Like many of you we are preparing for holiday travel and when our good friends at Little Pim asked us to share with you why we like their products so much one of the first things that came to mind for me was how awesome they are for travel. We restrict screen time at home but when we are on a plane for hours our goal is everyone arrives happy and hopefully in the same clothes they left in. Little Pim and other must have carry- on items help us achieve that goal. So here is my list of 10 things to make a plane ride more peaceful with your preschooler.
1. Snacks. I pack a big bag of snacks with varying degrees of interest for my kids. There are protein bars , crackers, squishes, and more treat like fruit snacks. I am not opposed to bribery if the situation calls for it but I am opposed to spending three times the amount I would at the grocery store at an airport shop if I can help it. It hasn’t yet but kids ( at least mine) can be unpredictable when under stress and traveling is stressful for a lot of kids.
2. Good books that let fidgety kids move - lift the flap books for young preschoolers, coloring books , or choose your own adventure ones. Books that have just a titch of extra novelty can be the tipping point to sitting still and getting engaged while they are stuck in a seat. Also if you normally read to your kids before bed/ nap and you want them to sleep on the plane going through their regular routine on the plane is super helpful.
3.A tablet or iPod. For our family the rule is read first then screen. On the plane this isn’t just my tactic for less screen time it’s a battery saving tactic too. Before getting on board clear off any apps you don’t want your kids using ( pop them into the cloud) and have only educational ones like Little Pim’s Spanish App for iPad , Kindle or NOOK or their Word Bag App for iPhone/iPod .
4. Headphones made for kids to listen to music or use with devices like a tablet or iPod.
5. A buddy to snuggle with. I know it’s scary to think of losing your child’s lovey but if they nap or sleep with it usually take the risk and bring it along it can help your child feel secure and calm.
6. Extra undies, and pants, and shirts, and tights… you get my point. I usually pack PJs because they are all in one and easy to squish into a side pocket.
7. A plain notebook and writing instruments washable markers and crayons are our favorite. Drawing to music is fun and quiet. If you are nervous about letting your kids color on the plane you could use a coloring book app like this one instead.
8. Stickers. They are cheap , promote fine motor skills and you can use them to make up stories, make pictures for whoever is at the arrival gate picking you and your tired kids up, or just free art time.
9. Extra plastic bags. I usually stick 8 Ziplocs in my bag. They hold wet/soiled clothes, half eaten snacks, my hand sanitizer after someone broke the lid off… the uses are endless just trust me when you need one and it’s handy you’ll thank me.
10. Wipes. I know wipes are terrible for the environment but they are so great for travel. They can wipe faces, bums, are gentle on a raw runny nose ,and if the flight is terrible and you end up in tears you can use them to take off your mascara before it runs to your chin.
BONUS- A good night’s sleep. For days before you go even if you are scrambling to get ready while maintaining your already busy schedule, make sure your little ones are getting enough rest.
What is in your carry-on when you travel with your kids?
As stated above this post has been sponsored by Little Pim but the research was done by me on many flights with my two kids!
We are preparing to head off on our annual trip to the Oregon Coast in a few weeks and I have been filling up my Pinterest boards with ideas. It got me thinking about how parents can make family road trips educational at the same time as making them more fun for everyone in the car. Do not miss the awesome sweepstakes below – Little Pim language learning for kids has sponsored this post as well as the sweepstakes.
1. A sense of humor. I have to make this number one because no one can have fun or learn a thing if everyone in the car is at each others’ throats. So pack an extra helping of patience and lots of laughs because unless you really want to stop at every exit to carry out the empty threats you are throwing into the back seat, it’s more productive to let the little things slide.
2. Books about where you are going. Before you leave, head to the library and search for books about where you are going. Don’t limit yourself to the children’s section either; you might find some wonderful books with great images in the adult section too.
3. Apps. I am not a huge fan of too much screen time, but while traveling I loosen that considerably. What I don’t loosen up on is the quality. I would much rather have my kids learn a new language, read a book on a tablet, or work on math skills.
4. Travel chalkboards. Use them to play hangman, practice drawing road signs, play tic tac toe and more. Bring a plastic cup full of chalk to put in your cup holder. Here’s a tutorial for making your own.
5. Counting games. Count red cars, count Starbucks, count construction zones…the sky is the limit, and this requires absolutely nothing extra in your car.
6. Stop and read the historical markers. If there are more questions after reading them, use your smart phone to find out more as you continue on your way.
7. Audio books. Local libraries have fantastic collections of audio books. To take the learning even further, hand your kids copies of the book to follow along.
8. Foreign language music CDs. My kids have been specifically asking for the Little Pim Spanish CD even though I am trying to get them to listen to the French one. They love it. Music is a great way to learn languages, and a long road trip is a perfect time to listen.
9. Play alphabet games. If you need a new variation of the old classic check out my post on Scholastic Parents with some fun new twists.
