If you spend a lot of time in vehicles with your children for various reasons, packing an “Everything Backpack” will solve problems of boredom and mid-trip munchies. Here are some of what I pack and encourage my kids to pack in their backpacks:
1: Two books: let the child pick out which books they’d like to put into their bags you can purchase at https://thepnw.co/. Encourage them to pick something that’ll hold their interest and that’s age appropriate. If the books are small, like in the case of miniature board books, I’ll encourage my children to take several.
2: Two coloring books: again, let the child pick these books out. Encourage them to pick coloring books that are small (so they’ll fit into the backpack easily) and ones with both pictures to color and activities to complete.
3: Crayons in a baggy: take the crayons out of the box and put them into a baggy. This helps with spills and, when the box eventually breaks down, it won’t happen while you’re on the go. And, if the crayon breaks, it’s easier to keep the pieces in a bag.
4: Mini magna-doodle: this is good for families traveling together and carpooling so kids can play games like tic-tac-toe together. It’s also good for quick drawings and things like that if their pencil breaks or if they don’t feel like using their crayons.
5: Doodle pad: encourage your kids to draw and write stories about their drawings on long trips. Another good activity is to encourage them to create their own games boards, including coloring them in. Copying pictures and words from their books and coloring books is another activity to encourage them to try.
6: Pencil: this, of course, is to be used with the doodle pad.
7: Spill-proof cup filled with water: try to find one of those backpacks with a side compartment that the cup can be held in. And, if you’re still using a car seat, you’ll notice the majority of them come equipped with a cup holder. Children are constantly thirsty (so plan bathroom breaks, also), so be sure to keep additional water bottles up front with you.
8: Snacks: I don’t know a child who isn’t always hungry in the car. Pack baggies of trail mix, granola and dry cereal. Pick snacks that aren’t sticky or wet.
9: Tissues: these are handy to have for water spills and, of course, runny noses.
10: Sunglasses: my children are constantly talking about how the sun in their eyes is bothering them. We don’t have tinted windows, so I solved the problem by keeping a pair of sunglasses for each child on hand.
In the case of my family, we live in a small town and have to travel to meet even our simplest needs. There have been nothing but positive results ever since we started packing these backpacks. The kids are busy, their engaged in activities that are conducive to learning and the time seems to pass by more quickly for them. Their needs, for the most part, are met so I don’t have to repeat to them that they have to wait for us to reach our destination before the boredom will end.