Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Great DVDs for Road Trips with Young Kids

This summer we've had a couple road trips and it's clear that my kids (1, 3, and just-turned 6) can tolerate a long road trip in the car with the joy of the DVD player built into our minivan. It's almost genius.

Our trip this past week ended up being about 13 hours each way, and the kids were awesome, largely thanks to the car entertainment. My two oldest especially enjoy a DVD on a road trip.

Some elements that make up good car trip DVDs in our family this summer have been.

TV shows (instead of feature length movies): My experience with my kids has been that what holds there attention and interest best on a trip is DVD's of kids TV shows, rather than feature length kids films. The TV shows are often probably more age-appropriate and also a 15-30 minute episode followed back-to-back by another seems to flow nicely, and many times these DVDs pack the punch with some considerable length (a kids movie might be 70 minutes, but a disk of shows in some cases last over three hours)

Shows they have never seen or seen very little of: If my kids watch TV it is typically going to be something that is part of the PBS kids lineup (Curious George, Super Why, Peg + Cat, Thomas & Friends). But for road trips we've had great success when it's a show they've never seen before. It's guaranteed to be episodes they've seen before and it's special.

Non-Gender Defined Shows: My oldest is a girl who loves Angelina Ballerina, and my three-year-old boy loves Thomas the Train. But I try to avoid anything that screams "that's a girl show" or "that's a boy show" because I want them both happy and don't want to have to go through any type of back and forth on choices.

No Choices - It's Always A Surprise: Because the shows are often things they haven't seen before - I like to bring the element of surprise. When we put in a movie they're curious about what it will be and it makes everything seem like a treat. Similarly I avoid letting them see the movies before hand. The movies are out of sight until my wife or I press play.

Below is a list of favorite DVDs from car trips this summer.

Our 10 Favorite DVDs for Car Trips This Summer:

• Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood: Life's Little Lessons
Franklin: Reading Club
Maya & Miguel: Funny Fix-ups
Little Bear: Rainy Day Tales
Magic School Bus: In a Pickle
Justin Time: Amazing Adventures
Max & Ruby: BunnyTales
Little Einsteins Flight of the Instrument Fairies
Timothy Goes To School: The Great Race
Wild Kratts: Lost At Sea

**Feel free to share some of your favorite DVD finds for car road trips in the comments, and include your child(ren)s age(s) as well.**