baby proof: road tripping.

August 3, 2015

baby proof: road trip | reading my tea leavesThe obvious is that city-babe Faye isn’t super used to travel by car. We don’t own a car, and we don’t even own our own car seat—though since Cait and family made the move west, we’ve taken out a longterm loan on the seat they used for O.

Suffice to say, experts we’re not. But that’s not stopping us from embarking on an 8+ hour trip with a 14-month-old.  Indeed, at the time of publishing, we’re actually already en route. That’s right. Right this very minute we’re likely already onto singing rounds of Row, Row, Row Your Boat.

In a shocking twist, in planning for this roadtrip, I wanted to make sure that we didn’t lug an entire playroom’s worth of toys along with us. Not that we have a playroom, but you catch my drift. Ultimately I decided to pack a few trusty toys that we know usually engage Faye for a good minute or two and to add a few newbies for the novelty factor. I’m packing everything into a small tote that I’m hopeful will help keep us at least a little organized.

Here’s what we filled it with:
baby proof: road trip | reading my tea leaves

  • Noise-maker: We packed Faye’s extremely quiet and not at all headache-producing jingle bell rattler because it usually is good for some enthusiastic music making. Headaches aside, if you ask me, jingle bells are still superior to screams.
  • Sensory bag: Faye’s still maybe a little young for sensory bags in the traditional sense, but I riffed on the idea and filled a little pouch with treats for Faye to explore. Some of them are old standbys and others are brand new and hopefully exciting to tiny hands. I included her egg rattle, her hairbrush, a tiny pouch with two wooden dolls, a wooden bird call, a square of cloth and clothespins with colorful ribbons for her to play with, a paper tube for using as a periscope, dropping things into, and generally horsing around with, and sheet of ribbed paper which she’ll probably quickly devour but which I’m hopeful she’ll delight in for at least a mile or two.
  • Felt balls: I strung a bunch of brighly colored wool pompoms on a bit of embroidery thread for Faye to play with. She’s still in a rear-facing car seat, so I hopeful they’ll be something fun to play with strung from the headrest.
  • Magnetic blocks: When we stopped into the Patagonia store before our trip, they had a huge set of magnetic wooden blocks that Faye loved. I stopped into our local toy shop and bought a tiny set as a special treat. 

We read several books before bed each night so in trying to keep at least a semblance of normalcy, I packed a few favorites. We also stopped at the library for a few new ones. I don’t plan on sitting in the backseat during the ride, but if the going get’s tough here’s hoping a few new books might do the trick.
baby proof: road trip | reading my tea leaves Music
The rental car that Silvercar was kind enough to hook us up with for this trip comes equipped with wi-fi and satellite radio so we’re going to take advantage of some serious Pandora streaming. No doubt there will be much singing. Wheels on the Bus, take 45.

I’m hoping we can pass at least some time with festive food options. We’re prepared with snacks of blueberries, cucumber sticks, and halved grapes to sink a ship. (As a sidenote: I also packed Faye’s tiny knife, spoon, cup, and bowl, for this trip. They’ve been giving us all kinds of mileage lately while I make dinner and I’m hopeful she’ll be as interested in using them on the road.)

baby proof: road trip | reading my tea leaves

Any tips for us? There’s always the return trip, so don’t hold back!

You Might Also Like


  • Reply Jessica August 3, 2015 at 1:44 pm

    Do you own the Charley Harper book, or is that from the library? We LOVE Charley Harper in this house…I need to get that for my kiddos!

  • Reply Robin Cox August 3, 2015 at 1:47 pm

    We took a long road trip with my son when he was 15 months. There were a few major tantrums, but overall he actually did way better than expected. Something about car rides tends to be naturally soothing for the little ones. One word of advice: try to wear her out before you get in the car. We made my son walk around every rest stop and campground until he would sit down in the middle of the sidewalk because he was tired of walking. Spend a little extra time at your stops to let her get all her wiggles out and by the time you get back in the car she'll be ready for a break– and hopefully a nap! Sounds like you guys are very well-prepared though, and I'm sure you'll figure out your own tricks along the way. Good luck and bon voyage!

