Travel before you have kids they say, you won’t be able to once you do! I’m not sure who decided having kids was the end of travel but whoever did never met me and I’m sure they never met you either since you’re reading this article. Having traveled with my four and six-year-old to six continents, 27 countries, and 13 states, I’m providing my tried and true tips to keeping little ones entertained while traveling. Whether you’re traveling by train, plane, or car these tips will keep you sane.
Read a Book
With lots of time to spare during travel, having your kids read or reading to them is a great way to pass the time. Packing their favorite books can take up a lot of space and be heavy to carry so consider downloadable eBooks you can read off your phone or tablet.
Put Together a Puzzle
Who doesn’t love puzzles? There are lots of travel sized puzzles perfect for passing the time when traveling. You and your child can put them together on the tray table in flight, your table on the train or even in the car if you’re using an activity tray.
When driving, taking the train or waiting at the airport you can play Bingo. This isn’t your regular Bingo with numbers, instead you’ll be looking out the window to find things you might see during your travels. When driving these objects may be a red car, Florida license plate, MPH street sign and similar objects. When waiting at the airport for your flight these objects could be a backpack, purple luggage, a pilot and more. It’s a great way to pass the time and enjoy the scenery.
Traveling gives the perfect opportunity to learn. When my kids were younger, we often used this time to practice our ABC’s and 123’s. Now that they’re older they practice their handwriting and learning new words. Regardless of the age of your kids LeapFrog has a product that will keep your kids entertained while learning. My daughter's favorite is the LeapFrog® Mr. Pencil's ABC Backpack™ (3-6 years old).
This backpack helps kids learn the letters of the alphabet and how to write them step-by-step. It also teaches kids about animals and how to draw them. I love how it gives her the responsibility of carrying her own things and makes it convenient to carry. She can easily bring it anywhere and use it when we’re at a restaurant or other places she might otherwise get bored.
My eldest daughter who is six loves using the LeapFrog® Mr. Pencil's Scribble & Write™ as it helps her with spelling. It’s a great way to pass the time when traveling and waiting for our food at a restaurant. She loves that she can type the words and I love that she can also practice her handwriting with the free drawing option too.
LeapFrog® has a wide variety of educational products for kids ages 0-9 years old so it’s easy to find the perfect product for your child. For younger kids I recommend the LeapFrog® Level Up & Learn Controller™ (ages 6 - 36 months), the LeapFrog® My First Learning Tablet™ (ages 1 - 3 years old), and the LeapFrog® 100 Animals Book™(ages 18 – 48 months). While my kids have outgrown these, they loved using them when they were younger.
The LeapFrog® My First Learning Tablet™ teaches letters, numbers, shapes, colors, the weather and has fun songs and stories. The tablet includes interactions with Scout, which always made my girls happy. Since they love animals, the LeapFrog® 100 Animals Book™ was a hit. It allows children to explore and learn about animals from all over the world. It teaches them the animal name, sounds and fun facts about each one. Kids also love to talk on the phone so the LeapFrog® Chat & Count Emoji Phone™ (ages 18 – 48 months) got a lot of use. Kids can have conversations with Scout, count with him and watch videos of his day.
Have a Playlist Ready of Your Child’s Favorite Songs
Like most kids, my girls love music, so we always have a playlist ready for them to listen to with age appropriate songs. If we’re on a plane or train they have to use headphones but when we’re in the car we like to sing karaoke style to get the whole family involved. Be sure to download the songs directly to their device as you won’t always have service even in the car since you might drive through an area with poor service.
Traveling with kids is a beautiful experience. The real fun starts when you arrive at your destination, but you can still have lots of fun on your way there!
Monet Hambrick is a family travel blogger, freelance travel writer, and author of the children's book The Traveling Child Goes to Rio de Janeiro. Her blog, The Traveling Child, inspires parents to travel the world with their kids while providing tips to make it easier and affordable. Her motto is “if kids live there, kids can visit” and you’ll often find her family exploring destinations most don’t consider “kid friendly”.