Driving coast to coast with a toddler and no iPad

A long time dream came true!!!! We made a road trip from West to East coast in the US. It is not problematic to do it as a couple and I would say pretty easy. Having a child on board, especially a toddler of 16 months, requires adjustments to be made.

Our route (mostly highway 10): San Francisco, Los Angeles, Austin, Phoenix, Tucson, Houston, New Orleans, Tampa, St.Petersburg, Miami Beach with a final destination Key West.

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We considered the sleeping routine of our daughter, meaning most of the driving took place when she was sleeping. Yes, it was challenging in the beginning as there are lights everywhere(!!), we used sunshade to cover her and parked in shadow. Check your car seat if it has a reclining position, you might make a car seat drive more comfortable for your child.

We looked up pitstops for kids near to highways, there are many playgrounds spots, but even if you don`t find any, just keep an eye on fast food outdoor spots, some offer nice spaces for your toddler to stretch.

No iPad or other electronic device/toy was used to entertain our daughter during this road trip. We are proud to have done it. I am sure many one you have read the famous post about S. Jobs banning this from his kids.

She has plenty of time with iPad during her chats with family and then in time she will gradually learn how to use it.Our kid has plenty of time with iPad during her chats with family and then in time she will gradually learn how to use it.

So far we like to be low-tech parents and after this this trip I learned that at this stage our child does not really need any electronic toys and there are thousands of ways to make her smile and keep her busy.

All sorts of toys were used and many made along the way: feathers, ribbons, water bottles (with anything to make noise, or try shampoo) flowers/leaves we picked along the way, baby wipes, paper cups and plates, cloth pins, straws (you can fins all colors in the restaurants), turn magazine into a picture book, shaving foam, flashcards. All this free toys you can find on your way, just be imaginative!!

We only bought: memory game, aqua doodle, finger puppets (bear speaks Spanish, elk- English, Snowman-Russian), play doh,pom poms, we love singing together we already have a collection of CDs in the car (sing-a-long and educational). Check out this huge list of non- electronic entertainment for children.

Do ask for kids entertainment when you dine, almost all places have crayons and puzzles, we were also lucky we got free toys from hotel managers:)
As we were driving we looked up children’s museums across the country  and we made stops of 3-4 hours to enjoy the places.
As we were driving we looked at the map of any other attractions (museums
and even water fountains).We also practiced some yoga- touching nose with feet, lotus pose.
(photo credit: Agueda Sanfiz)
A big issue was food as sometimes there were no places to buy food that we liked. and our daughter started teething and became a bit picky. We modified our restaurant orders to fit her tastes. In restaurants we try to pick booth seats as our child does not seat in any baby chairs, order dishes one by one, choose restaurants with playground or garden.
We made it!!! We hope our experience will encourage you to travel more.