How Pinterest can transform a dreadful trip with kids into a fun one for everyone.

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January 24, 2014

Traveling with kids.  Some friends of mine dread it and wait until their kids are much older before taking the road for long distance. Others like us don’t hesitate one second to embark in an adventure.   What is the difference between these families?   I think it can be summed up in one word – ORGANIZATION.

When you travel with you kids you need to be creative in order to keep them entertained on the road. My husband’s parents used to live about six and a half hour from our home in Northern Ontario.  When we had our first born, we learned quickly to keep him busy while driving and how to adapt to life with kids. Within six years, three siblings joined him and our trips are fun (except when one child got sick in the truck once or twice…).

Organization is a skill that you can learn – particularly if you travel long distance with kids. And when I say organization I don’t think only about packing clothes and preparing a lunch for the road.  No, I am thinking more of planning to bring books, music, crayons, and activities for the road.

The number one site I go to plan activities on the road would be Pinterest. There you can find numerous games to play on the road, ideas to make the road more fun for the kids as well as provide some quiet time for the driver.

Travel Tray – The idea is simple. Take a cookie sheet, add some magnetic letters, coloring pages, crayons, a lego base and some lego pieces and voilà. I particularly like the idea of the Lego base and the pieces which would be a great way to have my kids busy for a long road (well the younger ones anyway). I could easily use a plastic storage container, put the pieces they want to bring (note to myself: limit the number of Lego pieces and keep the smaller parts at home) and make specific themed one like space, friends, and so on…

IMG_0145 (2)A Search and Found bottle or another special one is a great way to entertain the kids in the car.   The idea is simple.  Fill a transparent plastic bottle with something small like rice or tiny beans.  Incorporated in it include small size items so that your kids will have to twist the bottle in order to find the items.   My kids went to a Vacation Bible Camp in a church near our home last summer and one day they came with an interesting craft which is a similar idea but in a form of a shape.  What I really like about these Search and Find Hearts of my kids is that none are the same which means that they can switch them around to explore what a siblings has put in his own heart.    Besides it doesn’t take a lot of place when you travel.   However, the hearts were too easy to open with the Velcro opening so I decided to sew them, in order to make them a bit more permanent and avoid spills while traveling.

Printables – there are a ton of printables available out there that could be included in a binder for entertaining the kids while driving.   While on Pinterest I stumbled on Travel Games for Kids that could be fun like the Car Bingo , a Scavenger Hunt, Basic Games from our good old days, Find the Differences, mazes and even a site to create your own puzzles (Word Search, Criss-Cross, Math Puzzles and more). Ultimately, this last site will allow you to create your own word puzzle based on your destination if you like.  It’s easy to use and will allow your kids to have fun time while you drive to where you are planning to go with your family.   I really like the idea of making numerous pages like that and include them in a special binder for the kids to use whenever they want.   And I can personalize the puzzle too like doing one with princesses for my daughter and another one with superheroes for the boys.   Using clear sleeves, the kids can use non-permanent markers in order to reuse the puzzles if they want.

You can also use some print-out poems in order to make to challenge them to read something different like this one from JRR Tolkien that I have found on Pinterest as well.

You could also print from step-by-step origami ideas, provide some special paper and let them create fun animals with it.   For girls you can decide to print paper dolls ideas like the Disney Princesses one or something more traditional.

Bottom line is that no matter the age of your own kids, you will find numerous ideas to organize fun time while traveling with your kids.   If you plan and take the time to search what would be good for your family, I seriously think you can make a dreadful trip into a fun one for everyone in the family.  So don’t hesitate in 2014.  Take the kids out on a long trip and enjoy every minute of it.

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