Last weekend, we took a relatively impromptu road trip up interstate 95 to Massachusetts. Luckily, my pre-trip anxiety was far greater than any real-time traveling frustration. {Shock!} In fact, the bug was pretty darn near perfect – – as well behaved as any almost-toddler can be strapped into a five point harness for hours on end. No, I’m not just saying that because I’m her mother and publishing this on a blog…

But her amenable behavior while restrained lead me to ask an important question: WHY?!? Not in a crazy, self-deprecating, demoralizing kind of way (who wants their 6+ hour road trip to be marred with tantrums?). But in a I-know-my-kid-never-sits-still-so-how-did-this-happen, pleasantly surprised kind of way.
Of course, this may just be a fluke and our next road trip could be devastatingly awful.
Or there could be a simpler answer: new toys.
{{Insert disclaimer: by no means did the makers of the products I’m about to share with you ask me to review their toys, provide said toys or pay any review premium. I just serendipitously selected their toys from a late-night Target run in the middle of a parental traveling anxiety meltdown.}}
Because we have several road trips planned this summer, I’m going with the new toy theory.

She’s an inquisitive kid (well, they all are really) and LOVES to figure out new things. So the night before our big adventure, I went out and bought her new toys to occupy her time in the car. Since these travel-friendly toys worked so well with Lila, I thought I’d share our favorites with you, too!

  • In-Car DVD Player: As an early birthday present to Lila, my parents bought us a portable, in-car DVD player with dual screens. I know there are debates about how much television your child should watch every day, but this was a real life saver. Although Lila didn’t “watch” it per se most of the time, it provided quiet background noise and she started car seat dancing anytime a song came on. We were very happy with the DVD player we chose! It was a Phillips 9″ widescreen dual monitor system. Easy to use and the dual screen was great.
  • The Princess and the Frog DVD: Lila LOVES music and we watched this movie foduring the first leg of our trip- – and it’s N’Orleans inspired music was fabulous for car seat rocking-out!
  • Fisher Price’s Lift the Flap Little People Let’s Go to the Zoo Book: Forty flaps to entertain your tike – – and zoo animals. Enough said.
  • B. One Two Squeeze Block Set: These squeaky blocks provided lots of fun. Set-up a basket and play car-seat basketball. They won’t hurt if you (or your tot!) unexpectedly graze a fellow passenger.
  • Tickle Me Elmo: Ok, so this toy wasn’t new and could only be used in meltdown prevention mode because, quite honestly, a steady-diet of Elmo laughter may drive one insane. But this funny guy was a sure crowd pleaser when stale-car air took its toll on morale.
  • Vtech Infant Learning Rhyme and Discover Book: My favorite new toy! Although the toy might induce adult ADD when you watch your tike play with it, Lila loved the song bites, lights, animal sounds, buttons and all its moving parts. And it has volume control.
So if you’re dreading an upcoming road trip, don’t! Your kids might shock you. And a few new toys in your bag-o-tricks probably would help!
Need more inspiration? Check out the aMuse Toy Blog series on toys for traveling with kids! They’ve got ideas for traveling with big kids, young children, and babies.
And if you’ve got experience with a travel-friendly toy, tell us about it!

Images are from and