Being required to sit in one spot for hours on end can be a difficult task. Ease that by providing children things to stimulate their brains and bodies. Provide the tools that turn getting to your destination into a creative venture. As you plan your travels, consider packing the following:
Bring along both recorded music and things to make your own music. Stock a harmonica or simple a egg shaker. Bring a scarf or slinky and do the car seat dance.
Sculpting opportunities give the mind and hands a workout. Bring along wire, aluminum foil, string, modeling clay (not playdough because it’s just too crumbly when it begins to dry out), and a few good carving tools. And being on the road is a perfect time to try our window markers!
With all those bumps and curves, writing in the car can sometimes be frustrating for beginning writers. Pack writing materials that are easy to erase like white boards and dry erase pens. For pre-writers, bring along maze books, dot-to-dots and items for children to trace. Be sure to bring along an empty notebook to write family stories or take dictation from your kids. Consider attaching a pencil on a string to the hook in your car so you will always have your writing utensil when you need it.
Bring a variety of books: old favorites that your child will can read on their own, a new title your child has never seen, audio books, and of course your own personal stories to tell aloud.
When you are on the road, you are looking at the world through different eyes. Make sure you pack the tools that help you do that best. Binoculars help you check out the trees, hilltops, and the tallest, most unique buildings. Use a collapsible telescope to check out the view from the backseat. Or try stocking a magnifying glass to give your child hours of fun just exploring the back seat.
And when you are in need of a fresh activity try blowing bubbles, playing with magnets, using silly putting on your newspaper, and exploring with prisms.
Originally published in 2009.
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