Monday, March 10, 2014

Traveling with Kids - 9 Weeks Beating Boredom

At week 9 I took the time to think about how long we would be in planes, buses or trains. Then I thought about if I have enough patience for all those hours in a small space with nothing for the boys to do. 

My realization? 

Definitely not enough patience. What to do about it? That was my question.
We all know our children and their personalities, likes and dislikes so this portion will need to be individualized for each family. This is what I did to help save my sanity:)

1. My children love to read, watch movies and play an occasional video game or two. I opted to purchase Kindles for them to take with us. There are all sorts of different Kindles from e-readers to mini computers.  I watched for sales and was able to get a pretty good deal. The issues here are that all content must be downloaded before leaving (movies, books, apps, games). I downloaded different movies on each Kindle so that it tripled the movies we had access to. The same thing with the books for the older kids. I was concerned that they would use their devices instead of participating with the family, but since they aren't big "gamers" I won't worry about that. This will help on the flight and bus when there isn't anything to do.

2. I want my children to remember our travels and to document it however they want. With this in mind, I went in search of the perfect travel journal. When I couldn't find anything to fit the bill I created travel smash journals for each child to keep in their backpacks. They are set up to follow our itinerary with the names of the countries, towns, and attractions we will visit. There is plenty of space for them to write, draw, tape postcards and memorabilia inside, and glue photos in. I also included several pockets in which they could place anything in. The pages are different colors and sizes and so it looks fun and it is all theirs to do with what they please. Some pages ask questions like "What is the funniest thing you saw today" or "What kind of food did you eat?" I include other things to make it enjoyable and something they could pull out and fill in on the bus. Here are the finished products:

3. I want my kids to have some immediate photos to include in these journals. My husband and I bought a polaroid camera from amazon for another project and we are bringing it along. They are about $69 to buy and film runs about $1 per picture. The photos are business card size. We will have our nicer camera with us so we don't expect these photos to be stunning, just fun. We will be carefully choosing which photos to take because of how expensive the film is.

4. I put together useful phrases in 4 languages and laminated them. This way, they can take them along and start memorizing and learning a little before we get to that country. This keeps them busy, learning and they will have an opportunity to try out each language.
Bored you say? Go and study those phrases we will be there shortly. :)

5. A must have is a travel pillow and lightweight blanket so that they can sleep as much as possible. I also bring my lavender essential oil to rub on their feet helping them sleep better. I hope this will be the most used of all my ideas because they will be rested for any adventure we may have.