We all spend so much time in our cars with our children. We are running errands, daycare drop off, school car pool and many other activities. I personally commute to the city five days a week and spend roughly 10 hours in my car commuting to and from work, say no more right? Both of my children also spend around 10 hours in the car a week just for daycare drop off because my husband also commutes to another city but in the opposite direction. To keep the children entertained for these long journey’s I created individual bags o’ fun for each child. I know some parents use DVD players as a way to entertain children and that is fine, no judgment here, but I wanted to find other ways.
When I first started the Bag O’ Fun in the car my daughter was around 1, and I purchased the Eddie Bauer behind the seat organizer that had a little cooler. I liked it but as she grew she took up more room and so did the organizer (we still use this organizer in the other car). With two kids at different ages I needed something different. My solution was to make each of the children a little bag of fun that was specific to their age. During the summer I also packed a special bag that was in the trunk of each car that had bats, balls, golf clubs, books, markers, blankets, hats and other activities that the kids could enjoy if we were out and about and stopped somewhere unexpectedly.
I started using Hello Kitty bags my mother-in-law gave my children for a gift, I have recently upgraded the plastic bags to tote bags made by me…Your Organized Life!!! If you are interested in purchasing a tote bag, the bags can be purchased at Meshed Designs in Buffalo, MN http://www.facebook.com/#!/MeshedDesigns or http://mesheddesigns.blogspot.com/. You can also visit my Facebook page at Your Organized Life http://www.facebook.com/#!/YourOrganizedLife.
My daughter LOVES to read, color and do crafts so in her bag o’ fun she has books, color crayons, a pen, notebook, coloring book, flash cards, and two busy bags (I will touch on this later) and a pair of sunglasses.
My son pretty much loves everything so in his bag of fun he has trucks, a motorcycle, toddler flash cards, books – age appropriate, a busy bag and sun glasses.
Some important tips to remember:
1. Kids break crayons, so unless you want to pick up broken crayons in the car maybe pick up some colored pencils or the twist crayons (these crayons are in my daughters bag). NOTE: Back to School sales you can get these free or very cheap.
2. Flash cards, and decks of cards do end up all over the seat and floor, if you do not want them mixed up all time only put one set of cards in a bag (I just learned this lesson) it is easier for kids to put them back in the correct bag when there is only one set.
3. Use the time in the car to teach your children something, my daughter wants to read so badly that we are often spelling words in the car, singing songs to help her learn her sounds and how to sound out words. As working parents our time with our children is so short we need to soak up every minute we can.
4. Have your child/children pick up the bags before they get out of the car, I am more strict on this rule than my husband…..but we are working on that.
A GREAT way to keep children busy and learning is busy bags. I came across the busy bag idea several months ago and my children LOVE them. Check out Modern Parents Messy Kids blog http://www.modernparentsmessykids.com/2012/03/good-idea-busy-bag-swap.html for some great busy bag ideas. That is where I got my busy bag ideas.
Not only do I have busy bags in the car, I have a basket of them in the toy room so when I need 15-20 minutes to get supper ready, fold laundry or any of the other to do’s I grab the bags and the kids are entertained.
Get creative and use what you have, rotate toys and activities in the car so the children do not get bored. I just rotated toys last night.