Summer is here! The calendar and the weather forecast are finally in sync, and many of us have travel plans. Whether short or long trips, by car or plane or boat, it’s always a challenge keeping kids entertained, no matter their age.
Handy travel tips can be found at TravelSense.org. A couple of lessons I’ve learned while traveling with my own family: good music is essential, so bring along favorite CDs for everyone. Comfort is also essential – Ugly Dolls are great stuffed animals, and it turns out that they serve as fantastic travel pillows. Who knew such a bright and fuzzy stuffed monster could be so practical?
Another important travel tip is to have a couple of special toys or games that are “secret”, to be pulled out when all else fails or when boredom hits its peak. For the littlest travelers, it can be as simple as keeping a new brightly colored ball or soft book on hand – the micro vehicles and animals from Rubbabu come in vivid shades and have a velvety flocked texture, and they’re infant-safe.
Toddlers are trickier.. Most of our “Please help me, I’m about to go on a 10 hour plane trip with my children” customer requests involve 2-3 year olds. Some proven favorites for this age are magnetic sketchers and drawing boards, the Lauri Toddler Tote, and sticker and coloring pads from Melissa and Doug. My daughter’s favorite travel activity when she was 2 ½ was My Tissue Art kit from Alex. It contains six large sticker shapes with sheets of tissue paper she could crumple up and smush into place. No glue, no mess, and when she got bored I packed it flat in a plastic bag for later.
Once kids turn 5 they’re able to work more independently. Sticker and coloring pads are good for this age as well as activity books. Games also keep them entertained: card games like Slamwich or Rat a Tat Cat are easy to learn and fun to play repeatedly; Perplexus and Rush Hour Jr are great one-player strategy games. Crocodile Creek Travel Puzzles come in a variety of themes and are contained in a resealable bag.
Kids 8 and up like to have new, cool things to occupy their hands and minds. The Boogie Board is brand new in our stores, and kids have had a blast playing with the LCD writing tablet, and then erasing and starting again. It’s ideal for travel games of hangman or tic-tac-toe or even just doodling. Another new favorite is Crazy Aaron’s Thinking Putty. There are so many kinds (including magnetic, color-changing and glow in the dark) that everyone’s able to find one they love. More tried and true toys to entertain older kids include Rubiks Cube, Mad Libs, and joke books.
Most importantly, make sure to relax and have fun as a family. You can have a scavenger hunt in the airport or create seashell collages on the beach or play highway bingo – there are countless ways to turn every day into a summer adventure.
For more great travel activities click here.
- Melissa Brilliant, Manager, Brookline