out of the cooler and have a little picnic and let the kids play awhile. Like someone up thread said....a typical 7 hour drive could very well run you 10+ of true time.
     
  15. Turkish

    Turkish I'd rather be camping!!!

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    I think we are going to go with split-up drive time. We are heading to St. Louis,MO tomorrow afternoon, spend the night. Then go visit the zoo and childrens museum during the day on Friday (if the weather permits) and when she is tired and cranky, hit the road again and make it to Davenport,IA. Pretty excited. I'll stop by walmart on the way home and get some activity supplies. Thanks all for your ideas. :)
     
  16. cwolfman13

    cwolfman13 Active Member

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    I for one believe you have made an excellent decision and will more thouroughly enjoy your trip.
     

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