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Traveling with kids?

Kids love going on vacation, but long car rides can be a bore. Here are some tips to help your child look forward to the long trips in the car.

A Travel Kit

The best idea is to create a travel kit for your child. In the travel bag include the "necessary" items such as pens, pencils, crayons, travel games and writing paper. These are important for a child to stay entertained on a trip. However, other items are necessary to spice up a trip. The best idea is to find small and inexpensive items with a lot of play value. Don't spend a fortune! Allow your child to help decide what kind of items he/she would like in the tote bag, but be sure that he/she does not decide everything, because the element of surprise will keep him/her from getting bored.

Here are some ideas:

  • Visit your local Dollar Store. Don't just buy any item - be sure to ask yourself, "How long will this item keep my child's attention?"
  • Buy a book for them to read and save it for the trip.
  • Buy a Colorform Playset. Playsets range in price from $3-$5. Children will enjoy using the Colorform characters to act out scenes on the car windows. You can buy a colorform playset on-line at eToys.
  • Buy snacks for on the trip. Preferably snacks which don't cause crumbs and are easy to pack. Some suggestions are fruit rolls, juice boxes with juice box holders, and healthy snacks (if age-appropriate): carrots, celery, grapes, apples,.
  • Buy a roll of Scotch tape for your child. This will keep your children's attention for hours. They can put tape on the windows and tape together paper to create masterpieces. They can also write on the tape.
  • Include Post-it sticky notes in your childs tote. Your child will love writing messages and drawing on them. Then he/she can stick them on the windows and create an art display.
  • If your child is over age 3, try putting small things in an empty aspirin bottle. Examples: Micromachines, worry dolls, pretty stones and beads. Check out your local craft store for more great ideas.
  • Little extras: put a sticker pack in the tote bag and bring along some stencils. For older children, include a comic book or word search.

Wrap the items you bring with on the trip - just using inexpensive wrapping paper or placing the items in lunch sack bags creates interest. An item is always more fun if the child doesn't know what it is ahead of time. I suggest giving your child a new surprise every 30 minutes - 1 hour (30 minutes for ages 3-5, and 1 hour for ages 5 and over).

Happy trails!

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