Road Trip! 20 Ways to Keep Your Blind Child Entertained on a Long Car Drive

road trip tips for blind, visually impaired, special needs children Here’s some great information from Facebook friend Amber Bobnar who runs the WonderBaby.org website, a support and information site for parents of children who are visually impaired.

Road Trip Tips from Amber Bobner

How’s your child in the car? Some kids hate traveling and some have mixed feelings (I know one little girl who’s fine as long as the car is moving, but freaks out when it stops… her mom HATES stop lights!).

Road trip tips for special needs kids My son is good for about 30 minutes or so, but longer trips can be trying for him.

So when I got a question from a mom asking for advice about keeping her blind 2.5 year old son entertained in the car for a 10 hour trip, my first thought was, “Oh no! That’s way too long!”

But after posing the question to the WonderBaby Facebook page I was impressed with all the great advice.

Here are some of the answers:

  1. Try traveling at night if you can swing it. He’ll probably sleep for most of the trip.
  2. Plan for lots of snacks and forget about being nutritious if you can. Go for the good stuff! Use little throw away bowls and cups so it’s not a tragedy if they got lost or damaged.
  3. Tactile books with lots of textures.
  4. Maybe bring along the LeapFrog TAG Reading System. You just have to tap the hand held device on the page and it will read the story for you.
  5. Fill big tupperware food containers with sensory activities and switch out new ones every couple of hours. You can put anything in the containers. I like to fill them up with something like uncooked pasta and “hide” objects in them (zoo animals, shapes, letters, etc).
  6. Map out fun places to stop along the way so your son can get out and explore. Look for parks, children’s museums, etc on your route.
  7. We love the Disney Songs and Story series.
  8. We use Audio Hijack Pro to turn movies into audio files and let my son listen to them on the iPod.
  9. Load lots of music on your iPod. And don’t forget the car charger! road trip tips for special needs kids
  10. Get a good travel organizer and have lots of toys right next to your son’s carseat so he can grab them without any help.
  11. We like a made up game we call “Who’s My Character?” where we try to guess who the person is thinking of. Movie characters, TV characters, real people, sports players, etc.
  12. You can pick up books on CD for free at the library.
  13. Don’t forget to stay safe: Remember to put emergency contact info several places in the car (your purse, the glove box, the diaper bag); stay well hydrated and keep a caffeinated beverage to perk you up if you’re driving; stop and move around if you feel the least bit tired; bring a car charger for your cell phone; and give someone a trip plan so they know where you’ll be.
  14. Try a massaging mat (with a car adaptor) for him to sit on – it’s very soothing!
  15. How about a raised-line drawing board (it lets you create tactile images with a regular pen) and scented pens?
  16. We bought a travel tray that fits over our daughter’s car seat then added velcro to the tray. We added velcro to some of my daughter’s favorite tactile and noise-making toys and can stick them to her tray. Now she can play with them in the car and they don’t fall on the floor and get lost.
  17. Make some story boxes/bags to use with audio stories. You can pull out objects and toys that go with the story (find more story box ideas on the Paths to Literacy Pinterest board).
  18. The Maestro Classics series is fun. They play classical music and tell a story.
  19. Buy a bunch of new toys and place them in a bag. Bring out one new toy every hour so your son has something fun to look forward to!
  20. Sing a lot!

Bio: Amber Bobnar is mom to the sweetest and cutest little boy, Ivan. Ivan is seven years old and was born blind and multiply disabled. Ivan attends the Lower School at Perkins School for the Blind and Amber runs the WonderBaby.org website, a support and information site for parents of children who are visually impaired.

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