The Ultimate Car Toy

July 15th, 2012

Traveling to my home town for our Week of Summer Grandparental Fun required spending eight hours in the car with the kiddos.  Each way.  Now, to some veteran traveling families this might not seem like a lot.  I have  a friend who drove from her home in Texas to the Outer Banks with an infant in the car.   I love her dearly.  And I believe she may be slightly insane.

In any case, I agonized for many hours over how best to entertain my children in the car.  I polled my friends, read some mommy blogs, and packed about a zillion games and activities.

I needn’t have bothered.  The only thing I needed to pack was a mountain of stickers.

Yup, stickers.

Both my kids were entertained for the longest period of time by playing with stickers.   Miss Mouse is old enough to wield them by herself and created elaborate Disney Princess collages by sticking as many stickers onto a piece of paper as she could.   Then she’d switch gears and go through an abstract phase where she would color a very small section of a color book page, stick on a single sticker, rip the page out, and present it to me for admiration.

Buggie was more methodical.  He took his time with each sticker, applying it carefully to a piece of junk mail.  (A sheet of paper proved too flimsy for his burgeoning hand-eye coordination.)

There are two great things about stickers as a car activity.  Number one: it’s self-consuming.  You can use up all the stickers and the paper and then recycle the lot of it.  Buying a lot of new toys or games means that after the trip, you’re stuck with a bunch of “stuff” you don’t need or want.

Number two: it’s inexpensive.  Or it can be if you buy your stickers at the right places.  You have to avoid scrapbook stickers at all costs because they’re pricey.  Stupidly pricey.  The dollar store, on the other hand, tends to stock decent stickers at reasonable prices.  The best place of all, though, is probably Michael’s (the craft store).  They sell sticker booklets intended as teacher incentives and you can get upwards of 350 stickers for $1.  Particularly for the younger, less discerning artists (like Buggie), these are ideal.  He honestly didn’t care what was on the sticker.

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