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Travel-Friendly Activities

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


It's August, and like many families, we’re gearing up for a long car trip for a summer vacation to visit relatives. We try to time our trips to coincide with nap/sleep time, but that’s not always the case. My husband and I think of the “good old days” – with just a little romanticized nostalgia – when we played license-plate bingo, sang songs, and teased our siblings relentlessly. 

We want the same for our daughter and are resistant to adding a TV, DVD player, or IPad to the mix for our toddler – even if it would be easier.We’re not alone, and the AAP recommends limiting screen time children (and none for kids under 2).  

I spoke with Britlan Malek, PhD, a psychologist here and mom to two young kids, for some ideas on travel-friendly toys.She told me she took her kids on a long plane ride and they made it through without electronics, so she is a pretty good source. No batteries required!
  • Books and coloring books- perfect for any age (adults too)
  • Scarves – great for hide-and-seek  
  • Stickers! Kids love them and it takes time for their tiny fingers to get the stickers off the page
  • Barrel of Monkeys – an old fashioned favorite
  • Toy soldiers or other small action figures or animals – limit to just a few and use your imagination in what they can do (feeding the dinosaur pretzels, soldiers climbing the back of the seat, etc)
  • Puppets – one puppet can be very entertaining, especially if each family member takes a turn being silly with it
  • Straw and cotton balls – try to blow across the tray in a race
  • Older kids love “I Spy
  • Travel journal – you can help by writing some and leaving a few blanks for your child to fill in
  • Rhyming games – each family member takes turns
  • Travel size version of favorite card and board games
What’s your tried and true activity for long trips? 

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Categories: School Aged, Toddlers
Topics: Parenting
Authors: Emily Dammeyer

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