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Summertime traveling-with-kids tips

by Traci Schumacher on Wed, 06/26/2013 - 10:04am

Summer vacation... that fabulous time to travel away from home to see some new sights, perhaps visit people, or simply kick back and relax. When traveling with kids, it surely helps to plan some ways to maintain everyone's sanity. Here are a few tips I like to use when we head off on an adventure.

Bring plenty of activities to amuse the kids during the “getting there” stage. Even if you use a DVD player or other electronic amusements (we bring a couple tablets for limited use), try to incorporate some other entertainment as well. I like to bring big activity books, pencils and washable markers, plain paper, books to read, and magnetic games. Each child gets their own bag of such goodies so things are not sliding around in the minivan.

It's a good idea to brush up on your car games while you're at it. I found a scavenger hunt game that has cards for different items the kids need to find (like a red barn or a fire hydrant). We also play “I'm going on a trip” and alphabet games, and sometimes someone will make up a new game. I've found my kids also enjoy having their own copy of a map showing where we are going so they can follow along and see how far we have left to travel.

This year I'm planning to bring along a couple books on CD. That way we can enjoy some stories, and the kids will get some credit for the Live Oak Public Libraries summer reading program.

Another key ingredient for a smooth car ride is to bring some drinks and snacks, along with small zipper locking baggies. I mostly plan on less messy snacks like pretzels or trail mix. When someone is hungry, I can put some pretzels in a baggie and send it to the back of the van without a problem. I always like to have some baby wipes on hand, too, because you never know who or what may need to be cleaned up for whatever reason.

If we plan to go to a very crowded place during our vacation, like a museum in a big city, a festival, or an amusement park, I like to coordinate the whole family in the same color shirts for that day. It sounds kind of silly, but it is really helpful for keeping the family group together in a crowd.

I'm sure everyone has their own little tips and tricks for making a trip go more smoothly. Feel free to share some of your tips in the comment section. And make it a great vacation!

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