Heading off on a March Break vacation is great way to spend quality time with your little ones – but sometimes getting to and from a destination can be so stress-inducing that you wonder if it was all worth it. A few hours in a confined space (like a car or airplane) with energetic kids can add years to your life. Here are some great travel tips from our Summerhill sitters, to help ensure you don’t come home from March Break needing another break.
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Let’s start with stickers. Stickers are great. Puffy stickers are ideal for smaller fingers, and a good sticker book allows you to minimize the number of stickers you have to peel off the tray-table on an airplane or your car’s backseat upholstery. One of our sitters swears by these Melissa & Doug sets, which are ‘reusable’ (although not infinitely), and allow kids to create different scenarios that add an element of imagination to standard sticker play.
Next up, have you heard of a Boogie Board? No, not the ones you body surf with, the ones you write on? These little boards are GENIUS! You write on an LCD screen, which is then erased at the click of a button. It’s a bit like a Magna Doodle for the digital age. Kids can use it to draw on, or you can use it to play hangman or tic tac toe. They are pretty indestructible too – somehow defying the scratches and dents that normally come from carrying toys around in bags for months.
Another great mess-free drawing option comes from the good folks at Crayola, and their Crayola Color Wonder line of products. It feels like witchcraft, but these markers and stamps allow kids to colour on the special paper provided but not on anything else. It’s a bit mind-blowing, really. There are different licensed kits (like Paw Patrol) or just blank paper.
Obviously, most parents are no stranger to the power of a screen to captivate little minds on long journeys. But, what if your kid is especially susceptible to motion sickness? We recommend going audio! There are some great kid-focused podcasts out there now (The Unexplainable Disappearance of Mars Patel is a fantastic award-winning story-based podcast for kids and But Why, put out by NPR, is great for curious youngsters.) An Audible subscription is also great, giving you access to a huge library of ‘books on tape’. (Maybe your road trip is the perfect time to get started on Harry Potter?
Back to screens for a minute, we encourage all our sitters to use www.commonsensemedia.org
to check potential content for anything scary or triggering, and to understand recommended ages. Our sitters also have lists of good books and movies that we can suggest – so don’t hesitate to reach out.
Summerhill sitters spend a lot of time with kids of all ages, and we’re always happy to send out an email to our roster with any specific questions that you might have. It takes a village, so let us be part of yours!
Allie + The Summerhill Club Team