How can I keep a toddler entertained on a long car ride?

I am leaving Tuesday for an 18 hr car ride. My son is a little over 2.5 years old. 1. He has a kids fire (that we never use), so I need app ideas to keep him entertained. (We have Disney, and Netflix, so will be downloading some movies and shows) 2… Any fun activities for in the car? I thought about bringing a dry erase board. And a coloring book. But that’s it.


Games! My son is the same age with a tablet and he loves to play his games!
Elmo 123s
PBS kids games

Download a coloring app. That way he doesn’t draw all over. My kids napped a lot. Bring some favorite toys. Make sure you make stops so he can stretch out.

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Get the Melissa & Doug water wow books! My toddlers love them!


Maybe get a big cookie sheet or something else with edges that he could drive some hot wheels on without the toys sliding off.

Dvd player for back seat

Snacks every of the snacks… dont forget extra snacks… and Tablet or portable DVD player

Leave early will sleep then after let him run around stretch. Eat play whatever nap eat sleep

I took my kids on a 10 hour ride when they were 1 and 3. They each had their fire but barely used it. They were busy looking out the window or sleeping. We also stopped a few times to let them run and play at rest stops.

They had crayons, but wound up dropping them and got mad when told the crayons were staying on the seat or floor because I couldn’t reach them.

Snacks!!! Cook sippy cup! A grabber my little one had a lot of fun with this and helps pick up anything dropped. Picnic! So when you stop and let him run you can make food fun too.

Window clings for the window. Cocomelon on Netflix. Color wonder markers/coloring book. Etch a sketch. We make a similar drive every year from Ohio to Texas and my daughter is 2.5 too

I would definitely download movies from Disney Plus. My daughter also has a kids laptop that she uses - It’s by leap frog (I think) and is great for helping her learn letter, numbers, and animals.

I also bring books because my daughter reads a lot. I’d stay away from coloring books/dry erase boards because that may create a mess. Stop whenever possible to allow him to stretch his legs as much as possible.

Some good games are apps by Toca Boca and Dr. Panda.

Something that helps my toddler on long car rides is the Disney soundtrack we have. I bought it on Amazon for $9.00 and it has tons of classic Disney songs. She like to listen sing and eventually falls asleep.

Don’t forget window screen to block the sun if its sunny when travelling.

Cookie sheet and magnets … abcs numbers any kind of magnets


The thought of a 18 hour car drive makes me feel physically sick, I get terrible car sickness, maybe pack some empty bags just incase🤢

I bought a portable DVD player.

We took my grandson 2 1/2 on a trip like that. Make sure you keep the tablet and DVD player charged. He had meltdowns on that one. Also he liked looking for animals, mostly cows. Lol. Rest stops for play, picnic food. We were in the car for almost 12 hours, he did pretty good.

Some fave books or photo books with people he can identify, grandparents, mom, dad, pets, aunts, uncles, babysitters…easy play toys… dinosaurs, small stuffed animals

Everything you can think of and mainly snacks food to keep him Calm and he’s tummy full .

Melissa and Doug water wow books, portable dvd player, books.

One trick a friend told me was to let the kids play when you stopped to eat, then bring their food with you to go and have them eat in the car, so they can burn off energy the whole time you’re eating.

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Look into Amazon free time. It’s amazing! I think it’s $3/month and there are hundreds of apps, videos and books. You choose the age range.

I always let my kid pack a small bag with 3-5 toys or stuffed animals. They got excited to pack it themselves.
iheart radio Rafi or Disney songs to sing. Play I spy. And BREATH! Making Memories is the Best Part.

When I moved from Cali to Colorado with my then 2 n 1 year I made it a habit to try and stop at playgrounds and rest stops a lot to burn off energy. Helps with nap time. I was surprised how much of the trip my kids slept.

We love our RV kids apps!

My friend took a road trip with 2 kids three provinces over, was a three day trip…and it was puke fest all of a sudden and they only had wipes to clean up the whole mess…

Melissa and Doug water wow books are great!

Movies, lots of snacks, and new activities like invisible marker pads, sticker books, magnet boards. We drove 12 hours with a 3 and 7 year old. Really the snacks and movies were all they needed.

When ours were little I used to pack a bag for each kid with surprises that they got every so often, new color book, matchbox cars, reading books, other small toys he likes, stuffed animal

Plan on sitting in the back with him, that will help a lot.

I picked up a bunch of dollar store toys and he got 1 new one each time we had to stop for gas/bathroom/food. Worked great!

If you can plan around sleeping also if you can don’t stop when he’s sleeping keep driving made hubby wait to pee until our son woke up :joy: stop if he gets restless/anxious not worth the crying. Tablet and books will help. Find good rest areas room to run. Snacks.

