I’ve been asked several times how our family sets up tech in our van when we’re on long trips. We’ve come up with a pretty awesome solution that keeps the kids very happy for the long trips, without fighting, and without spending a fortune.
So what we’ve done is purchased Kindle Fire Tablets (http://amzn.to/2taMVqj) for each of our kids. The Kindle Fires are relatively inexpensive (around $50 a piece) particularly when compared with say Apple iPads ($250 – on the low end). It’s SO nice because each child has their own device and doesn’t have to cooperate with anyone else or watch what anyone else is watching. Oh, and did I mention that the device they have is not *my* device, so I can still navigate/listen to my book/play Pokemon Go? Everyone wins 🙂 We really like the kids cases that have the handles – they’re cheaper than the ones that Amazon manufactures, they’re more functional, and I think they protect the kindles better. We haven’t had any problems with damage to our kindles inside these cases – except when our kids have poured sticky things in the ports (you can only do so much right?). Here’s a link to one of the cases we’ve liked, but there are similar ones available through a lot of different sellers – http://amzn.to/2v9Ugrm
The Fire tablets don’t hold a ton of media on them (although you can upgrade with micro SD cards very easily), but what we’ve done is purchase a portable hard drive that also acts as a wi-fi hotspot within the car – like this one by Seagate Media that will hold up to 2 Terabytes of movies – http://amzn.to/2taIOdQ! We’ve put all of our movies on there and all the kids can access whatever movies/TV shows they want – and we don’t have to worry about whether they have *the* show they want already on their device. It is also great if the boys want to play Minecraft together – they can use the wi-fi to play local games together (they don’t have internet access obviously, but we don’t let them play online anyways).
We’ve also gotten these headphones for our kids and been happy with them – http://amzn.to/2t0YgxH . They’re comfortable and don’t have pieces on them that are easy to break. Plus the kids look super adorable with animal headbands 😉 I’m not convinced that the volume goes up as high as they really need to overpower the road noises, but my younger two haven’t complained yet so for now we’ll keep doing what we’re doing 😉
So, that’s how we keep our kids occupied on long car rides. We’ve set the rule in our household that the kids don’t get electronics for car rides that are under 30 minutes (you’d be surprised at just how many 29 minute car rides we’ve gone on 😉 ) and this whole set up was MUCH cheaper than installing a DVD player in our car – and we get a lot of use out of everything outside the car too! I hope someone finds this useful!