Planning to travel this summer? Have small children? One of your big concerns is probably how to keep the little rascals entertained and happy on the trip to where you’re headed, right? Here are some of my tried and true tips for ways to keep toddlers and preschoolers happy while traveling!
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Snacks!!! Any parents know to bring something for the kids to munch on, but here are my tips to make this a success. Pack familiar favorites, as well as occasional treats and things they will like, but don’t really get at home. A treat they enjoy plain made in a cool shape can be exciting at this age! Make sure they are safe to consume while strapped in a car seat, and not overly messy. For children who are past the major choking stage, some good options are homemade cookies (like my super yummy healthy cookies or these less healthy easy cake mix cookies), raisins and other dried fruits, real fruit dye free gummies, goldfish crackers, cereals or mixes made with cereals, sandwich crackers, pretzels, grapes, bananas, apple slices, string cheese, etc. Some of these are assuming you are hauling a cooler, but that’s almost a given on a long trip with munchkins, isn’t it? 😉
Coloring books. If your children are a little older, make sure to get them some that also have appealing games in them, like mazes, color-by-number, dot-to-dot and things like that to keep them more mentally stimulated for longer.
Stickers. Encourage them to get creative. You could let them decorate their own activity boxes, notebooks, memory books from the trip or bookmarks & cards for family members using their stickers, like this set of 1,000 animal stickers for cheap or other varieties. You can also give them a little notepad and have them put a sticker in it every time they find a particular object you agree on them finding and counting, whether it be a school bus, fire truck, the same color of car that you are riding in, churches, fields of cows, seagulls….whatever would catch their interest and be something they would find plenty of without it being too terribly easy.
Electronic games. I rarely allow my children to play with their electronic games at home, so when they get them during a waiting time (like a road trip, when I need to make important phone calls quietly at home or while waiting at doctor’s office), it will hold their attention for a very long time.
I Spy. This game can carry on quite awhile, just adjust it to your child’s capabilities. You can use this to hone their skills in different areas. Some examples? I spy something big/little/green/orange/soft/wet/tall/round/square/sharp/etc. It doesn’t just have to be colors! 🙂
DVD player. In a modern age, I’m sure most parents think to bring a way for their kids to watch movies on trips, but it bears mentioning. This portable DVD player is a #1 best seller!
Children’s Songs. This one could drive a parent absolutely batty, but there are times when listening to 100 children’s songs and pantomiming along is the preferred torture. When your other options are whining, crying or bickering…who can judge you belting out “Twinkle Twinkle” complete with theatric gestures? 😉
Books. This may seem like a no brainer, but it has to be included. What I do to make books even more engaging for them to look through is to give them a “mission” to accomplish. “See if you can find the purple pony hiding in this book!” or for those who can count “Count how many fish are swimming through this book!” or any other searches you can send them through the pages for. This really appeals to my goal oriented munchkins, and can make half a dozen books last as long as 20 books might without the extra missions. This traveling book is chock full of travel activities!
What are some of your favorite tricks for entertaining little ones on the road? Need some money saving tips? Try my Cheap Travel Tips!