Make a sensory bag before you go. Take a sealable clear plastic bag. Fill it with aloe gel, or any kind of clear gel. Put in a bunch of his favourite things, dinosaurs, alphabet, his favourite glitter colour, anything. He can squish the bag around, feel the toys inside, it will keep his mind and senses busy. You can also do this with a bag of rice and he has to find the things in it (like 3 dinosaurs, the letters of their names, etc).
Be careful with movies, motionsickness in kids is brutal

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Any electronic will help. Snacks bring plenty of them. You can do sing a Longs. Yes dry erase boards. Flash cards. Count the trucks or try to get them to beep. Good luck. I hope your toddler sleeps a lot.

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Pillow, blanket, bag of toys in the seat that he can reach. Games & movies is great too. Snacks & breaks to let him walk around when you can! I would also drive at night when I could so they would sleep. Put them in pajamas before we left the house :blush:

Give the semi’s the honking signal. My son loved when they would honk at him!
Lots of snacks! Blankets, pillows so he can rest comfortably in his car seat.

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I would say download different movies different series of cartoons have snacks have plenty of drinks. And if your potty training take a potty with you in the car. Toys, kid music

My daughter loves the toca Boca games. They have so many on the Amazon tablet.

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Snacks and I always have so much fun sitting in the back with them drawing or playing games on a dry erase board. The best part is when we can snuggle and enjoy a nap together.

Breaks, snacks, drinks, pillow for his head so it’s not swinging when he sleeps. Games you can verbally play while driving like look for something red.

Metal cookie sheet with sides, and various magnets(abc’s -123’s - shapes - etc) walmart or dollar store or craft store have different choices


Small toys that he can open —like dollar store ones … snacks — lots of them … new books … color magic — they only color on the page … frequent breaks to let him get out and run around …

Kidoodle TV. It’s pre-screened shows for kids. My sun loves Sunny Bunnies

Rather than a white board we use one of those LED boards. Just as cheap and no risk of markers all over the backseat.

Snacks, snacks and more snacks extra electronic chargers and Try to find a few parks along the way to have picnics and let the kids play and get some energy out.

We used to have a 12 hour drive to see family and we would leave after supper and drive through the night so they would sleep most of the drive


I sang nursery rhymes with my girls.

Book on CD! Kids songs.

are you driving or is someone else driving? If someone else is t=driving, you can help entertain your child

Leave super early so they sleep when it is dark. By the time they wake up it will be breakfast.

Stop for breaks and let the child stretch the legs and arms . maybe play simon says jump up and down

What about an Etch A Sketch

What about getting a dvd player for movies

He’s 2. Tell him to look out the window.

Little toys that come out for something new here and there. Changing things up.

Unless it’s the middle of the night. Let him walk with you when you stop for gas. The need a good stretch too. Don’t leave the container of crayons in the sunshine. (Made that mistake once) a backpack or storage container with some favorite toys

A dry erase board, lap tray, blanket and pillow for car, cootie bug game, car sick bag, reading light

Definitely try to do most of the driving at night… if possible. Both my boys loved the dry erase boards. And lots of snacks/drinks where you can reach them. :two_hearts:

Stop often. They get sore from sitting in their seat too long.even if you dont get out of your car, its a chance to move around. If your by yourself,stay safe and always be aware of people and surrounding. If your 6th sense says no,then dont!!! Advice from one who once traveled a lot.

My 2.5-year-old granddaughter loves her Magnadoodle board. The dry erase board is good but there is potential for ink getting on upholstery. We’ve found Color Wonder (markers only mark on the special paper - found at Walmart) and Melissa & Doug Color-Reveal No-Mess coloring pads (ordered on-line from Five Below and received within a couple of days/less expensive than Color Wonder) to be perfect for mess-free coloring. Also, she loves to listen to CD’s with children’s songs (100 Sing-Along-Songs for Kids from is one 3-CD pack that she likes). Many of the songs have actually helped teach her ABC’s, counting, colors, etc…

My 3-year-old loves YouTube kids. He enjoys watching other kids doing things.

The larger legos for him and if he needs a table use a cheap dollar store pan.

My kids loved Balloon Pop at that age. Also a drawing/doodle game.

Get an ice cube tray and put different treats in each cube. Eating = quiet child lol

My daughter like the show little baby bum on netflix and it keeps her watching for hours and its very educational

Lots of snacks and little toys!!

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Schedule frequent stops. Like at least every 2 hours

And leave in the evening so he will sleep the bulk of the drive


A pair of headphones for you :joy:

Personally I wouldn’t use electrics, especially if he’s not used to them (which is awesome btw!!!) Could make him car sick. Toys, magnets, coloring pages, just staring out the window. Make sure you stop a lot and play, it’ll keep him tuckered out.

I saw this thing where you take a cookie sheet and paint it with chalkboard paint and they can used chalk and magnets on it. (That way they can draw and not get all over your car)

I would take the tablet, but just as a last resort. I hate my children glued to them, it makes them more prone to outbursts.