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January 24, 2014

When Will We Be There?

safe-travelsWe are a family that loves to travel.  It is a major part of our lives since my husband and I feel so much is gained through experience and exposure to life outside of our ‘bubble’ at home.  Our travels have led us everywhere from Iceland to Maui and a lot of in between.  Living abroad while our now 9-year old daughter was 3 years old allowed us to gain an even deeper and more intense love of travel.   We travel both near and far, but no matter where our GPS is leading us, we hear the infamous, “When will we be there?” from our 2 kids.  UGH!!!  I know we are not the only parents who have to hear this question over and over again (sometimes multiple times in the same minute).  I am sure many readers are saying, “Not me, we plop in a movie (or 2) or let them play video games and voila – silence!”  Yes, this works for many, but for my kids, no dice.  They get motion sickness. Reading is no good either. Unfortunately, this is something they inherited from me.  So, this has left my husband and I to get creative in ways to pass the time whether on a flight, in the car, or on a train.  With the winter weather bringing on urges for warm weather adventures, I thought it a perfect time to share some non-technological ideas to pass the travel time so that everyone can make it to their destination happy and not exasperated.

  • Post-It Notes:  When my kids were toddlers, I always brought along fun post-it notes for them to doodle on and stick on the airplane windows and arm rests.  The bright fun colors and different shapes of pads kept them occupied for extended periods of time.
  • I-Spy:  We love to play this in the car, even when running errands.  It is great for younger kids to name categories (i.e., I Spy something __________ (name color, size, inside/outside of the car, size, etc.).
  • Special Treats:  No matter if we are heading on a flight or in the car, we allow the kids to pick 3 snacks/treats they would not typically get to have (i.e., candy, cookies, chips).  They get so excited for our trips since they can have a little bit of ‘junk food.’ We are a family who only eats raw and organic and nothing with high fructose corn syrup so this tradition is extra special for my kids.
  • Movie Game:  This is a great way to pass the time.  Start with a movie name and then the next person has to think of a movie that starts with the last letter in the movie named by the previous player.
  • License Plate Game: We love to play the license plate game when on road trips.  It is a great way to study the states. To make it more challenging for older kids, see if they can name the state capitols.  License Plate Printable
  • Dry Erase Board and Markers:  This is a great way to play the classics like hang-man, tic-tac-toe, etc.
  • What am I thinking of:” One player thinks of something and the rest get chances to guess what it is the person is thinking about.  This is GREAT for expanding vocabulary and grammar (e.g., “Is it a noun?  Is it an adjective? Is it something we eat?, etc.).
  • Road Trip Scavenger Hunt:  My kids love any kind of scavenger hunt.  These are sure to pass time quickly.  Again, this is great for vocabulary enrichment and category naming (i.e., transportation, outdoors, signs, etc.) Road Trip Scavenger Hunt
  • Music:  We never leave home without putting together a great playlist of songs to listen and sing along to.
  • Destination Education: Print out some fun facts about the areas you’ll drive through and have children read them and find the relevant places on a map.
  • Vehicle Count: Have kids practice their counting skills with goals like “Find 25 green cars.” Older children can guess how many pickup trucks or police cars will pass in 10 minutes. The winner chooses the music.

Vacations are to be fun, not stressful.  None of us want to feel like we need a vacation after our vacation :).  Travel safe, have fun, and simply enjoy your time together.Non Tech Ways to Entertain your Kids while Traveling

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