Buckets and a Car Pulley System – Loved it for traveling!

Our last and greatest road trip sanity tip for traveling with kids is a bucket pulley system.   This idea was the brainchild of my hubby.

car pulley travel system for kids

Car Pulley System for Traveling with Kids

We went on our trip when I was nearly 8 months pregnant I was unable, unlike previous trips,   to turn around and hand things to the kids during the long days in the car.   We needed a way to hand them new toys, snacks, art supplies, etc.

Why don’t we create a pulley system?  

It was brilliant!

We tied a rope between the handles on the ceiling of our van.   I knew those handles are good for something!   Then I tied a bucket to the rope ends and we’d shimmy the bucket on the rope back to the kids whenever they needed something and would shimmy it back to me when the bucket was not in use.

traveling with kids - bucket pulley for car

Sorry guys, we cheated in these photos.   The originals I took on the actual trip and they were incredibly out of focus… hope you don’t mind our re-creation of the bucket system, from the comfort of our driveway.  

We are glad to be home!


  1. That’s brilliant! We do the pass back, which means that a big kid has to sit in the front row, because the littles can’t reach the back. I wish I’d seen this when I had all littles!
    .-= keeslermom´s last blog ..Lego Discovery Center =-.

  2. JDaniel4's Mom says:

    This is an awesome idea. JDaniel will love it.

  3. Wow, what a creative idea! I know I would have been THRILLED with this as a kid!!
    .-= Wendy´s last blog ..Parenting Fail =-.

  4. Useful implementation of a system using a bucket. Pretty brilliant IMO. I guess this pulley system only works on large cars or maybe I am not seeing it as a child would do. I have a small nissan sentra, I guess I should try with a small bucket.

  5. This is SO cool Rachel! Thanks for sharing the link on the Mom Loop Kenmore live chat! Cannot believe I missed it when it first posted!

  6. This is so incredibly awesome!!!!! We’ll be making the trip from Colorado to Michigan in July… with a 4 year old, 2 year old, and 10 month old. THANK YOU!!!

  7. This is great! I’m going to try this with our 4 and 3 year old on our road trip from Winnipeg to Vancouver! They will love it (and so will I)!
    Thanks for the great ideas.

  8. I’m the second oldest (I’m 13) of 8 kids, and we are taking a vacation and the car trip will be around 8 hours. ( and thats before all the stops 🙂 I’m getting ideas to entertain kids and teens…. ages 4 months, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, Me 13, and 14. This is brilliant!!

  9. I have SO ENVISIONED THIS VERY thing a million times on my car trips. I have become quite good and aiming pretzyls to the back row and bags of chips and toys, etc. I have one tip for you.

    NEVER try to pitch from the front of the van to the back of the van a Sippy cup.

    Painful when you miss.:)

    (cough, this never happened, cough).

  10. I have wanted to do that… could you email me the details of how your husband put that together?
    Thank you! We are going on a trip in a couple of weeks!

  11. Jacqui Odell says:

    I need this!! We have an Explorer that has 3 rows. I am always having a hard time getting the stuff the back.

  12. This is sooooo unsafe!!
    I used to have a clip on giraffe on my daughter’s infant seat the Doctor said not to do that as even something semi soft could cause injury at high speeds if we were in a crash.

    Now imagine a bucket filled with sharp or hard objects :S Also the rope is probably the most dangerous part a child could hang them selves with it by accident, so even with with a cloth bag instead of a bucket it’s still a terrible idea.

    The site administrator should remove this idea. It’s a liability and accident waiting to happen.

  13. Tiffany Reyes says:

    This is a neat idea. Can you send me more detailed instruction’s? How do you pull it back to yourself & where is the other end tied to & how do you get the bucket to you if it’s on the opposite side of the car from where your at & back to the child? Can you send pics. To better show the explanation please? Thank You!!!

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