Some Amazingly Simple Distractions to Keep a Toddler Occupied on a Long Trip

toddler on road trip
Photo by FamVeld/shutterstock

A Mommybites reader asked:

What are some great traveling ideas for keeping a toddler occupied on a plane or car trip?

How to Distract a Toddler on a Long Trip

Expert: Marsha Greenberg
Traveling with a toddler can be tough if it is a long trip but here are some ideas to help:

  • Bring masking tape. Let your toddler unroll it, stick it on the seat in front of you or the car window. Wad it into balls and let them throw them around: it’s great fun! If you are flying you can also use the airplane tray and help your toddler make tape tracks to use with some special toy cars you bring out just for this occasion.
  • An empty oatmeal box is a great cave for little animals: play peek a boo, where is the squirrel, or tell a story where the animals hide. Cut out a small door for more interest, especially with an older toddler.
  • Put some clear contact paper on the window and hand your toddler a bag of pom poms in mixed sizes. They will be able to stick them up and pull them down over and over-they can even throw them against the contact paper and they should stick.
  • Bring along a puppet, use the puppet to be silly, sneeze or hide. Or if you are on an airplane take your toddler and puppet on a walk. Let the puppet look for something, maybe an elephant or dog. Toddlers love these imaginary games.


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Marsha Greenberg M.S., M.S. W
Marsha GreenbergMarsha is a therapist in New York City. She is the author of the newly released book, Raising Your Toddler, by Globe Pequot Press. She has masters degrees in Child and Family Development and Social Work from the University of Michigan. As the Director of the Health Systems Child Care Program for over 14 years, she was responsible for over 250 children between the ages of 6 weeks and 6 years of age. Marsha teaches in the Early Childhood Special Education department at NYU and has a private psychotherapy practice in NYC. Marsha is the mother of three grown sons and has three grandsons (aged 4 and 18 months and 4 months) with a new grandchild on the way.

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