Travel with kids takes a lot of planning. Before a trip I always research fun activities for kids and begin my organizational prep. Read on…
To survive a vacation with your children, you need to be really organized. Keeping them entertained when they’re cooped up in the car or on a plane is the biggest challenge you’ll face. But long before you get to that point, you need to manage the packing with excited little ones working hard to distract you or mess up your suitcase.
Use naptime to make a full packing list. And then revisit my list when it’s quiet again to be sure you’ve thought of everything. Start with the bedtime essentials. Blankies, pajamas, stories, and soft toys should be on the list if you’re driving somewhere. You might also need your child’s nightlight. Choose three or four other must-have toys to travel with you, too. Finally, a good variety of clothes, and some hand-washing detergent to deal inevitable accidents!
For in the car or on the plane, you’ll need a variety of goodies including a backseat organizer similar to the one from My Specialty Kids Shop. Purchase one for each of your kids and preload it with crayons, snacks, small toys and some of their favorite toys. You simply hang it over the front head rest and it unfolds to become a desk-like activity center. You will also want to create a Pinterest board full of fun activities for kids.
Apps – The kids activity center from My Specialty Kids Shop is an absolute lifesaver on long car rides. If the kiddos get bored with coloring, snacking and any other activity you’ve brought along, simply zip it up, pop your favorite electronic device into the clear pouch and let them enjoy their favorite movie. It’s also a great idea to install a few new kid-friendly apps or movies that they haven’t seen, too. They can be educational or activity based, but make sure you have some of their favorites and some new ones. You might be able to add a few episodes of your child’s favorite TV show, too.
Surprises – Always keep a surprise in your purse. When you know your child is about to have a ‘moment’ you can pull it out of the bag as a distraction. This is especially helpful when flying.
Snacks – It’s not always possible to travel with snacks and drinks in your bag, especially on planes. But when you can, these can help perk up a little one who is fading with fatigue. My girls don’t always like the snacks that planes have to offer, so I always make sure to pack their favorites. They can help you out on a long road trip too!
Games – Travel games are great for in the car. You can often buy little sets with multiple popular games inside. The smaller LEGO sets are also a good idea for older kids as long as you have a kids activity center to build on. The pieces can be securely stored in the mesh compartments to keep from losing them while the car is moving.
Take Breaks – Children have lots of physical energy, and they find it really hard to sit still. Try to plan your journeys so you can break it up into smaller chunks. Find places along your route where the kids can run around. Stop at places that offer fun activities for kids. Play parks, play centers, and even community centers can offer you thirty minutes or so rest from the road. The children get to let off steam, and you can grab a coffee.
Traveling with your children is hugely rewarding. They’ll share some wonderful experiences and memories for a lifetime. It is hard work as I tell everyone, and you can be forgiven for wishing you’d stayed at home when things get tough. But stick with it, and you’ll find those precious moments could be the highlight of parenthood. Quality time with your children is hard to come by sometimes. Make your next vacation kiddy friendly and have fun.
Check out my Pinterest board to see some cute activity and snack ideas I’ve found –> Road Trippin’ with Kids
Looking for fun activities for kids in Northern California? Check out my post on Great American theme park.