Road trips and plane rides… with little ones. It’s a whole new world of travel. Remember being a child and not having electronics when going on vacation? What did we do…?
We played car games: The Alphabet Game, The License Plate Game, I Spy, Auto Bingo, Rhyme Time…and a word spelling game called “ghost” – that I’m not sure if my Grandma made up.
What else? We sang songs, we created stories out of what the clouds looked like, we ate snacks, we read books, we pretended our siblings were robots and positioned their arms and legs in awkward poses, we got on each other’s nerves, we asked “are we there yet?”… but we TALKED to each other.
Now, I’m no expert on parenting or traveling with little ones but I do know that a travel bag for little ones doesn’t need to require batteries or recharging – especially if the trip isn’t too long. So, what do you put in a travel bag to help pass the travel time? This, of course, depends on the ages of your children but here are some non-electronic travel bag ideas:
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When my kids were younger, the travel bag was mostly books, snacks, magnetic doodle boards, a few toy cars and stuffed animals. One of my favorite stuffed animals was the turtle with a bunch of buckles on it! This was great on the airplane (not as much in a car) as it did require frequent help to unlatch the buckles. More opportunities to ask for help = more opportunities to practice communication.
Dropping the toys with no way to retrieve them while driving was definitely an issue so we did LOTS and LOTS of music – music, not videos. Keeping the playlist familiar but with a few new songs helped tremendously.
Now that my kids can do activities with less adult help, stickers are a huge favorite! We go through SHEETS and SHEETS of stickers on trips. Alphabet stickers are great! I write a list of their favorite words and they cover up the letters with the matching letter sticker. They will use the letter sticker to write out their names, things they see outside, the first letter of whatever word I call out… or just put the whole alphabet on the piece of paper. Reusable stickers scenes are great too.
Folders with activities such as mazes, connect the dots, and scavenger hunt type activities (I just printed out a grid of cars and trucks then colored them red, blue, black, gray, green, etc to make car bingo a little easier and not require such a long attention span when you JUST can’t find that railroad crossing sign that is in so many pre-made auto bingo cards – ha!) One side of my folder has activities for my older son and the other side has mostly blank paper for my younger daughter.
It’s not all about coloring and books. Remember to sing lots of songs! Play those interactive car games from your childhood, and of course, snack away as needed. Those are all great opportunities to practice sounds and words! Think about how many opportunities there are to point out passing cars or airplanes overhead, request help, request more, request pit stops, request a break, request food and activities and objects… Remember to offer choices to help with speech and also reduce frustration. When you arrive at your destination “Hooray!”
Traveling with little ones isn’t easy, I get it, but it can also be an opportunity to teach them how to travel and not just how to survive it. Lots of concepts to think about with traveling – independent play, imagination, maps/directions, the concept of “one minute”, and patience. Yes, lots of patience!
What’s in your travel bag?
Thank you for reading and sharing! I’d love to hear what works for you.
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