Kids are full of imagination to begin with and it doesn’t take much to fuel it. Here are some tips I found online and some I use with my kids, try them and have fun your little ones:
- Let the kids be musical, the easiest way is in the kitchen, I give my little one a plastic bowl, a wooden spoon or silicone spatula and watch her go. It’s funny how they are more interested in making noise using your cook wear then with their high tech fancy toys.
- Going on an errand can become a mini adventure for the kids. I make my grocery list and hand it over to my daughter (if they’re too young make a fake one for them to hold) to keep track of. It makes her feel responsible and looking for the items in the store feels like a treasure hunt. Same for the bakery, post office or any kind of shopping. It’s all in how you present it.
- Always be on the look out for anything that can be used on an art project, whether it is leftover fabric, buttons, fliers with nice pictures, plastic containers, ribbons, etc…. These can always be used on a rainy afternoon to make a crafty project or you’ll have them ready when the kids have a school project. I always keep a look out in the stores when they put these items on liquidation, you can get them for a fraction of the price (just bought great autumn leaf 3D felt stickers at 90% off!).
- Take a trip to the book store or your local library and check out books are fun and interesting to your kids. Anything that fuels their imagination: animals, science, bugs, cars, crafts. This will also get them excited about books and reading at an early age.
- Walks in the park can turn into an explorer’s dream. Have the kids collect anything from leaves, rocks, acorns, pine cones, etc… Which they use to make their own art projects or start their own collection. This is also a great activity to do together as a family, good exercise and an afternoon enjoying nature. They also go into the back yard and gather fun supplies while enjoying an afternoon outside.
We recently went on a 14 hour car trip with the family. I was very worried about how the baby was going to handle it and if we were going to survive with our sanity. My 8 year old is easy, she packed her own fun bag and put in every thing she needed to keep her busy along the way. I prepared some sandwiches, water and snacks the day before, packed up the suitcases and we were good to go.
It was the baby’s things that had me in a tizzy, we need a trunk full to go to the grocery store let alone such a long trip. But planning ahead helped a lot and overall the trip went very well. One thing that really helped us was breaking up the trip into two sections and spending the night en route. We were all rested the nest morning and the trip did not seem so bad when we weren’t exhausted.
Many people drive at night while baby is sleeping to be able to make the least amount of stops and cover more ground, this is a very practical way but doesn’t always work out. If you are going to travel during the day here are some tips that helped us:
- Time beginning of trip with baby’s nap time. This way you get a few hours on the road before you have to make your first stop.
- Make stops every 2-3 hours. This give you a chance to stretch your legs and baby gets a diaper change and a break from the car seat. A little back rub will help too.
- Buy a couple of new toys that baby hasn’t seen before and give them out one at a time during fussy times. This will give you some extra time when you need it.
- If you have a portable DVD players bring along DVD for baby (Barney, baby Einstein, anything with strong visuals and music). This is great if you are not able to make a stop but need to keep baby busy. (I only use TV or DVD player for baby in a pinch).
- Keep a bag of baby bottles and snacks in the car with you (if you breastfeed, pump and have the bottles ready), you can prepare and give to baby without having to make a stop.
- Keep blanket and neck donut on hand to keep baby comfy while they sleep.
- Snacks for you, you need to keep your energy up.
Essential Supplies list:
- Enough food and milk for the whole trip. You don’t want to run out of anything on the way and have to make emergency stops especially in areas you are not familiar with.
- Feeding tools: bottles, nipples, bibs, bowls and spoons
- First Aid kit:
- Nail clippers
- Gripe water (or whatever you use) for upset tummy
- Baby Tylenol (or Tempra for pain and fever)
- Teething cream
- Infant insect repellant
- Infant sunscreen lotion
- Band aids
- Antiseptic cream
- Calamine lotion
- Alcohol wipes
- Enough diapers, wipes, rash cream and/or baby powder
- Scented plastic bags for dirty diapers
- Spare change of clothes handy in the car for emergencies
Don’t forget to pack:
- Breast pump if you breastfeed
- Play pen or portable crib (for overnight stops)
- Nightlight for feeding baby at night in unfamiliar room
- High chair/shopping cart cover: Love this, easy for me to just cover and slide baby in!
- Baby’s passport if you are leaving the country (and yours too for that matter)
- Any item baby is attached to help soothe them when they are fussy
It is not easy but it is very feasible and can be fun if you are prepared. Most importantly, keep a positive mind set and don’t let anything get to you. In the end you will reach your destination so might as well enjoy the ride!
As always, feel free to add your tips, the more help, the better.
Have a safe and sane trip