How do you keep your 1-year-old entertained during road trips?

We recently went on a spur-of-the-moment road trip to Malacca.

Raeann’s first road trip was to Kuala Lumpur last year. It was a breeze because she was only three to four months old then so she slept almost throughout the entire journey.

This time round, it was a bit more challenging! Our worse road trip nightmare would be if Raeann started crying or fussing uncontrollably during the drive up because that would probably have sucked all the joy and fun out of the trip for her and for us too. I tried to plan how I would keep her occupied for the two to three hour long journey both ways.

Behold, my friends, the Portable Road Trip Entertainment System!

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Just a nondescript tote bag it is not… within it lies a full suite of features and gadgets to keep your child captivated for the duration of your journey. 🙂 Like Doraemon’s magical pocket!

Hahaha.. dramatics aside, I tried to prevent her from looking inside the bag so that I could take out something new to surprise her whenever she started to get bored or restless.

Here’s what I packed:

Hand Puppets

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Raeann was delighted when Mr. Snowy suddenly popped up beside her and told her stories, sang songs and played peek-a-boo with her.

Small Toys

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I packed a few small toys which I made sure to let her play with one at time to stretch out her playing time and keep her occupied longer. These included a slinky, a Duplo door and figurine and a castanet.


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I like to cut a bunch of bubble tea straws and normal drinking straws in half (snip of the pointed edge too), store them in a ziploc bag and chuck them into my handbag whenever we go out. They keep her occupied for a much longer than regular toys. She likes to stick her finger tips into the two sides of the straw, blow through them, put a drinking straw through a bubble tea straw and watch it fall through and most of all to chew on them.

Lots and Lots of Snacks

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A hungry kid is a cranky kid so I made sure to pack lots of different kinds of snacks. Some of the things Raeann ate include a chicken pie, biscuits, cereal puffs and cake. I packed a lot of water too.

Tip: On the way back to Singapore, we always like to go for a drive-in car wash and get them to vacuum the inside of the car.


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You can play peek-a-boo with pretty much anything but in our case, we used an old muslin nappy. This is a surefire way to get Raeann to squeal in delight.

Her Favourite Music


If you are anything like me, you do not want to spend three whole hours listening and singing along to ‘Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star’ and ‘If you’re happy and you know it’. Hence, the CD with your child’s favourite songs should only to be played when you’re almost reaching your destination. Raeann is fond of songs with actions.

Reading Material 

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I love reading so it always gives me a buzz to see Raeann enjoying a book. For the road trip, I picked a few lift-the-flap books because they are more interactive and also books with pictures of things she likes (pets and other babies!). I used the term ‘reading material’ above because Raeann spent a really long time looking at a pamphlet from our recent visit to the Jurong Bird Park.

Her Favourite Plush Toy

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This was the ace up my sleeve, in case all else failed. I tried to bring it out with as much fanfare as I could muster, covering it with a cloth and whipping it off with dramatic flourish and a loud, “Ta Daa!”

We have never brought her dog out before, so Raeann was really surprised and happy to see it and cuddle it and bite its nose.


I’m glad to report that we enjoyed ourselves on the road trip and managed to get through it without any major outbursts. I didn’t pack anything out of the ordinary but I hope that it gives you some ideas for your next family road trip.

When Raeann is older, I intend to pack drawing/colouring materials as well as some puzzles for our road trips.

Do let me know if you have any good ideas for keeping the kiddies busy on road trips!


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