Family vacations are a great opportunity for families to come together and bond with each other. There can also be a great amount of stress involved in family vacations. Lengthy trips that involve a good deal of waiting is usually when travelers run out of patience and tempers can start to flair. There are a number of options that parents have at their disposal though to make traveling with young ones a little more bearable. Whether traveling by air or by car, packing along a few small games and other activities is a great way to make sure that children of all ages stay occupied while traveling and don’t fall victim to the boredom and frustration that comes with long periods of inactivity.
One of the best distractions for kids of all ages is games. Depending on the ages of the children involved, there are a number of travel games that can be played while traveling. Older children may be able to entertain themselves with games and other activities on laptop computers or portable game systems, while younger children may function better with standard games. For those with laptops, there are a number of sources online to download games that can then be played on the computer. Though some of the better games are usually sold for a price, there are also a number of places online that allow games to be downloaded at no charge for anyone wishing to play them. Most department and electronics stores also offer computer games or games for portable game systems for sale that can be played while traveling.
Another kind of game that isn’t thought of as much these days, but can be equally fun are in-car games. These types of games include the famous license plate game, the alphabet game, and the famous I Spy game. Playing these types of games in the car can sometimes be more fun because they allow group interaction among the children and parents alike.
There are a number of other ideas that can work, depending on the ages of the children involved to not only allow kids to pass the time, but also add to their trip. Some of these ideas include the following:
For Infants And Toddlers
Entertaining very small children is a lot different than entertaining pre-teens and teenagers. Often all it takes are small rattles or brightly colored blocks to entertain an infant. Toddlers may be more entertained with nested containers, books, and creativy toys. There are a number of other toys that can entertain small children like magnetic stick-together shapes, pop-up books, bubbles, plush animals that talk or interact with kids, wind-up toys, sticker or activity books, small dry erase boards, .plastic dinosaurs or army men, and finger puppets.
For Older Children
Entertaining older children can sometimes be more challenging depending on the method of travel. While gaining their attention is sometimes more difficult, they do have more options available to them in terms of toys and activities. To entertain older kids pack along things like tattoos, activity books, hand held electronic games, puzzles, card games, silly putty, personal music players, small cars, comic books, blank paper and notebooks, travel versions of famous board games, and legos or other building blocks.
While all of these are great ideas for entertaining kids while they are pent up in a car or airplane for a long trip, parents may not like delaying their trek, but some of the best activities for kids involve stopping and getting out of the car. This may not be possible during airplane vacations, but during driving vacations stopping and participating in an outdoor activity as space or time allows can pay off in the long run. Some of the great things to pack along for this type of purpose are baseball glove and a ball, flying discs, picnic blanket, and a bug or leaf collecting kit. Often just a few minutes outside the car is all it takes for kids to get a chance to stretch their legs and feel less like they are being overly confined.
While family vacations are great ways to encounter new experiences, have a lot of fun, and come together as a unit, they also are filled with a great deal of opportunity for negative experiences because of the stress that can sometimes be involved. Alleviating this stress can be as simple as distracting kids from the boring or confining portions of a trip. When the kids are happy, the parents are under a lot less stress, and when the parents are under less stress, the whole family has a much better shot at getting along together.