  • Reply Cynthia August 3, 2015 at 2:30 pm

    Put a few blueberries or grapes in a small zip-lock bag. Show her how the zip works. Chances are, she will be so enamored with the zip and her power that she will open and close the bag for each little item. It takes a lot of time to eat a snack this way and she is entertained and independent!

    • Reply joan August 3, 2015 at 3:57 pm

      Great idea!…. if someone is sitting in the back with her. Plastic in tiny hands and mouths would definitely scare me.
      YouTube has some great nursery rhymes….. wheels on the bus is one my grandson loves.

  • Reply M. Smith August 3, 2015 at 2:40 pm

    I'm not sure what the clothespin-looking objects with ribbon are, but they don't look safe for a car ride. If you have to stop suddenly, she could poke them in her eye. So said the ophthalmologist's daughter!

  • Reply Kim B. August 3, 2015 at 4:26 pm

    those blocks are gorgeous. I hope you're having a great time on your trip!

  • Reply Thatsace August 4, 2015 at 5:03 am

    A tiny mirror always works for us. On a separate note, where did you get the lovely zip pouch?

  • Reply thefolia August 4, 2015 at 8:39 am

    A mirror…she can see herself as well at the driver! Happy trails!

  • Reply Nancy Cavillones August 4, 2015 at 3:18 pm

    Nothing to do with things and maybe a little obvious: be flexible and be willing to pull over if need be. Throw your ETA out the window and you'll be more relaxed. I'm lucky that my kids usually sleep during car rides but for the longer ones to Cape Cod or Maine, we plan a lunch stop, at least.

  • Reply yasmara August 4, 2015 at 3:54 pm

    Hold something back to be "new" for the trip home.

  • Reply Thistlewildfire August 5, 2015 at 2:53 am

    Oh these are some great tips! By the way where is that cute doll in the tote from?

  • Reply denovojournal August 5, 2015 at 12:14 pm

    Can I ask where you found that adorable little (waldorf?) doll? So cute.

  • Reply Thistlewildfire August 8, 2015 at 4:58 pm

    These are some great tips as my husband and I plan to take our first major vacation with our little girl. By the way where is that cute little doll in the tote from?

  • Reply Helen C. August 11, 2015 at 4:11 am

    wrapping toys- even old ones- in a few layers of tissue paper was GOLD for us up until about 3 years old. I would grab wrapping wherever I could find it- I hate to buy it- right before I traveled last I was at a baby shower and just snagged a few pieces on the way out. The layers are so fun for the little one, all the pieces of paper can be disposed of (as opposed to buying lots of new toys that become treasures) and the toy on the inside becomes fun a new again. We also wrapped the new things. Now that my daughter is 3.5 we found a small container with three spaces (like a pill container but bigger) and it's how I do her snacks. A few raisins, a few bunny crackers, a few pieces of popcorn, each in their own little compartment… she is in HEAVEN. By about 2.5, anything that makes the snack interactive allows it to serve as both a snack and a toy. We find Annie's Animal crackers a fun treat for the road. Many stories are told about those little animals before they are consumed.

  • Reply Steph November 2, 2015 at 4:51 pm

    Wondering if you’d please share the source where you found that sweet white doll? Searching for a simple, sweet doll just like that for a baby on the way. I’d be so appreciative if you’re able to take a moment to share.

    • Reply Erin Boyle November 2, 2015 at 5:33 pm

      It’s a Nanchen doll!

  • Reply Steph November 2, 2015 at 8:21 pm

    Thank you Erin! That was what I suspected. I just haven’t been able to find a white baby style Waldorf doll like that anywhere. I’ll keep searching I suppose.

  • Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

    Comments are moderated.