We drove to Disneyland recently and I copied my childhood memory of my family’s one and only trip to Disneyland. Now this was in the days before car DVDs and iPods, so my mom wrapped presents for us to open on the road every hour or two to help pass the time. I thought she was a genius then, and now I do the same thing for my kids on long car rides because I enjoyed it so much. Here is what I wrapped up this trip:
Window Markers (A hit with the kids! Not so much with dad; they are a pain to clean up)
Books on CD (From the library)
Pez Candy & Dispensers
Crackers and Easy Cheese
Red Box Gift Certificate (You can rent the movie in one town and return it in another)
Activity Books / Workbooks
ABC Game (Just wrote “ABC Game” on an index card and put it in an envelope to open)
Mad Libs (Still laughing about our favorite Mad Lib line of the trip: “Dearest Elle: I hope you know how proud I am of what pointy young mountains you have …”)
Wrapping gifts doesn’t need to be an extra burden on an already stressful time. You can wrap up the snacks and activities that you were planning on bringing anyway. And although matching Disney wrapping paper would have made a cuter post, just use scrap paper you already have. Gift bags and paper sacks are easy and quick too.
I also keep a laundry basket on a shelf all year long where I stash stuff that I find throughout the year for travel. Target dollar bins, particularly at the beginning of the school year, are a jackpot! Then I am not scrambling or stressed trying to find stuff the week before a trip.
Sometimes the kids wanted to open the next present right away, but I spaced the presents out over the trip there and back. I learned it is okay for them to be bored, to have lapses of time with no activity, and time to self-entertain. If mom is always the creative one with the next idea when will the kids cultivate their own creativity?
Hope you have fun with this idea! We sure did!