Monday, June 6, 2011

Traveling With Kids

photo from Beef Jerky Blog

We have just returned home from a trip to my dad's house (a.k.a. Grampie).  I am always shocked by the number of people who are in awe that I would travel with 4 kids on my own -- Dada had to stay home.  Okay maybe it's not awe, astonishment (as in:  "are you crazy?!") is probably a more accurate term.  But the truth is, that I don't think anything of it.  So, I've decided to share what we take on our trips (not that I am any kind of expert) to ensure smooth sailing ... I mean, driving.

First of all, let me tell you that we do not have a DVD player in our van. For starters, my kids are prone to car sickness and I'm not sure that watching a screen wouldn't aggravate that -- wouldn't it be similar to reading a book? -- I cannot say for sure, but am not willing to try.  Anyway, we have found plenty of other things to keep us busy.

Let's start with the essentials -- the things that we absolutely don't leave home without.

1 -- Gravol.  As I already said, my kids are prone to car sickness, so no explanation necessary, right?

2 -- "Just in Case" Bag.  Just in case anybody gets sick, wet, dirty or hurt, I have a full change of clothes for everybody along with some towels, wipes, plastic bags for putting anything messy, band aids, and a bottle of water -- just good sense in my experience.

3 -- Snacks.

Everybody has their own lunch box and water bottle (notice the nice labels!).  I fill the boxes with whatever I have and sometimes a treat or two.  This trip we had homemade granola bars and an assortment of crackers.  On another trip, I strung Cheerios on a piece of yarn and made a necklace for each of them -- very popular.  Whatever it contains, it has to be easy to clean up because, inevitably, some ends up on the floor and in their seats.

4 -- Music and Stories.  We always have various musical and story selections with us, but here are a couple that always seem to make the cut.

Sunshine On LeithThe Proclaimers song "I'm Gonna Be" (or "I would walk 500 miles", as the boys call it) is very popular and it brings back fun memories for me.  The boys don't care about the rest of the CD, but we have to listen to "500 miles" at least twice, turned up loud, during any trip.  After that we can move on to something else.

Giants! A Colossal Collection of Tales and Tunes
Giants!  A Colossal Collection of Tales and Tunes contains 4 giant stories that are capable of holding the boys attention for over an hour -- now that's good story telling! 

5 -- Good places to stop.  Although we could make the 3.5 hour trip without stopping, and have done so before, I always find that a little break along the way makes things better.  We have compiled a list of parks and playgrounds along the way -- even the NS tourist bureau is great -- that are fun places to stop.  We added a new park to our list this trip, thanks to cousin Jen.  Cold or inclement weather is a little harder, but not impossible.  Last year we discovered an indoor sandbox -- a great find!  When in doubt, look for a school.  There is usually a playground, or at the very least, a field nearby.

Other things that we have tried in the past that have been successful include: car bingo (although this does require some prep work), the alphabet game (finding the letters of the alphabet on signs, licence plates, etc.),  20 questions (Owen always picks skyscraper!), and magnetic drawing boards.  I also want to try giving the boys a map so they can learn to read and follow our route -- maybe even laminate it so that they can draw on it or mark their favourite stopping stops, and use it again and again.  Next trip! Or what about lacing cards, or puppets, or, or, or ...

What has worked in your vehicule?

1 comment:

  1. Time to start writing childrens' books Peg. You've got 4 wonderful & creative little associates to help with stories & illustrations.... & Dada's great sense of humour! My Dad was 'Grampy' too. Your blog is just amazing. Your writing style is so great & these stories could easily go to print. The next Dr. Seuss library! :) xoxo


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