Traveling with children can be either a joy or a nightmare. As decreased stress results in a decreased risk for cancer, we parents much prefer the “joy” result.
Today’s technology – bringing us mini-DVD players, hand-held video games, and the like - has been a blessing to parents who take long road trips or fly on airplanes with their kids. Still, some of us, for various reasons, don’t like the idea of using such devices to keep our children entertained.
In that case, how are such weirdos as we are, to travel with children and still have our sanity at the end of the trip? Traveling with children doesn’t have to a be a miserable experience in the absence of electronic gadgets. The point is to give the kids something to do. Following are seven ideas of how to occupy children while you are traveling without using a single kilowatt.
1. Crayons and paper.
If your kids need guidance, ask younger ones to draw their favorite animal and challenge older ones to create geometric patterns, for example. Make sure they have a hard surface to put their paper on, or provide each one with a tablet.
2. Puzzle books.
Word finds, age-appropriate number puzzles, pencil games that can be played with two – all can keep your older children busy for an extended period of time.
3. Together car games.
The old-fashioned games led by Mom and Dad are still in vogue! “I Spy” or counting how many red/blue/out-of-state/etc. cars keep the intellect going and helps the time go faster.
Do I have to describe this time-honored way of traveling with children?
This is a great non-electric way to develop eye-hand coordination and is likely to hold any age children’s attention longer than crayons and paper.
6. The quiet game.
If you haven’t played this one yet, you either don’t travel much or only have one child! The game is simple: offer a reward to the child who can be quiet for a specified period of time. If anyone provokes their siblings to make noise in a any way, or acts obnoxiously at any other time for the rest of the trip, they will forfeit the reward.
Make it clear that it is possible for everyone to win, and make it easier by playing music or listening to talk radio during the time the children are competing for quietness.
7. Flash cards.
There are tons of flashcards available, from simple numbers and the alphabet to multiplication and division facts. You can even create your own before you leave on the trip, basing them on what your children are currently needing or interested in.
Traveling with children can be fun without the help of technology! Try all seven, and your kids may never even ask once how long until they get there. (Hey, a mama can dream…)