Their trip is about 21 hours over a two days, so the family counts the number of states that they will be traveling through, including their state and the destination state of Florida. For this trip the total is five states. The plan is talked about in advance, and the children know that once they enter a new state they will each be able to open a Christmas gift. How exciting can this be for children!
Each set of gifts for Rachel’s two children are wrapped in identical paper so it is very easy for a small child to reach into the bag and pull out two identically wrapped gifts. Of course, they take turns retrieving the gifts. None of the gifts were expensive. Rachel found some silly, fill in the words, Madlibs books at www.madlibs.com. These are age appropriate, but the whole family can fill in the blanks in the story and then read it aloud. “It was hilarious, and we spent a lot of time reading a story again and again. Also, I noticed that I could see the kids learning what word was a verb, or a noun, without any effort. So when I would say, ‘Give me a word that is a verb such as running’, even my youngest was getting into it easily, and we really had fun”, recalled Rachel.
Rachel had also found great games and other ideas for traveling with children at www.momsminivan.com. It is a terrific website with age appropriate ideas for activities, printable materials, and reading materials. She also wrapped regular crayons and coloring books, I Spy Flash Cards, Bendaroos, flexible building sticks, found at www.bendaroo.com, and a Crayola Glow Station which can be found at www.Crayola.com.
Part of this plan for Rachel’s family is the children have the choice of waiting for Christmas Eve and opening gifts all at once or opening some gifts state-by-state. They have always wanted to open gifts along the way, so the traveling gifts did not add expense to the family budget for presents and lowered the stress while traveling.
I think in a short time the children will be reading the map and spelling the states. Rachel has always been good with ideas for children, except when she gave my littlest one a 300 piece “bracelet making” kit, but that was before she had her children. Please send me any of your great “traveling with children ideas”, and I will share them with all who read this blog.