They don’t call Australia the Great Southern Land for nothing. Thousands of miles of lonely roads stretch out in every direction, so Australian parents have to be adept at keeping kids entertained in the confines of a car or plane. Keeping them entertained is one thing — keeping them entertained in style is quite another. Mandi Gunsberger of Australian-based lifestyle and design blog Babyology shares some fabulous ways to distract kids, big and small, during your next family road trip or get-away.
It’s not a road trip without a few games of I-Spy and Bingo. Personality Plus has terrific dry-erase Bingo games that can be used over and over again in the car and at restaurants. Put observation skills to the test with Rambling Times’s Highway Traveling Game, a version of car bingo that keeps eyes fixed on the window. Pack some portable fun with pocket-sized Tic Tac Toe from My Happy Hobbies. For older children, Monster Playing Cards from Dr. Badvibes House of Oddities will pass the time. Along with the multitude of games that can be played with cards, consider packing a book about simple card tricks. A long trip in the car or on a plane is the perfect time to learn some magic skills!
Creativity needn’t be restricted by the confines of the car. Avid crafters may have to leave the paint and glue at home, but there are oodles of traveling craft fun to be had with pencils, paper, scissors and Sellotape. For littlies, the portable chalkboard mat from Ashgate Crafts is a winner, as is the super-cute crayon wallet from My Happy Hobbies. Snip some paper with gorgeous paper dolls from Emilee Rose and sensational bright printable play sets from Neskita. Older children can busy themselves with spool knitting — just think, they may finish a scarf in time for next winter! We love the little spool knitting characters from JSorel.
My kids have a habit of trying to pack half their toy box into their bags when we go on holiday. Bring along a few special toys reserved for vacations to keep their interest. We love small and light felt play food from Tomomo Handmade for back-seat “feasts” and sweet finger puppets from Stay Awake for storytelling and imaginary games.
The littlest travelers can keep all their favorite toys at hand with a HOTI Leash from Apple Tree Boutique. The nifty leash attaches necessities, whether it’s a sippy cup or a toy, to your baby’s car seat, stroller or high chair. This saves you from scrounging around on the floor, trying to find things that have been thrown overboard! Add a rattle (we like the crinkly owls from Lil Bundle of Joy, the retro-tastic Viewmaster rattle from Regal Cottage and the crochet bell rattle from Nitdia) or an I Spy bag from Emmie’s Designs and you’re all set.
Write It Down
Travel journals are a great way to record happy holiday memories, and they don’t have to be all words — collections of drawings, photos and holiday keepsakes make wonderful mementos. Stitchin’netka makes sweet personalized travel journals for children and In blue’s smart leather bound journals are perfect for older children. We have a little tradition of writing down each family members’ “Favorite Thing of the Day” when on holiday — it’s a great reminder of everything you enjoyed, whether it be a super-duper ice-cream cone or a visit to major tourist attraction. For something a little different, check out Karen Geddings’s superb scrapbook-style travel journals — all the pockets, pages and envelopes are perfect for kids who like to collect.