Are we there yet? Are we there yet? You may hear that question many, many times while traveling to over the holidays, so we have some fun activities for holiday travel to help!
While travelling with your little one may seem daunting and at times feel endless, with a little preparation you can make the time in a car (or plane) go by more smoothly. These ideas can be used again and again. Also think about keeping a travel kit in your car for unexpected traffic jams, or longer than planned doctor appointments.
- One of my favorite activities is to make a doctor kit for your child to take care of her sick doll or stuffed animal. Fill a bag or container with Band-Aids, gauze, Q-tips, washcloth, empty plastic bottle, small flashlight, and so on. Show them how to care for their “baby”. Your child will take care of many common illnesses as well as a few you have never heard of!
- Teach your child a few tried and true games. For children 4+, the Memory game can be made by putting pairs of stickers to two sets of index cards. Start with a few (perhaps 3) pairs until he catches on, then add more cards to make it more interesting, not to mention time consuming. You can also start with younger children – they may not “get” the game, but can enjoy the cards with stickers! Was this a hit? Once they get into Memory, it is time to teach some simple card games like Go Fish or Crazy Eights.
- A small container with stickers, paper, and crayons can entertain your child for a nice long time. Or you can try a dry erase board and wipe off markers for variety. If you are somewhere where you worry about crayons or markers getting onto other things, you can consider an etch-a-sketch to draw or markers that only work on special paper.
- Audio books can keep your little one content for hours. Some are available for free at the local libraries, or you can download them. Bring the actual books as well so your child can follow along.
- A collection of pictures and a small photo album will keep your child busy for a surprisingly long time. They can sort and move the pictures around while discussing the memories that were made.
- Post-it notes and crayons – the glorious sticky paper will be sure to occupy them. Be warned, you may end up with a note stuck on your forehead! (Note from Stephanie of Please and Carrots: my newly potty-trained girls were terrified of the automatic flushing of the toilets in airports – post-it notes were a life saver to block the motion sensor!)
- Traveling in the dark? Think about some glow-in-the-dark objects – necklaces, bracelets and wands can entertain long after the sun has set. Did you know they make Glow in the Dark Silly Putty? You may be tempted to play with that too!
- Cookie sheets are magnetic. You can add a small container with magnetic letters or shapes to make up pictures throughout the trip.
Add another layer of fun to these activities by individually wrapping them and handing them out as presents during the trip. Do not give them out all at once, but during intervals (say, every hour) to make certain each activity gets its proper play time. If there are days of traveling, you might want to switch the activities out and bring in new ones to keep things fresh. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure has never been more true than preparing to keep little ones content while traveling.
And remember to also tell them stories about all the people you are going to meet, so they are excited and feel connected when you finally reach!
Happy holidays, and wishing you smooth travels!
(Note: do not leave children unattended with any of these activities.)