Things to Leave at Home on a Long Car Ride
When taking a road trip or long car ride with kids, keeping them busy is key. Having grown up in a sizable family and now being blessed with a large family of my own, I've learned a great deal. There are some things you just don't take in a vehicle when you have kids with you. I recently recommended the Best Road Trip Toys for Kids. However, some other things can be tempting to bring that are actually a bad idea. Here's what not to bring on a road trip with kids.
Puzzles a Big No-No on Road Trips
Puzzles can keep kids bus for hours on end and are highly educational. So why are they a bad idea for road trips? Way too many pieces to keep track of - not to mention the issue of where it would be assembled. Sure there are lap trays. But what happens when the vehicle is moving too much or the kids are goofing off? You got it - lots of tine pieces scattered all over the van or car and unhappy kids and parents. Save the puzzles for home or for rainy days at the hotel.
Portable Video Games Fail
Yes, I know that some moms recommend portable video games. Not this mom. If a child's head is in the video games, scenery can be missed. Also, entertainment that involves family interaction is generally the point of a family road trip. Portable video games can be a distraction to that. They also may cause arguments if there's only one device and multiple kids. It's best to leave the video games at home and enjoy each other instead.
Blocks and Other Assembly Toys Spell Trouble
Blocks and other assembly toys with multiple pieces can be a big no-no in the car with kids. Think scattered pieces on the floor and possibly kids getting hurt by tripping on them when getting in or out. Especially bad are pieces that roll, such as marbles. These may get stuck under the brake or gas pedal at the wrong moment. This scenario won't be good for anyone. Leave toys with small pieces at home and try an Etch-a-Sketch instead.
Noisy Toys Cause Commotion
Noisy toys can be great in some instances - wait, did I just say I liked noisy toys? Scratch that. Anyhow, if toys are creating a ruckus, it can be hard for the driver to concentrate. These are definitely on the list of what not to bring on road trips with kids for that reason and more. If the kids are already noisy, who wants to add more noise? Instead, choose more peaceful toys and activities. This will be more relaxing for the kids and the driver.
by Lyn Lomasi, Write W.A.V.E. Media Staff
Pile the kids, the the suitcases, and the ice chest in the car and you're ready to go on your vacation or road trip, right? Wrong. Without something to keep them busy, those kids are going to be antsy in a hurry. So what are the ten favorite busy toys on our big family's road trip and vacation list? By order choice of the kids, here they are, saving the best busy toy for last.
Busy Road Trip Toy #10: Video Games
While video games are not my favorite thing for kids to play with, they can sometimes be beneficial to keep kids busy and entertained when used in moderation. They are great for travel, only if there are headphones and a game system for each kid. Otherwise, be prepared for noise and arguments. Video games suitable for traveling can come as a low-cost hand-held with one or two games pre-installed or as a portable game system, such as the Nintendo DS or Sony PSP. These game systems will have games that come on cartridges that can be inserted into a slot for play.
Busy Road Trip Toy #9: One-Piece Puzzles
One-piece puzzles, such as the Rubik's Cube or the Tangle Jr. are great for entertaining kids on long car rides. These take time to figure out and it can be exciting for the kids as they complete each step. In addition to Rubik's Cube and Tangle puzzles, pocket-size maze and pinball games also are great one-piece puzzles.
Busy Road Trip Toy #8: Etch-a Sketch
The Etch-a-Sketch is a classic busy toy for kids and is still one of the best busy toys for long road trips. Etch-a-Sketch is a good example of a toy that is not only entertaining, but also can relieve stress and enhances creativity in the brain.
Busy Road Trip Toy #7: Trivia Cards
Most kids enjoy playing trivia games, such as "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader" or "Brainquest". Many people with kids have at least one trivia game lying around. To make a trivia game more adaptable to a road trip, simply use only the cards that come with the game or purchase the travel addition, if applicable. Leave everything but the cards at home. To play trivia in a car, just ask the questions and whoever shouts the answer first gets the point. If you choose to keep score, a notebook can be used. My kids love trivia and request it often, whether at home or in the car.
Busy Road Trip Toy #6: Pencil & Word Puzzles
Crossword puzzles, tic-tac-toe, word searches, Sudoku, and other pencil puzzles are great for road trips. Not only are they fun for the kids, but they can also be educational. Pencil puzzles are a sure bet in our household when it's time to choose busy toys for family road trips.
