Travelling with kids for a longer distance can be hard… Travelling with kids for 1 163 miles tends to be very hard. It takes about 24 hours to drive, which includes a few short stops along the way. And we are planning to set off on this journey from UK to Poland in just two days time!
My personal added challenge: to do it without DVD player (or other device that would play films).
I believe it’s do-able as long as I am prepared…and I spend the past few weeks reading through hundreds of blogs- looking for ideas and inspiration. The more blogs I looked through the more ideas I got, so today I want to share activities that I hope will suits my 2 and 4 year old boys during many hours of travel and maybe give ideas to other parents in similar situation or looking for quiet time activities at home or while eating out.
Looking back at my past experiences with long car journeys I know I need to be over- prepared! Almost all activities I chose can be reused later on -during quiet times, so it’s an investment and not a waste:). In my head I divided activities into three groups: some that will involve independent work or play, some that I or Daddy (depending who is driving at the time)would get involved in, and toys- some that we already have and they play with a lot and a few little new toys to explore and play with.
Here is my list so far:
One: Colour matching game using pipe cleaners. To make this I used an empty coco powder container- and made holes in the lid using a screw.
Two: Match the colour paper clips to corresponding colour lollypop stick. I used jumbo ice lolly sticks, magnetic adhesive tape and colour paper clips.
Three: Coins. Kids tend to like to play with coins, so I am planning to take a small box with two size holes at the top and lots of different size coins (I can’t advise on the best way of cutting the lid on this one- since I did it so badly, but it’s been secured with cello tape so there aren’t any sharp edges:) )
Four: Felt snake. I already had a “Felt snake” from our previous trip on a plane and it makes a good little activity.
Five: New books! As majority of children- mine love books. I found these two books by Emily Gravett- they have big clear pictures and little writing- so the boys can look at them independently and mostly follow the story.
Six: Photos! Photos on a key ring or in an album seem like a great idea. I printed a lot of their quite recent photos and then put their baby photo at the front- to give them more ideas to talk and think about.
Seven: Little highlighters and index cards.
Eight: Notebooks, stickers and crayons.
Nine: I made these simple counting cards with higher numbers for Jonah and lower for Noah. The idea is to pick the correct number sticker and stick it on the card. I laminated the cards so the boys can do this activity again another time.
There are lots of brilliant printable resources for children- available for free for a personal use and I am very grateful that they made my work so much easier. Here are some I picked that are good for car journeys:
Ten: Some “I spy” type of activities- I laminated mine so that I can reuse them and it’s always lots of fun for kids to use dry erase markers. They are available here.
Pegs. I like some of those activities that involve a child making a choice and pegging the correct answer.
Twelve: Alphabet cards.
Thirteen: Counting kites.
Fourteen: Car friendly play mats. (to use with their new matchbox cars)
Fifteen: Car bingo.
New toys. I found a few inexpensive toys that would provide a lot of play time. Including:
Sixteen: Playmobil people. Seventeen: Number slider puzzle. Eighteen: A special matchbox car.
Nineteen: An aircraft. Twenty: A calculator. Twenty One: A maze.
Twenty Two: A slinky. Twenty Three: Finger puppets (the plan here is to tell a story together using the puppets).
Twenty Four: Glow in the dark stars.
Twenty Five: Glow in the dark sticks, just in case they wake up when we driving through the night.
We are going to bring some of our toys, I picked some of the favourites that take little space but provide a lot of possibilities of play.
Twenty Six: “10 in bed” book with 10 little soft toys. My boys came up with a game where one of them “reads” the book or sings the song while the other is snuggled up with 10 cuddly toys. As they count down from 10 they throw the toys across to each other so the “reader/singer” ends up with 10 toys at the end of the song. Then it’s time for the other one to read. They usually can do this for a looong time so I am hoping I can move this game into the car and have the same amount of fun.
Twenty Seven: Sqij Blox.
Twenty Eight: Sticklebricks.
Twenty Nine: A magnifying glass.
Thirty: Hex bugs
Thirty One: 10 question quiz. They will be asked 10 questions each that are appropriate for their age (such as: what keeps us dry when it rains?…)- they will get a sticker for each correct answer and can exchange their 10 stickers for one of the little new toys (that I will wrap to extend the activity).
Thirty Two: “I spy” for young kids- “who can be the first to spot a caravan/ a lorry/ a blue road sign…?”.
Thirty Three: Favourite stories on a CD. My boys love Julia Donaldson stories so I have ordered some to play in a car and they will be able to follow the stories in the books.
Thirty Four: MUSIC. We have plenty of their favourite songs, and some nursery rhymes- to sing along to. We are planning to take a few smaller instruments, like little rattles/shakers and harmonica.
Thirty Five: Playdough inside a balloon. I put as much play dough as I could fit inside a balloon and tied a knot at the end. The balloons I had happened to have a face printed on- otherwise I would draw a face with a marker pen. It’s a lot less messy then play dough in a car, but still mouldable and fun as you stretch the balloon to make funny faces. (sorry I’m still finishing this one so haven’t got any photos yet)
This is my list of 35 activities I prepared so far…but there are still 2 days till we travel so I am sure the list will get longer…
If you have any ideas or good websites with travel activities, it would be great if you could share in the comment box below.
Thanks for reading!