Juggling the schedules of six kids requires a LOT of time in the car, schlepping them to and from various activities. Without a babysitter, I’m often required to take the entire crew along with me on various drop-off runs, or to watch games/practices/events.
Now back in the early days, I’d scramble to keep the little folks occupied on the fly, which occasionally resulted in a trainwreck of whining, fast-food overload, & moments when you thought you could keep your kids happily occupied while waiting in the car… but not so much.
This is what happens when you’ve been parked for 20 minutes & forget that you dropped an eyeliner pencil in the backseat a week ago. And when you forget that the kid figured out how to slip out of her car seat straps & find your eyeliner pencil…
You’re only as happy as your unhappiest kid… the crier behind me sums up the mood of that day.
There’s lot of advice on how to keep your kids occupied while on long road trips, but not as many suggestions when it comes to keeping them entertained & happy while hanging out at older sibling’s sports games, or in the car while waiting for a Girl Scout meeting to end.
Here are a few tried & true methods I use to keep my sanity intact (what’s left of it) while shepherding a bajillion kids around town.
1.IT’S ALL FUN & GAMES… (seriously. Games.)
I make sure I have lots of simple games on hand for my little guys. I purchased all of these at my very favorite store ever, Dollar Tree (cheap & easily replaceable!)
I have a variety of games based on age & attention span. These are quick games in case you need to shift gears ( literally, too- in case you need to get the car in gear & haul a$$ to the next drop-off/pick-up.
I keep the games in a flexible box which was also purchased at Dollar Tree:
This box is stowed in the trunk on days we’re not busy, but let’s face it, since that rarely happens these days, it can easily be popped on the floor & between seats while in use.
2. VERY CRAFTY…. (portable art supplies)
This is a simple binder filled with plastic pencil cases (all from- you guessed it! Dollar Tree!). If my kids don’t feel like playing with each other, they can occupy themselves by coloring.
3. ON THE SURFACE… (Firm surface for play)
My mom bought this for my son, & it’s been a huge help since. This is a car seat table, which provides kids with solid surface to lay out game materials. It has straps to attach it to a car seat, but since my kids are older, I keep just the table portion in my trunk for the kids to use while coloring or playing a game.
You can find this table on Amazon by clicking here.
4. FOOD, GLORIOUS FOOD… (let there be snacks)
It’s all fun & games until someone gets HANGRY (hungry & angry)! Our car runs tend to interfere with an ideal snack time or early dinner, so I always keep a small stash of snacks in the car. I don’t keep bottled water in the car during the warmer months, but a snack bin comes in handy when you’re running late getting home for dinner.
5. CLEAN UP, CLEAN UP, EVERYBODY EVERYWHERE…
I can’t control kid chaos, but I can at least control CRUMB chaos. Yes, I have a car vacuum. Lest you think that borders on OCD, I’ll point out that since I spend almost as much time in my car as I do my house, things can get messy really fast unless I stay on top of it. To that end, I have a car vaccum. Yup. Seriously.
I bought this vacuum on Amazon- it’s got great suction & plugs right into your car lighter (Note: Not an affiliate link; I’m just sharing it b/c it’s been a great tool).
It’s convenient, too, & is easily stored.
This vacuum can be purchased here.
6. ON THE GO (When on the move)
Although a lot of our time is spent in the car, these items can easily be hauled with me to keep my kiddos busy & happy. I use my old slim diaper bag to store this stuff with me. I also bring along my quick first-aid/care bag for sports-sideline cuts, bug bites, etc.
I’m not going to pretend that these tricks are fool-proof; my kids occasionally get just a cranky & restless as anyone else’s. But these methods have definitely helped to make excess time in the car more bearable… for ALL of us!© Copyright 2017 Six Pack Mom, All rights Reserved. Written For: Six Pack Mom