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Tis the season to start planning holiday road trips. You can avoid long hours behind the wheel by booking bus tickets and leaving the driving to someone else. Recently, my family and I traveled from Pittsburgh to Manhattan aboard a Megabus. The trip to New York was a breeze–or should I say snooze. The kids fell asleep before we even left the zip code.  But on the way back, I had to get a bit creative and keep my two-year-old busy. Toys, cartoons and coloring books didn’t keep her attention for as long as I had hoped.  So, along the way, I brainstormed five ways to entertain a toddler during holiday road trips.


Despite the falling temps, my daughter and I visit the zoo regularly. We talk about the different animals and mimic the silly sounds. When we’re not at the popular attraction, we play pretend and make up a game called Peek-a-Moo. It’s pretty simple. Just swap out the traditional game Peek-a-Boo and replace the ending with an animal sound. We cover our eyes and call out, Peek-a-Baaa, Peek-a-Squeak, Peak-a-Roar and much more!

Story Time Tag

Often, I must sit on my suitcase to zip it shut, so I can’t pack all of  my daughter’s favorite books. Thankfully, we typically travel with my 8 and 11-year-old nephews, and they keep Caitlynn entertained by telling her stories. Like the game of tag, we take turns telling the tale, and then tag someone to take over. We ask Caitlynn questions to allow her an opportunity to be a full participant.

Candy Count

What’s a road trip without candy? This game makes snack time learning time. Have your toddler count to ten, forward and backward. Teach him to count even and odd numbers. And throw in a lesson on subtraction by eating the sweet treats!

Panoramic Peek

Megabus offers customers choice seating with a panoramic view. Play a twist of ‘I Spy’ and look for certain colors, count trucks or hunt for horses.


Use an old cookie sheet and a set of magnets. You can put the magnets in a Ziploc bag. Practice counting, saying the alphabet or spelling your child’s name. The cookie sheet can double as a tray for older kids to play card games.

Hey DFTM Fam–How do you keep your little one occupied on a bus trip? Have you made up any fun games to pass the time?

About The Author

Vlog Mom/DFTM Creator

Not long ago, Heather Hopson hosted a television show in the Cayman Islands. Today, she's back home writing a different kind of story as a new mom. In her 15 years working as a professional journalist, this by far is her best assignment! Growing up, she dreamed of becoming Oprah Winfrey. She was the features editor for her school’s newspaper and a teen talk show host for her city’s most popular radio station. She went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Michigan State University. After graduation, she worked as a television producer and reporter at CBS, NBC and Fox affiliates throughout the U.S. Instead of heading to Chicago to join Ms. Winfrey on her set, she bought a plane ticket to the Cayman Islands instead. She arrived five days before a category five hurricane! She lived in paradise for seven years, hosted an award-winning television show and traveled the globe with a government delegation. She also served on the board of directors for Big Brothers Big Sisters and spearheaded a Send a Kid to Camp campaign. Then, she relocated to Washington, D.C. to obtain a teaching certification and instruct 8th grade reading at a high needs middle school. She later returned to her hometown of Pittsburgh, PA to raise her daughter Caitlynn, now 4-years-old. During her 10-month-stint as a stay-at-home mom, Caitlynn inspired her to create this blog, and Diary of a First Time Mom was born on Mother’s Day 2012. Two years later, she expanded the family to include 20+ writers. Currently, Heather serves as the communications director at Allies for Children. In addition, she is the owner of Motor Mouth Multimedia, which ranked #49 in Startup Nation’s Home-Based 100 Competition sponsored by Discover Card and Sam’s Club. Recently, The Pittsburgh Foundation and The Heinz Endowments selected Heather to receive an Emerging Black Artist award to develop Diary of a First Time Mom.

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