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GUEST POST: Travel Activities for Kids

by Sarah on October 8th, 2012

I asked Sally MacKenzie,a friend of mine who’s an occupational therapist,  if I could share parts of an article which she wrote that I found so useful when planning our trip to Australia. She had so many useful ideas of travel activities, which other moms and therapists also shared with her. Some are more suited to driving in your own car (ie. the messy, noisy ones) and others would work well on airoplanes too.

  • Have boxes or bags of various activities to pull out at different stages.
  • Box of fiddles: Bubblewrap, Scoobydoo wire, Pipecleaners, Elastic bands, prestik.
  • ZipLocBag (sealed with tape) or something stronger filled with rice and small objects (beads, plastic bugs, paperclips, matches, etc), then child must find the objects. Some children will tend to make holes and push small bits through and make wonderful mess.
  • Balloons on sticks. Balloons off sticks. Balloons on a string.
  • Squashy squeezy stress balls – Commercially available or you can stuff balloons with play dough, rice, seeds, maizena, flour, sand, cotton wool. Can put another balloon around the first for extra strength.
  • Shop at inexpensive stores before trip for bits and bobs – bringing out a novel toy may save the day. Keep a few surprises.
  • Buy them a new small toy animal, vehicle, man to play make believe with, make a story with.
  • Books – touchy feely always good.
  • Music – sing-a-long songs, action songs, bring out a few musical instruments – shakers, castinets. (Don’t have music on the whole time. Put it on in bursts, have it loud, enjoy it, then turn it off).
  • Wrapping up all these kinds of things you would give them anyway (snack, toy, book), then when they have to find e.g. a windmill, then they can open one thing.
  • Sticker books
  • Snacks – popcorn, chewing gum, carrots, pickles, cucumber, dried mango, savoury biscuits, rice cakes, fruit rolls, liquorice, wine gums, jelly babies (try and keep sugary snacks as last resort).
  • Thread an Otee/Cherrio necklace, then eat one by one.
  • Magnetic drawing boards
  • Blow activities: noiseless whistles, mouth organs
  • Suck activities: long straw with a Yogisip
  • Weighted blankets to help calm them, or help them sleep longer
  • Attach a polystyrene bag on their laps as a work station so they have something to put their sticker book on.
  • Simple games – “I spy” with colours

Thanks so much, Sally!


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