Tot-Time Tuesday- Traveling Time- Screen Free Ideas

Tot-Time Tuesday Traveling

We went on a short family trip over the weekend.  I knew that we would be spending a bit of time in the van- about 3 hours each way. Although the kids would have been thrilled to watch movies the whole time, I wanted at least one way of the trip to be completely screen-free. With a little research and a few Pinterest searches, I came up with some ideas.

Here is what we did…

Tot-Time Tuesday- TravelingTimes

We started our trip off with a quick trip to Wendy’s (no fast food judgments-LOL.) My son found a creative (and disgusting) way to entertain himself. I also had plenty of other healthy snacks on hand. Granola bars, dried fruit, pretzels, almonds, and Annie’s Organic Fruit Snacks. The fruit snacks were a hit. I rarely buy them so they were a treat for the kids to eat.

tot time tuesdy dressup tot time tuesday dressup 2

The Kid’s Meals came with a toy (King Julien’s crown) which provided about 5 minutes of entertainment.  And since we like to “Move it, Move it”….

Music and Traveling

We had some great music to listen to in the van. Yes, we are that family! We sing loudly and “dance” in our seats. Recently, my son has started to demand “MUCK” “MUCK” (translation “music, music”) from his car seat and we are happy to oblige with a “please” and “thank you.”

Our top music album choice this weekend was TOBYMAC’s ***THIS IS NOT A TEST*** This album was just released August 7th. It is a great collection of soulful dance and pop music. With family friendly and uplifting lyrics, it is hard not to move or be in a good mood listening to it.

Check it out! http://tobymac.com/

Coloring on a Car Trip

I was surprised at how long coloring occupied my little guy. Before the trip, I printed out free coloring pages of some of my son’s favorite things- tractors and monster trucks. I put them all on a clip board and handed him one crayon at a time. I was afraid to give him more than one as the whole crayon box would have been poured out. This was also a great time to practice and reinforce color recognition. “Oh, you want a GREEN crayon.” “Sure, here is a GREEN crayon.” It is amazing how much learning is done naturally.

bingo

For my older girls, I found some fun car bingo sheets. We are still working on reading skills, so I loved the one from Stuck On You. This BINGO sheet had pictures AND words. It was simple and clean looking.  (link below)

http://www.stuckonyou.com.au/ourblog/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/cartripbingo.pdf

For older kids try: http://www.free-puzzles.net/travel-games-for-kids/printable-games/scavenger-hunt/scavenger-hunt.pdf

Gold Balls and Pipe Cleaners

We did not get to use this in the car but we used it in the hotel. I found this idea online and modified it for my family. I purchased practice golf balls and had a bunch of pipe cleaners. The kids stuck the pipe cleaners through the holes (fine-motor skills) and created “creatures.”  Or try to lace one pipe cleaner through all the holes. I tried but couldn’t do it.  Even my husband got in on the fun. 🙂

pipe cleaners pipe cleaners and golfballs

I was prepared with other ideas but we did not have a chance to use them. I came across some cute and great resources on Dating Diva’s site . http://www.thedatingdivas.com/tara/the-road-trip-date

Their Road Trip FINAL QUESTIONNAIRE  was great but the questions were geared for a husband and wife trip. I came up with my own questionnaire that could be used with the whole family. (See PDF below.) It’s going to be a great way to get the family talking on our next road trip. Something to look forward to on our next adventure!

Road Trip Family Questionnaire

Click below for PDF

Road Trip Family Questionnaire


Our Summer Bucket List- Camping Edition #1

On Sunday afternoon, we decided that it was time to check camping off our Summer Bucket List. We packed the kids in the car, drove to the sporting goods store and purchased an eight-person tent and a queen sized air mattress. My husband and I decided that the kids would have to sleep on a skinny mats because that is what we had to do and before one gets to sleep in “comfort” one needs earn a certain number of hours in camping experience.

DSC_0380

We set the tent up in the backyard. Pumped up the air mattress. The kids unrolled the mats and sleeping bags. They brought out a few comforts from home- stuffed animals, blankies, and flashlights.We sat up in our tent talking. We made s’mores  and washed up in the house before ZIPPED the tent for the night.

It wasn’t long before the girls were fast asleep on their mats. My son had a hard time sleeping on a mat so we pulled him in between us. It took a good amount of time for him to fall asleep. But once he was asleep, he stayed asleep, on the air mattress, in between my husband and I. We never would have allowed our girls to do this but that is what happened when you are two, the baby of the family, and your parents are old and tired.

Here is how the night went for me:

10:00 PM- My son fell asleep.

10:00PM -11:30PM (?) A metal “dink” sound came from a neighboring yard….dink… dink…dink…It was loud and inconsistent. The type of noise that prevents you from falling asleep. We could not figure out what the noise was but a day later, we saw our neighbor’s son practicing hitting baseballs with his swing trainer. The same “dink” noise followed with each hit and the mystery was solved.

12:30 AM A loud meowing sound came from outside the tent. Our cat had been accidentally left outside and needed to be put in the house. UNZIP the tent. I enticed the cat into the house with treats. Back to the tent. UNZIP to get in and ZIPPED close again.

12:45 AM  The meowing sound AGAIN. I had left the sliding door open and could hear the car meowing wanting to come out back out. UNZIP the tent. Close the sliding door. UNZIP and ZIP the tent again.

1:00AM-4:00AM Various noises outside the tent. Apples dropping from the apple tree. Rustling noises from the woods behind our house. Some animal sniffing around and rubbing up against the tent. My husband says it was a bunny. I say it was something WAY bigger. Regardless, it kept us both up. This was added to the constant sleep interruption by my son’s feet in my face and his body rolling over my head.

DSC_0372

4:30AM Sunrise! Beautiful morning but the kids were still sleeping (thank the good Lord.) The peaceful sound of birds tweeting lulled me back to sleep.

6:00 AM- Kids up. We woke up. Time to take on the day!

DSC_0373

We made breakfast outside on a small camp stove and played Hello Kitty Uno with the girls. We didn’t look at computers or cellphone. The very-short break away from social media was nice.We laughed at the events of the night and imagined what animal really was lurking around our tent. My husband and I were both relaxed.  The kids were having a great time too.We were fully present and having fun.  Total fun score- 85% (15% off for no sleep.) But we can deal with no sleep. We have taken care of three newborns and survived.

With a successful camp-out under our belts, we packed up our camping gear. Rolled up the mats and sleeping bags. Deflated the air mattress. Took down the tent and packed it away. Our backyard was no longer a campsite.

My husband and I decided that this camping thing would be good for our family. My husband went to the basement and pulled out our old camping gear (stuff that has not been used in about 10 years.) We sorted and cleaned and prepared totes for our next adventure. When all of that was finished, we made a reservation for a campsite at a state park. With all the enthusiasm and expectation of great things to come, we are looking forward to our overnight trip. We are happy that we followed through with the activity on our bucket list. This small adventure will lead to many more and memories that will be last a lifetime.