One thing I know a lot of parents dread about traveling is how hard it is for the kids. Over the years, I have tried to get creative with my kids so that the trips go more smoothly. In a few short days we will be off visiting our family and will be both flying and driving. Here are some of our favorite ideas.
Cleaning: The first thing I do when boarding the plant is turn off the stale air so it doesn’t blow on us, and give my kids each a wipe to clean all the things they will be touching. They actually enjoy cleaning, and then I have peace of mind that they are as germ free as possible.
Wipe board or chalkboard: practicing writing name, letters, numbers, shapes, drawing pictures, etc.
Small figures: My kids will be taking Superheros, Ponies, and Polly Pockets. We will be leaving all the shoes and small pieces at home!
Snack: I try to always pack a surprise, special snack, one that lasts a long time and they don’t have often. Lollipops are great because they can suck on them for a long time and it helps with ears popping. I am also a fan of trail mix, usually mixing a few M&M’s or chocolate chips in for fun!
Books: My kids love to read so I always pack lots of books, I spy ones really hold their attention.
Foil: They can write or draw on it with a pencil. They also can shape it into different figures and play with it in that way.
Sticky Notes: I give my kids each a pack of these and let them make shapes, words, or other pictures out of them. This keeps them entertained for a long time! So simple!
Markers: You can give your kids temporary tattoos with these…just make sure they are washable. You could also just draw lots of pictures. I like the kind of markers that you can screw up and down.
Wicki Sticks: These are great to create different pictures, shapes, letters, measure, etc. You could also use pipe cleaners.
Journal: We have a family vacationing journal that I always bring along to write down memories and different things we did. It would also be fun to let your kids each have their own and do lists, letters to family, where they ate, thoughts of the plane, etc.
Games: Card games (my son likes war), tic-tac-toe, hang man or travel Bingo.
Balloons: This would be mostly for the car, but drawing faces on them, taping it to the seat in front of you and using it as a punching bag could be fun too.
Band aids: Bring a box along and play doctor. Kids will be creative and use other items as a stethoscope, flashlight, etc. You could also use the band aids to make designs on paper like butterflies, fireflies, shapes, etc.
Silly Putty: It is fun!
Toy Surprise: Wrap small toys for your child and have them unwrap them every 20 or 30 minutes. Ideas might be a pack of gum, stickers, toys from the dollar store.
Map: Great for a ride in the car. Have your child follow a laminated map with a dry erase or washable marker.
Treasure Hunt: Hide a small item somewhere while the others close their eyes. See how long it takes to find it.
Magazines: Use them to tell stories with various pictures, have races (who can find a dog first?), counting (how many books are in the magazine?), toy magazines are also a favorite of ours. Have the kids look for toys they enjoy!
Interactive: 20 questions, rock/paper/scissors, alphabet game, My father own the grocery store (pet store, toy store) and in it he sells something that begins with the letter…, top ten list (have kids tell you favorite foods, things about themselves, things about nature, things about winter, etc.), thumbs up or down (tell or kids something like sleeping in a sleeping bag, they have to put their thumbs up or down), pick one (apples or oranges, soccer or football), what’s your favorite (color, treat, word, thing about school, etc.).
Tag Reading Wand: My kids also have this with several books to go along with it. It is a great filler, and my kids love them!
Usborne Activity Cards: I purchased these off Amazon a while back, they are called 100 things for little children to do on a trip. They are cards that kids can interact and write with, mazes, counting, dot to dot, etc. You can wipe them off and do them over and over!
Hope all your travels are great and memorable! I would love to hear other ideas as well:)