Sunday, July 29, 2012

Car trip entertainment - surprise bags

Two weeks ago we packed up the swagger wagon for a long drive to Vail, Colorado.

I found this idea on Pinterest and decided that since we were facing 15 hours in the car, I'd better have some creative ideas to keep everyone happy.  I also figured that we would spend close to $100 for a hotel room if we did it in two days, so I could spend some money for car entertainment.  The most expensive thing I bought was the movie, "Up" on iTunes so they could watch it on the iPad.  It was money well spent.  Everything else was either something we had at home or from Michaels.

Both Stella and Hudson ended up sleeping from Douglas to Cheyenne, so we had two bags that we didn't even open and saved for the return trip. 

Overall, I would rate this project as time well-spent.  The kids loved the excitement of getting something new every hour or so, and it gave me the peace-of-mind knowing that I was providing them with interesting entertainment.  I admit that they would have been completely happy watching shows on the iPad the whole 15 hours, but that wasn't what I wanted for this trip (the way home was a whole different story). 

Here's what was in each bag -

1 Big Timber, MT: Silly Putty
2 Hardin, MT: magnetic balls toy
3 Sheridan, WY: Fuzzoodles
4 Buffalo, WY: slip with note about special movie on iPad - "Up"
5 Casper, WY: pipe cleaners with animals from the toy box at home
6 Douglas, WY:  a Leapfrog game and the kids' iPod touch which they thought was lost :)
7 Wheatland, WY: shiny scratch paper
8 Cheyenne, WY: colored duct tape and scissors
9 Fort Collins, CO: key chain making kit
10 Denver, CO: pipe cleaners with beads for making bracelets, necklaces
11 Idaho Springs, CO: shiny scratch paper fashion dolls
12 Silverthorne, CO: glow bracelets

Here is the map with all the "landmarks" where they got to open another bag.  Thank you, Mr. Yost, for the beautiful rendition of these western states.

 The first bag, which they got as we cruised through Big Timer, MT at about 7:30 am, contained....Silly Putty!  This was by far the most popular of all the surprise bags.  I was glad they got it early because they kept pulling it out the rest of the day.
 I also bought them these lap desks from Michaels.  I'm not usually one to buy large plastic items, but I knew I didn't want them playing with Silly Putty without a solid surface.  They worked fairly well.  I think Hudson kept feeling like they kept him even more locked in place that he already was, so he kept wanting it down as soon as he was done playing. 
 Vivi didn't have any surprise bags because things usually only keep her attention for mere seconds before she tosses them over the side of her car seat.  I didn't feel like wasting a bunch of money or cluttering up the car with things she wasn't going to play with anyway.  What DID keep her attention was ziploc bags of food.  She LOVED having a bag of cheerios or raisins and picking them out one at a time.  We only had one instance where she got excited and shook the bag vigorously in the air and tossed cheerios from the front seat all the way to the back.

 Here is the map again taped onto the window in front of Stella's seat.  Since she can read, she was in charge of looking at the road signs and then crossing off the landmarks.
One of my car treats - breakfast cookies.  They are made with oatmeal, bananas, applesauce and whatever else you want to through in like craisins, raisins, nuts, etc.  Yum!

 Gotta love a sleeping baby!  She took two very good naps which certainly helped tame the craiziness factor.  

Towards the later part of the trip, I must have lost my enthusiasm for taking pictures.  However, here is a picture of a duct tape wallet that Stella made for Grandpa Pete the next morning.  She also made three little purse-type bags while we were in the car.  I think Hudson made a very impressive duct tape ball :)  


  1. You could sell all this as a kit for $200! It worked so well. I'm awfully lucky to be married to this genius.

  2. Nice blog, I truly like to reading your post. Thank you so much for taking the time to share such a nice information. I think you were enjoying your travel.

  3. No cassette deck. I have a CD player, but it doesn't work. I'd have to get it repaired but don't have any interest.
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