Vacations should be a blast for the whole family! But traveling with kids isn’t always easy…
For smooth sailing during your travels with kids, planning ahead and ensuring you have the right “tools” to keep them occupied is key. Follow along for our favorite tips and toys that help make any family trip or vacation a smooth one!
Tip #1: Timing is Everything
Sometimes, trips require a certain timeline. But if possible, time your travels around your kids’ current schedule. If they routinely nap or go to bed at a certain time of day, get them settled in under those seat belts and let them sleep while you’re getting a head start on the miles.
Tip #2: Keep Their Hands Busy
Toys and activities like fidget spinners, bubble pops, or coloring books are all great options for keeping little fingers out of trouble! Squishmallows or a favorite stuffed animal are also great travel companions to help keep your kids preoccupied!
One traveling mom who works in the Ladies’ Apparel department at Hamrick’s recently shared what kept her sweet 7-year-old, Emma Ruth, busy during a trip to the beach…
“Ranking #1 on Emma’s list was her Squishmallow! She held it on the golf cart like it was a pet. She already owns 10 of them, so she didn’t need to purchase one when we visited Hamrick’s at the beach. But she would have brought all 10 if we didn’t allow only one!”
Emma Ruth and her family also made sure to snag some new coloring books, sketch pads, and play sets while at Hamrick’s during their vacation! These products helped keep her occupied during down time at the beach house and during the long car rides. She also enjoyed water toys and playing games on an iPad along the way!
Tip #3: Keep Their Eyes Busy, Too!
Enter: The scavenger hunt. Whether you’re traveling by car, boat, plane, or train, there are so many things your kids can keep an eye out for on the way to your final destination!
Depending on their interest, you can make it a competition, a teamwork-based activity, or a solo challenge. This game not only keeps their attention, but also gives them the opportunity to feel a sense of accomplishment and learn about new things as they go.
Tip #4: Come Prepared
Thoughtful preparation will be your saving grace. Making sure you have what your kids may need ahead of time will (hopefully) help prevent any fits, crocodile tears, or unnecessary pit stops along the way.
How to prep: Make a checklist of everything you’ll need in advance. Include items like blankets, toys, snacks, or any other entertaining products that your youngin’s have been into lately. The more prepared you are with items they want/need, the less stressed the whole group will feel.
Tip #5: Replace the Repetitive Tot Tunes
Sick of listening to typical kids tunes on repeat? Family-friendly audiobooks or podcasts can be a great replacement! You may even catch your kids quoting one during the trip…
Pro tip: Listen carefully for questions to ask when the book or podcast ends. Inquire about their takeaways, which character they enjoyed most, or even what questions they have after listening. If they’re old enough to take part, this will help turn passive listening into an interactive experience!
Tip #6: Play the Question Game
We all know kids LOVE to ask questions… But simple questions for parents can be head-scratchers for kids. If your kids are old enough to talk, keep them busy by asking engaging questions during your travels. Get them thinking about a wide range of topics. A few examples of questions to ask could include:
- What’s your favorite thing about grandma? (this works for all family members and will encourage your kids to focus on the qualities they appreciate most in each person)
- If you could make all the rules in the world, what would they be?
- If you could have any creature on Earth for a pet, what would you choose?
- What’s your favorite holiday and why?
- What’s one thing you hope happens on this trip?
Not only will these questions help you keep your kiddos busy, you can also record them and revisit their answers in the future for a nostalgic trip down memory lane!
Tip #7: Choose Their Screen Time Wisely
Last but not least… Screen time is BIG with most kids these days. If you approve, bring along a tablet or other streaming device and let them watch a show or movie (or even play a pre-downloaded game).
Choose your time wisely, spacing this activity out between others. This way, you can plan to use the screen time to mitigate any tiredness or grumpiness during a difficult time of day. A couple of hours of quiet focus is good for everyone in the group!
Have a vacation coming up? Need products or ideas for keeping your kiddos entertained? Stop into your nearest Hamrick’s for everything you need to keep them happy and make it a memorable Summer. Find a Hamrick’s near you here to get to shopping!