Travelling With Kids.

An article I wrote earlier today for Helium: 


We’ve all been there: You’re sitting on a plane or a train, and suddenly the child behind you starts incessantly kicking the back of your chair. You turn around only to find their father or mother completely oblivious, reading a novel or listening to music on their iPod. The child is clearly bored, and has nothing better to get up to. Perhaps you think to yourself, “Why doesn’t this kid have something to do!?” Even worse, what if you are about to go travelling with your child and you are that parent who has no idea how to entertain them on the way to your destination? Continue reading for some great ideas!

Before the Airport

Sure there are tons of places and shops to look at once you actually get to the airport, but what about the ride in the vehicle on the way to the airport? If your child is tall enough to see out of the front window of your vehicle, take turns looking out for license plates that come from different areas. Another option is bringing along a couple disposable cameras, and allowing your child to snap pictures of the scenery on the way to the airport. A disposable camera is also not too expensive to replace, just in case your child drops it accidentally. Purchase a pack of stickers for your child to decorate the disposable camera with as well. This adds a little extra fun to the activity, as well as helps develop their fine motor skills (i.e. mastering their “pincer grasp”).

Transition Times

You’ve finally arrived at the airport, or the train station and now have to wait a couple hours for your actual departure. Now what? Well, if you are at an airport you do have the luxury of being able to explore the different gift shops, restaurants and comfortable waiting areas. When those have been exhausted, your children may get bored. Now is the time for activities such as coloring. Coloring is a popular activity with both girls and boys, of many ages, so this can work for almost anyone. Be sure to have enough coloring markers/crayons/pencils and paper for everyone to share if you do have more than one child. If you have forgotten to bring along a coloring book or crayons, chances are the airport will have some for you to purchase. 

If your child knows how to read, bring along a couple of their favorite books, or the one they are currently reading. If they enjoy games, bring along a pack of cards and teach them a game that you used to play as a child, such as “Go Fish” or “Crazy 8’s”. Try playing “Mad Libs” together and making up silly stories. This can actually be a great bonding opportunity for you and the kids. 

On the Way!

You are now on the plane or train. The children are so excited for the coming adventure that they are becoming restless. What to do!? Well, since you already have the coloring books and crayons, the children can continue that activity or choose to do something else. If you are fine with handheld video games, you can allow them to play on the console during the trip. Have the kids listen to some music or watch a movie on a mini DVD player. If your little ones are tuckered out easily by travelling, don’t forget to bring a small, plushy pillow and travel sized blanket to allow them some quiet resting time while you are on your way. Most important of all, have a fun and safe time travelling with your children! 



7 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Great ideas Nikki. I’m passing them on to my kids, to use with my grandkids.

  2. 3

    Elie said,

    Thanks for the advice, I have three children and it is hard to keep them occupied on long car trips. We have only flown twice and it was a long time ago but I think they had coloring books and crayons if I am remembering correctly.

  3. 5

    I haven’t flown since 9/11 and my only child is grown, but I can see that your advice would be helpful to parents.

  4. 6

    coastalmom said,

    Loved this! And may I add one more thing? Enjoy the heck out of those trips… no matter how frustrating! I remember when I could say, “Hey how about McDonalds? Or ya wanna go to Walmart?” And they would gasp with glee. Now my own baby has lived in LA for five years without me and has her own Disney pass!
    We freak out when our kids might be too loud or kick a seat but after about a decade there are many more decades without those kids. Sure, they are adults and so fun in their own right but believe me, you WILL miss those loud little munchkin days too!
    Love your blog! Great proactive ideas to make the moments magic rather than miserable! ;0

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