Twelve Days of Festive Travel Tips

Nimet Yusuf
  1. It’s always a good idea to plan ahead. Make lists of necessities for children. Whether travelling by air or on the road, be sure to take extra clothing, wet wipes, small juice boxes and snack food. Make sure you have zip-lock bags to pack things into. Some extra bags are always handy too, if you have wet clothes, unfinished food etc. Ask your children for ideas of things they might need. Children like to be involved in decision making.
  2. Have a variety of foods available in small packages. Children can eat small amounts frequently rather than have one large pack. A surprise mix can keep them entertained if you mix different things in the bag. The mix could contain anything including raisins, goldfish crackers, cereal, dried fruit pieces, and small candy such as Smarties. Children enjoy picking out the things they like to eat first. Don’t use chocolate or messy foods you’ll be sure to regret that. As they eat each piece ask them to count the number of pieces they have eaten in total. This could become a math activity.
  3. Before leaving check on-line for kid friendly activities at your destination. When children are out of their home environment they need to be kept entertained in different ways. Offer some suggestions to your child and let them chose the one activity they would like to do. Making choices is a developmental skill for all children.
  4. Have something to draw on whether it’s paper and pencil, crayons or markers; an electronic doodle pad; a mini white board or even the old favourite, Etch-a Sketch. There’s even an online version of Etch-a-sketch if you have a tablet and Wi-Fi availability. Drawing and sketching develops fine motor skills.
  5. Wrap a number of small gift items and every hour give one to the child to open if they have shown good behaviour. They learn to be patient and keep themselves occupied until the next gift is given out. Have a little fun by playing a guessing game before they unwrap each gift. Ask questions – what colour do you think it is? What sound does it make if you shake it? What shape is it?
  6. Books are a must. Children like familiar stories and can read them many times over. Stories that have repetitive phrases and/or rhymes that encourage participation are the best way to keep children involved in the story. Developing the love of reading is one of our primary goals as parents and educators.
  7. Stickers are always a favourite with young children. Give them lots of variety to choose from and a small book to put them in. You can write numbers at the top of each page. Children then have to put the right number of stickers on each page. This is an easy way to develop number recognition skills.
  8. If you’re flying with young children is usually better to take early flights as there’s less chance of delays in scheduling. If you’re flying with young children also be sure to wear layers of clothing as you never know what the temperature will be like on board the plane or at your final destination. No one likes to spend a long time waiting for a flight to embark especially young children.
  9. Pipe cleaners are a light and easy toy. They can be made into many different shapes and 3-D objects. Children like to put them together and take them apart. Manipulating different types of materials encourages fine motor skills.
  10. Older children like games whether it’s tic-tac-toe, join the dots or travel sets of games such as checkers, or snakes and ladders. Just make sure there are not too many small pieces than can easily get lost. Games of strategy are great for developing thinking skills.
  11. One way to keep young children entertained for a long time is to give them catalogues to look through, especially toy catalogues. Talk about all the different toys, look for differences, similarities and sets of things. Those types of discussions encourage math and thinking skills.
  12. If you’re creative and can sew on a button, make a button cloth for little ones. Sew a number of different sized and different coloured buttons onto a piece of fabric. Cut different shapes out of felt and create a slit in the felt for the buttonhole. Give your child the cloth and the felt pieces and they can spend endless hours practicing how to do buttoning.  Developing fine motor skills will ultimately help with printing and writing skills.

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