When it comes to travel, finding activity for the kids can be difficult. “Are we there yet?” seems to be the common anthem sung from the back seat, and usually not in harmony. Packing electronics including game systems, DVDs, and iPhones and iPads is always a great and easy solution, but bringing out your child’s creativity and/or using an educational toy, might offer them something new and exciting to ease the length of the commute.
Story Readers make great travel companions for kids. They can target a wide age range, and also offer some educational value at the same time!
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Whether traveling in planes, trains, or automobiles, here are some more ideas to entertain your youngsters and provide mom and dad a break from the dreaded phrase “I’m bored”:
- Pack a storage container and fill it will items just for the kids. Selecting one with a good lid is best for storage purposes. Throw in crayons, coloring books, reading books, snacks, etc. Keep it in the center to offer somewhat of a divider of back seat territory.
- Play the alphabet game. First person to find a word from A to Z wins. For example one person might see an “Apple”, the next person spots a “Billboard”, and so on, until someone is left searching for a Zebra! (or you could just choose to skip X and Z all together)
- Keep a travel journal. In between destinations, have the kids write about their adventures, draw pictures of the sites they have seen, collect mementos like brochures, pressed flowers, etc. This is a fun way to create a priceless memory book of their vacation, and keep them occupied at the same time!
- Designate 30-minute blocks of time for certain things. Have your kids spend 30 minutes playing road trip games (like “I Spy”, Name that Tune, the Picnic game, which starts out, “I’m going on a picnic and I’m bringing an apple…” ), 30 minutes of quiet time, or on the flip-side, 30 minutes of loud music and singing along. These time blocks will offer some fun for the kids and helps to break up the long trips.
- Grab some new Tunes. Borrow CDs from the library, fill up the iPod with new music, or purchase some audio books.
- Easy Crafts. Pick up some pipe cleaners and store them in a large zip-lock baggie along with large beads and buttons, and let the creativity take over! Make fun creatures, jewelry, or the kids could even make some fun shades for dad to wear as he drives!
- Take on a new craft! Pack some yarn and teach the kids to make a friendship bracelets, or even go a step further and teach them how to knit. There are many kits in craft stores for tween age kids, and you can find instruction books in almost any library.
- Pack Snacks. Stopping at gas stations can add up quickly, so make sure you have a cooler filled with fun and filling food and drinks.
- Before leaving, create a scavenger hunt list for the kids. As you drive, have them locate 3 types of birds, 5 mammals, 4 types of trees, a red truck, a green car, a flag…. the ideas are endless.
- Name Game Strand – Choose a famous person’s full name like Angelina Jolie, Using the first letter of the person’s last name, choose another famous person with the same letter as their first name like Justin Bieber. The next name could be Brad Pitt, and so on.
Share some of your tips for solving the “are we there yet?” blues.