I spent more time planning toys, music and activities than I did packing clothes for a family car trip to Chicago. Yes, I'm a total mom, but at least I threw in a pair of heels. In my bag of tricks there was the CD of Dr. Seuss stories, sticker books, silly putty, a magnet board. Before we hit the road, I dropped $30 on Zingo to Go and the Melissa & Doug Travel Memory Game - both huge hits with my 5 year and even the 2 year old, who enjoyed moving all the parts. For about 10 minutes. What occupied nearly two hours - more than any other plaything by far: pipe cleaners. My older guy built himself a spy machine, looping the pipe cleaners into other toys and connecting the chain to his seat and a ceiling handle. My little guy followed suit. The building and imaginary play, which involved catching some bad guys along I-94 (good thing, since cops are too busy issuing tickets), had them completely engaged. Cheap, easy and, yes, one of those maybe-I'm-not-such-a-bad-parent moments, considering the portable DVD player at their feet.