Busy Road Trip Toy #5: Mad Libs
Mad Libs are technically a pencil puzzle, but since they are so fun, our family would give them their own category. You can either purchase a Mad Libs book or take along a notebook and make your own. Either way, this is a great way for a family to get in some laughs together. Some of the stories can really turn out hilarious. We like to keep the best ones for reading at a later date when someone needs a good laugh.
Busy Road Trip Toy #4: Journal
Not only are journals a great way to keep kids busy, but they can be dual-purpose by providing a source for the family to look back on for memories. Plus, it gives parents that fun, but sneaky way way of fitting in that writing practice kids should have every day.
Busy Road Trip Toy #3: Books
Reading should be a huge part of a child's life. It's needed for so many daily and life activities and responsibilities. A road trip is a great time to fit in some extra reading. Letting the kids pick their own books can help ensure that they will actually read them.
Busy Road Trip Toy #2: Coloring Books & Crayons
Coloring books and crayons are always a big hit for road trips with kids. Most kids enjoy coloring and it's a fun, yet calming activity that will keep them busy for a while. To throw in some education with it, just choose coloring books accordingly, such as a shapes and colors one for preschoolers or or a world geography one for teens. Yes, many teens do still color. And who are you trying to fool anyway? Many adults do also.
Busy Road Trip Toy #1: Mom
By kids choice, the best road trip toy of all is mom. No kidding. Yup, that's right. The best toy is free. Depending on your family, a dad or a big sister could hold this position instead. This is the person with all the jokes, songs, silly stories, scary stories, and creative ideas. No packing is needed for this busy toy. Feel free to substitute as necessary.
What Not to Bring on a Road Trip With Kids
*I originally published this via Yahoo Contributor Network
*One or more products or companies may be mentioned in this post. The author may benefit from affiliate sales, if applicable sales are made. However, the author did not receive any direct compensation or monetary benefit from mentioning these products.
As a mother and former nanny, I've heard of too many instances in which permanently restricting toys from children was suggested. Either the parents felt the kids were making a mess of them, they were too old for toys, or that toys were unnecessary. While I agree that kids do not need every gadget and gizmo out there, they do need to own some toys. In fact, there are many reasons children need to play with toys and significant research to back up that fact.
History of Toys
It's probably safe to say that no one knows for sure exactly when and where the first toy was invented. They've been around for ages, possibly since the beginning of the human race. No matter the culture or country, most kids can be found playing with some sort of toy. While we can't trace the history of toys altogether, it can be interesting to peek back in time and trace the history of specific toys. IdeaFinder.com has some fun listings to explore from various toys and time periods.
Benefits of Toys
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), playing with toys is beneficial to a child's social, cognitive, physical, and emotional well-being. The same report makes the point that playing with toys is recognized by the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights as being one of the rights every child has. The Museum of Play considers play a critical part of learning and human development. Playing with toys increases academic success, as well as promotes success once children grow into adults. The Elements of Play can help define play for parents, educators, and scholars.
Which Toys are Best?
Which toys are best will actually depend on each individual child. When choosing the best toys for kids, think of the value of the toy itself. Consider your child's interest in it, how long it will last, what purpose it will serve, and also general safety. Blocks and puzzles can help with problem-solving and other cognitive development. Dolls and other role playing toys can help children with expression and imagination. Paints and other artistic toys help develop creativity. Sports toys, such as bicycles and balls can teach teamwork and coordination. There are a whole host of great toys with many benefits. If the toy passes all of your tests for value, then it's probably one of the best toys for your child. Remember to have a variety of different toys for the most interest and benefit.
Why Toys Should not Be Taken Away Permanently
Taking away toys permanently for the purpose of avoiding messes can hinder the process of teaching a child to clean. How can she learn to do this without anything to clean up? On the contrary, if a child is instead taught organizational skills and given an exact spot for each toy, and a system that must be followed, he or she will learn to put away the toys. Taking away toys because someone feels they are unnecessary is also not a good idea. As long as a child remains interested in playing with toys, he should be allowed to keep them. Even adults can benefit from playing with toys. Limiting or restricting a child from toys can also limit and restrict a child from key life lessons that can only be gained through play.
*I originally published a version of this via Yahoo Contributor Network
Lyn Lomasi is founder and owner of the Brand Shamans network. She is your brand healing, soul healing, marketing & content superhero to the rescue! Running a network of websites, tackling deadlines single-handedly, and coaching fellow writers, brands, & entrepreneurs to be thought leaders is her top priority.
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