We just took a mini-vacation to Philadelphia. By mini-vacation, I mean that we took all the drama from a usual trip and crammed it into 3 days.
It took about 6 hours to get there (an honestly short road trip for us!), so I had all the usual traveling toys prepped – water wow books, imagine ink books, sticker books, regular books, a few toys that they picked out, and snacks. You can’t forget the snacks.
The water books are always a huge hit – they are reusable and the kids spend about an hour total playing with them whenever we go on a trip.
This was our first big road trip for the summer, so I wanted a few new travel items to spice things up a bit. After talking with a friend, I decided to make some pom-pom trays and felt bags. I also bought some Candy Land Mini Sticker Charts.
This was supposed to be just a bunch of magnetic pom-poms on a cookie sheet. I bought the pom-poms and roll of magnetic tape, and the boys helped me apply the bits of magnet tape to the pom-poms.
They worked quite diligently applying pom-poms and then after about 15 minutes, Luke said it was not fun. I sent them down to the basement to find small items that I could apply magnets with a hot glue gun, and they each ended up with two animals, two bugs and 4 Pooh characters.
Luke loved his tray and immediately played with it. I thought it was going to be a huge hit, but in the car the trays were a little too heavy and bulky to rest on their lap. I think it was all the extra non-pom pom items. I am going to try this again with just pom-poms and smaller cookie trays (if I can find them).
I had a bunch of stiff felt sheets, and drew a simple scene on a single white sheet of felt. I was in the process of cutting out simple shapes – an apple, gingerbread-looking men, a circle, etc., when the boys pounced on me. I ended up cutting out very specific requests like a street sweeper, a shark, a ninja turtle, a hammer, a bird, a bird with feet because a bird without feet is just wrong, etc.
The boys adored the felt. They played with them a decent amount in the car, but the real winner was quiet play-time in the hotel room. Meghan could nap and the boys would be moderately quiet for up to 45 min.
These charts were so cute. I bought a stack of flat cards that were a 4×6 version of the Candy Land board. They came with sticker sheets. We played different seek/find games. I.e. look for trucks, barns, signs, red cars, etc. Every time they would find an item, they would place a sticker on their chart. Once the sticker was full, they won (nothing), and we’d start another chart with a different item to seek.
This was a huge hit with Luke. He could’ve played this all day. Ben didn’t quite get what was going on but he was happy to hold his chart and look for logging trucks. I guess that’s the difference between a 4-year-old and a 2-year-old.
All the other stuff
All the books and water coloring stuff ate huge chunks of time as usual. The water wow books are Ben’s favorite things…the boys only get to use them when we are on a road trip.
Verdict: All the new travel toys were great, but nothing beats a portable DVD player and one Star Wars video.