Tag Archives: children

35 Activities for car journeys with kids

35 Activities pfc

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.

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Two: Match the colour paper clips to corresponding colour lollypop stick. I used jumbo ice lolly sticks, magnetic adhesive tape and colour paper clips.

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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:) )

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Four: Felt snake. I already had a “Felt snake” from our previous trip on a plane and it makes a good little activity.

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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.

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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.

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Seven: Little highlighters and index cards.

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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.

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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.

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Pegs. I like some of those activities that involve a child making a choice and pegging the correct answer.

Eleven: Shapes.

Twelve:  Alphabet cards.

Thirteen:  Counting kites.

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Fourteen: Car friendly play mats. (to use with their new matchbox cars)

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Fifteen: Car bingo.

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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).

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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.

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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

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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!

Thursday was a bit of everything…kind of day…

..it was a day of construction…

Jonah woke up in the morning and found a wrapping paper tube. He immediately put it into use constructing tunnels for tiny cars and skateboards. It was great to watch his little imagination at work.

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…it was a day of lots of cups of green tea and crochet…

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..trying out new watercolour paints (they are so brilliant and mess free)..

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…and sharing some lovely creative time..

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and we even had some snow!

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The boys have been more tear’y the last two days, so a relaxed day was what we needed… well, what I needed:)

Tape-happy

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Patterned tapes and washi tapes are brilliant! They make simple, mess-free, quick to prepare craft that children LOVE.

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My little boys are too little to cut their own tape, so I pre cut a lot of different length pieces and stuck them around the table (or sticking them around a plastic tray works too). It made it easier for them to choose what they want and to create whatever they feel like, from shapes- to cars, houses or even just sticking lots of pieces on top of each other.

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Jonah likes to finish his pictures with felt tips…

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…and voilá:

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Yup, this time it’s a typical boy-kinda-art.

Farewell to The Snowman and the Snowdog- with a craft

On Christmas Eve we introduced our boys to “the Snowman and the Snowdog”- it’s a lovely story with beautiful pictures and great music and my boys loved it straight away. We bought the soundtrack from the film and Jonah loves to talk about what goes on in the film as we listen to the songs. That’s how I got the idea for this craft…

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On the tray I set up black colour paper, some self adhesive googly eyes, white chalk, pva glue, cotton wool and tiny silver stars AND I played The Snowman and the Snowdog music in the background.

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Later on I gave them a piece of green foam to make a hat…

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…and the focus shifted to the joy of using scissors and learning to cut…

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Noah decided to make the blue glue spreader part of his work..

Ahhh…it will be sad to put “The Snowman and the Snowdog” DVD away in our Christmas box…but we ll all have something to look forward to in 11 months:)

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An invitation to create

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I tend to keep my children’s arts and crafts to the earlier part of the day, when minds are fresh and bodies are full of energy… Though today I thought I’d try a little after nursery art for a bit of relaxed time while waiting for dinner.

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I set out two of the same trays with paper, pencil crayons and a few things like magazine snippets, cotton wool, glue, stickers and, glitter…and this is what happened:

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Clearly they weren’t influenced by the colours blue and green… and here is their finished work:

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by Jonah

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and by Noah.

Noah breaks things

Noah, my younger (22 month old) son breaks things!! I know that children break things but my older son, by the age of 3.5 years broke maybe 3-4 things. Noah’s count of broken items (if I was counting) would be easily in twenties or even higher. When he could walk steady on his feet, which was before his first birthday, he would pick glasses from tables or on tippy toes swipe kitchen worktops, smashing cups and bowls. It was happening so often that I finally learnt to reduce his breaking rate down and now it only happens once a week! The last two weeks he “chose” Friday or more probably caught me off guard after a long and tiring week, and here is this week’s casualty:

jar of salt

A jar of sea salt.

I just wish I wasn’t getting so worked up about it, he doesn’t do it on purpose anymore (unless he’s very sneaky about it) and he even says “ohhh nooo!”, though I think that I’m actually getting annoyed with myself for not preventing it from happening. At least it’s nothing really valuable, though smashed glass full of sticky salt makes A LOT of mess.

Keeping on “the children” subject but in a different direction… I do love when children discover and learn new things and then try to put it into words, and today Jonah came to me and said:

J: “Mummy, did YOU built our house?”

Me: “No, mummy and daddy bought it”

J: “Umm… Did you bring it here in a car?”

Me: “No, a group of people built this house here and then we came and bought it.”

J: “Oh, it’s called the earth, where the house stands on top of! ……. isn’t it?”

It’s nice to see that they find simple things as intriguing as last week’s “I wonder if the moon is hot or cold” :)

Have a nice weekend!