We always look forward to summer vacation with the family, and sometimes we even do the daring road trip, which is an undertaking in and of itself. Packing the car properly can be a total beast of a task, but it's keeping the kids entertained for hours that can be the biggest hurdle of all. "Are we there yet?", "I have to pee!", and "I'm bored!" seem to be the three battle cries of the young ones, making it distracting to drive safely. No amount of screaming back will help matters, but some strategically purchased distractions can. Here's some great gear to keep everyone happy in the car (including you). You can thank us later.
Amazon Fire 7 Tablet
You don't have to spend big money on an Apple iPad to keep the kiddos entranced for hours (maybe give them a break after a couple of hours and make them stare out the window). Amazon's own Fire 7 Tablet is affordable ($49.99), easy to use, and has a great 7" IPS display. You can also get 16 or 32 GB of internal storage and even add up to 512 GB with a microSD card that just clicks into the slot. Music, movies, games, and even Amazon Alexa will help the kids stay quiet while you enjoy the open road.
It's not easy to keep all of your child's drawing gear in a single, reachable location. This colorful seat organizer is just the ticket for hours of creativity on the road. It hooks up to the headrest, unzips with a hard platform ($29.98) which to draw/invent/scheme and also holds crayons, pencils, paper, and even has a tablet holder to slot in that Fire 7 tablet in. There's a built-in carry strap, a sturdy, zipper, and a secure buckle for fuss-free travel. It even looks like a little briefcase, so your tyke will feel pretty official toting it around with his wares.
Chalkola Fine Tip Glass Chalk Markers
We will never encourage our kids to write on the car, but we guess art on the inside glass is pretty benign, as long as we can still see. Here's a great solution that will really make the kids happy making their own graffiti on their windows. These 10 markers ($12.95) are made with liquid chalk and are also dustless, dry quickly, and are easy to wipe off. They're also odorless and non-toxic. Think of it. They may still keep quiet when they run out of paper. Maybe the next Mona Lisa will be slathered on the inside of your new SUV!
Basic Fun Handheld Electronic Football Game
When you tell your kids you used rotary phones and had no TV remote control, they think you're making stuff up. Now, you can prove to them that "old school" actually existed with this exact replica of Coleco Football ($12.15). The handheld football game looks, feels, and operates like the real deal. It's so simple and low-tech, your kids are going to flip out and think you're gonna make them ride a horse to school next. 3 AAA batteries are included, and the so are the eye-rolls and smiles that will come when they get into it. You'll smile when you see how inexpensive it is, and you'll definitely want one for yourself to bring back the memories.
Gamie 12-in-1 Magnetic Game Board
Bringing a slew of full-sized board games in a car is for idiots. You'll end up hunting for pieces in the dark and cursing the entertainment gods. Here's where the Gamie Magnetic game set ($17.97) comes into play (get it?). The 5"x5" board comes with Checkers, Chess, Chinese Checkers, Tic Tac Toe, Backgammon, Snakes & Ladders, Solitaire, NineMen’s Morris (we have no clue what this is), Auto Racing, Ludo, Space Venture and, Racing. Each game comes with printed, easy-to-understand instructions and its own magnetic pieces. Hell, they might even learn something new.
Lusso Gear Car Seat Organizer
Tired of handing your kids their stuff? We totally feel you. When we laid our eyes on this awesome storage box ($22.97), we started dreaming about less damage to our rotator cuff. Brilliantly designed with two levels of storage to make room for your kiddos' arms, this organizer can sit in between front-row occupants (with bench seats) or in the back rows. There are 9 compartments, including large cubbies, exterior pockets, and 4 cupholders. Just don't let them put the dog in there.
Fosmon Travel Pillow
When all else fails, there's always Mr. Sandman, who also goes on road trips. But bulky pillows take up too much space and don't work well to prevent the head leans and drool. This travel pillow ($19.99) might just be the best one we've seen with its removable and breathable mesh cover that you can toss in the wash. It also allows for just about all head positions with its multiple contours. It also rolls up and stows away in its own storage bag and comes in several colors.