With the holidays quickly approaching, families are hustling and bustling to organize their travel arrangements. Whether you are traveling by car or plane, incorporate the children in the planning part of the trip. A possibly hair-raising and frustrating excursion can turn into a well-organized, fun-packed expedition when they feel like they are part of the planning.
Provide Them with a Backpack
Inspire their imaginations by giving them a backpack to fill with items that will keep them preoccupied during the ride. Depending on the ages of your children, items such as crayons, papers, colored markers, books, and other time consuming, mess-free crafting-type utensils can be packed. Toddlers can pack up little toys that keep them occupied. Some favorite DVD’s for the portable DVD player can be a hit as well. They can also pack their favorite teddy or blankie to cuddle with and bring them comfort while they are away from home.
Pipe Cleaner Fun
Colored pipe cleaners are excellent items to pack in the travel bag for children who are four and older. They can be twisted into all sorts of concoctions and are worth hours of fun while traveling. Children can create little people and “clothe” them with the pipe cleaners. Add a small bag of cotton balls to the backpack to twist the pipe cleaners around and they can make flowers, a colorful ball, boats, cars, planes…the sky is the limit, especially when a child’s imagination is involved.
Pack a map in the backpack so your child can track the course while you are traveling. Mark the route on the map prior to heading out on the road and any landmarks that you will pass by on your trip. You can sporadically ask, “Where are we on the map now?” This is a perfect way to help your child learn how to use maps, increase their reading ability and acquaint them with geography.
Snacks and Drinks
Munchies prevent the need to stop every time someone’s belly grumbles. A small assortment of snacks and individual drinks can alleviate hungry bellies and keep the mouths quiet for a short amount of time during the travels.
Travel during the Night
This is the ultimate trick of the trade for brave parents that have no problem traveling during sleeping hours. Let the kids fall fast asleep, pack up the car and then carry the kids out while they are deep in their slumber state. A six to eight hour voyage can easily be accomplished while they are peacefully snoozing.
There’s no need for screaming and fussing during a family trip during the holidays. Involving the children in the planning process of the trip and putting them in charge of packing items to occupy their minds gives them a sense of responsibility (as well as plenty to do on the ride). With a little creativity, traveling with children can be a fun and enlightening experience.