Summer is upon us, and for many families, that means long trips in the car with antsy kids in the back, driving to and from the cottage or Airbnb rental.
How can you keep little spirits high for hours on end—ideally while keeping them off iPads and iPhone screens? Look no further than the classic activities of the 80s and 90s: simple, fun, interactive activities to keep kids entertained (without a mess!) Even better, many of these activities can be enjoyed by the whole family.
1. No Mess Art Activities
No mess painting
• Special watercolor painting sheets allow kids to “paint” with a water brush: colors magically appear on the page, and because they magically disappear once dry, the sheets can be used over - and over - again.
No mess coloring
• Brands like Crayola sell clear marker and paper kits. The color activates on the coloring sheets, not skin, clothing, or car interiors!
No mess drawing boards
• Drawing tablets provide a variety of activities like drawing, doodling, playing games like tic-tac-toe, or practicing shapes, ABCs, or spelling. Simply erase with the touch of a button and start a new page all over again.
• If your child is old enough to read on their own, a selection of chapter books, graphic novels or comic books will keep them thoughtfully engaged.
• Younger children can benefit from board or picture books or parents or older siblings can read them a story.
• Take turns reading aloud with children who are learning to read.
• Hit the library for some audio books before your trip. They're an especially good solution for younger kids or kids prone to car sickness from reading.
• Kids love telling jokes! Promise - the corny jokes are worth it to keep your little ones laughing out loud!
Magnetic board games
• There are so many magnetic games available designed especially for travel including bingo, tic tac toe, checkers, solitaire, matching games, dress up dolls, puzzles and more.
• An inexpensive dollar store baking sheet provides an even larger surface for kids to play on.
Game & Activity sheets
• Bring a binder with simple activity sheets in clear plastic sleeves to be used with a dry erase marker, including tic tac toe, hangman, bingo, mazes, word searches etc. (Tip: you can find a TON of free printables online!)
• Once done, simply wipe clean and start again!
• Classic car games are great because they require zero preparation, can be tailored to suit kids of any age and the entire family can take part. Have fun playing these classics:
• I Spy
• Counting games (count the red cars etc)
• Licence plate games
• 20 questions
• The alphabet game (come up with a topic and each person takes a turn naming an item until you make your way through the entire alphabet.)
4. Sticker books and stickers!!!
• Stickers are irresistible for kids, no matter their age. Children wouldn't be children if they weren't drawn to the stickers' vibrant colours, bright designs and the fact that they can decorate anything!
• With a Sticker Party sticker subscription, the monthly sticker mail-outs can be saved for a weekend trip to surprise and delight the littles. Kids will be occupied for HOURS as they fill up, organize, and design the pages of their sticker book!
• Every Sticker Party order comes with its own old school sticker book—just like we had back in the day! Open the spiral-bound cover, peel back the transparency and lay out those stickers however you choose... Do you sort by colour? theme?? sticker type??? The choice is yours!
This year, our family is headed out on a plane via Swoop Airlines to Halifax, Nova Scotia. We've never been, even though the flight is only 2 hours from the Hamilton airport. It may sound short, but even 2 hours can feel like forever if the kids don't have enough to do. And, we'll be packing the stickers, you can be sure!
Have a wonderful summer, everyone!