Going on vacation is an exciting thing for the whole family. What is not always fun, however, is the journey. When you are on your way and everyone is having difficulty being patient, it can seem like everyone has trouble waiting to get there. How can you keep kids busy on a vacation, no matter whether it is by vehicle, train, airplane or any other form?
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Things have certainly changed since we started enjoying family vacations. Our oldest was 6 months old when we started going on family vacations to Wildwood NJ. Back then, the only thing we needed was a pacifier and his favorite stuffed Elmo. Times have changed now, and so have the methods you need to keep kids busy on a vacation.
Creative Arts & Craft Supplies
While my kids have never been into craft supplies, you can bring along the basics such as coloring books, crayons, paper and pens. Your kids will have plenty of time to create and imagine, and this will give them an outlet.
To encourage your children to use these supplies, consider buying a new special set of markers, or anything especially fun for each child. There are also great portable art centers that you can use in the car to keep them occupied, especially if your car trip is long.
Interactive Games Keep Kids Busy On Vacation
Always have ideas of games on hand that you can all play together. Some easy picks are games such as “eye spy” and scavenger hunts, where each person has a sheet of items they can check off as they find them during the trip.
You can also play games such as one where you take turns listing items to take on vacation that begin with the letters of the alphabet, in order. To take it up a notch, turn it into a memory game where each person has to remember every item listed before theirs, as well as making up a new one for their letter. I don’t play this game because I am generally the one that falls asleep during the ride.
It is also great to have some classic games with you like UNO, Monopoly, and Life. Even a deck of playing cards comes in handy for younger kids when you are at a restaurant or waiting for grownups to be ready to head out on fun adventures.
Travel Journals To Remember Vacation Highlights
If your children are old enough to write, give them each a travel journal. Each child can write about their own vacation highlights. Younger children can draw pictures for their entries instead of using words. It is always interesting to see how kids view your vacation.
Ask them to write down what they want to do once you reach your destination. I think this one of the best ways to keep kids busy on a vacation.
And, if we are being honest, this is one of my favorite activities as well. When my husband and I travel to Sandals Resorts, I keep a journal handy to record our impressions, keep track of staff names, and other important tidbits.
Game Consoles For Rainy Vacation Days
Game consoles have gotten a bad reputation, but long trips are one instance where they can be useful. Buy each child a new game that will keep him (or her) occupied for the long trip. Give him time limits, and enforce mandatory breaks in order to give his eyes a rest.
When the boys were younger, on our way to our favorite beach vacation in Wildwood NJ, the rule was: no playing video games until we reach the Walt Whitman bridge. It is funny that they still do that now.
Since our kids are older, their taste in gaming equipment has evolved and gotten a little more expensive. However, the Nintendo Switch is perfect for them. It travels easily, and can be used for streaming as well.
Music And Movie Players To Keep Kids Busy On Vacation
Having a device to listen to music on is a great idea for all ages. Before you leave, fill the device with music of each child’s choice. If you are going on an airplane, your child’s own headphones can often be used to watch videos on board the aircraft when the airline has them available, instead of renting or buying a pair from the airline.
Make sure you have a sturdy case to keep everything together, and in one place. Purchasing a few extra sets of ear buds or power cords is a good idea as well. There will be no fighting over the headphones, and if one breaks, you have a spare all ready to go.
If your child has a digital camera, encourage him to take photos while traveling. If he does not have one, consider buying him one, or lending him yours. A digital camera will ensure that he can take as many photos as his heart desires without having to worry about running out of film. Make sure that batteries are freshly charged, or take extras if the camera uses disposable ones.
The best part about having a digital camera on vacation is your child may develop a love of photography. If your child is mature enough, consider getting them a DSLR camera. My favorite is my Canon Rebel t6, which my youngest uses frequently. There are some upgraded models, so be sure to check them out.
Snacks That Keep Kids Busy On Vacation(And The Adults Too!)
Snacks are a must-have on any trip. The traveling time will always be more enjoyable with something to munch on. Bring items that store well even without refrigeration. Items such as veggies and hummus, dried fruit, granola bars, nuts and cheese sticks are fun and work well.
But hey, its vacation. We like to live a little by bringing some of our favorite candy. Milk Duds, Swedish Fish, and Caramel Creams, just to name a few.
Traveling can be boring, or great fun. It all depends on how well-prepared you are for it. When you are traveling with kids, there are many ways to make it more exciting for them. Put these tips to use and enjoy your travels while watching your children enjoy theirs as well.