10. Tell stories. In our family we have a whole slew of ongoing made up stories. We all take turns, and to listen to your child make up stories is not only educational but entertaining too!
What is your best road trip tip? Add it in comments and we will keep this list growing. You can see great travel, parenting and of course language learning tips on Little Pim’s Pinterest boards.
Now for the Sweepstakes!
My friends at Little Pim love travel as much as I do and are partnering with me to giveaway one of their Deluxe Language Gift Sets in the language of the winner’s choice ( The Spanish set is shown above) . You can check out all the languages here. Click the link below to enter.
hOfficial Rules This sweepstakes is open to American residents 18 years or older. To be eligible for the sweepstakes you must enter your name, and email address in this Google document . 1 winning entry will be drawn at random, using Random.org, after the sweepstakes closes on July 27th at 8:00pm PST. The winner will receive one Deluxe Gift Set from Little Pim valued at approx. $85 After the winner is notified he or she has 48 hours to respond with their mailing address for shipping their prize or another winner will be chosen at random. No purchase necessary.The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Any information gathered through the sweepstakes including email and postal addresses will not be used in anyway other than contacting winners and shipment of winnings. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. This post was sponsored by Little Pim.
We live a few hours and a sometimes long border wait away from my parents and while they have picked up a toy here and there they don’t have a lot for my kids to do other than TV. My kids always want to pack a million of their toys and I end up saying no to nearly every request ( there is only so much room for toys) and not packing enough. Most of the day it’s OK , we bake cookies with my mom, garden and then the ” I’m bored , can I play on your phone?” starts. This time though I was smarter.
As a member of Klutz Crew I got to choose a few fun titles to check out and I have been saving this Lego Crazy Action Contraptions book for this trip. Before we packed up the car I slipped it in my son’s suitcase.Oh and I suggested he wear his Klutz Crew tee-shirt too and he still had no clue I had something in store for him later today!
This book/ kit is perfect because everything you need to build 16 different projects neatly fits in this one easy to hide in a suitcase package. The instructions are bound and have great detailed instructions with easy to follow pictures for readers and non readers. Let’s face it as excited to see the kids as grandparents are they aren’t 25, heck I am not 25 anymore and I am exhausted after a trip. Having something new, easy to travel with and so easy to follow that it requires next to no help is nothing short of a blessing.
So how did it go when I did give it to him? I told him I needed something from his suitcase.
He chose to make a Wall Rocket Racer and it took only a few minutes to make , required one bit of help from me and then he was shooting it off the walls in my parents house and having a ball. He has already chosen which project he’s going to build next!
What toys do you pack for your kids when traveling to see family or friends that don’t have kids?
My husband and I traveled a lot internationally before kids and we want to share our love and curiosity for other countries with our kids. Like many with young kids we aren’t up to taking them to all these places just yet. Instead we read lots of books , look at lots of pictures ( our own and others) and play games like this one that GASP uses flash cards . This geography game for kids is so simple and will spark your child’s wanderlust!
- Gather your materials. You will need a globe or map, and some fun geography flash cards.
- Start by having your child pick a card. Ask them by looking at the picture where they think it might be. Wild guesses or close calculations are wqually good, this is all about exploring from your own playroom, not getting facts “right”.
- Flip it over and find out where it is.
- Next find it on the map.
- Keep going as long as it’s fun.
- Beware for wee sisters who swipe the landmarks.
Taking your kids to Paris, London or Pisa might not be in the budget but you can turn their building blocks into the city’s most famous landmarks. What a great way to introduce learning about far away places by using your kid’s own blocks. This was so simple and can be redone with so many different themes like these animal ones ,or faces you don’t even need a printer if you want to hand draw the pictures. My son didn’t participate in making the blocks ( I think he gets enough crafts, what do you think?) but from toddler to school age kids can color or draw the buildings too.
- Gather your materials. You will need some building blocks. Any will do but here is my opinion- we used Fisher-Price Little People Builders Blocks, they are big, snap together but not too tightly. They let me be sorta sloppy with the contact paper. If there was some bunched up I could still snap them together. Duplo is less forgiving so you will need to only get contact paper on the side none on the top where the blocks come together. Wood blocks would work well but might frustrate younger ones who want them to stay together. You will also need pictures of whatever buildings you want to use, scissors, contact paper and clear tape.
- Start by laying out what blocks you will need for each building.
- Now here I did it two ways. I first cut the image into the pieces for the blocks, then cut the contact paper and put it on. It was tedious.
- The other way was to use one large piece of contact paper place the image on it face down, lay the blocks on it, make snips where you need to cut.
- Cut and apply to the blocks. This worked WAY better. I am not the most patient or careful because my window for doing anything without kids interrupting is tiny these days but as you can see even not too careful turned out great.
- Put them together!
- Time to play – he may not have participated in the making but he sure did with the playing.
- It’s mega-landmark!