Monday, July 14, 2014

Easy Peasy Traveling with Kids

I know, I know.... the words "traveling with kids" and "easy" DO NOT belong in the same sentence.  If you've every traveled with kids, you know how hard and stressful it can be. Trying to plan the minutes, hours, days to keep them busy...packing snacks, candies, games, iPads, iPods, iPhone, movies, crayons, paper....Wow! I'm tired just thinking about it all. This is how we begin our vacation by traveling to our destination and that is how we end our vacation traveling home. Our vacations are book ended by stress. No wonder I usually need a vacation from my "vacation". Ha! Our family loves to vacation so this is why I needed to do something to create less stress during our travels.

Enter my "In The Air Tonight" resource. 

This unit was born out of necessity, desperation, creativity. Ha!   I combined some pages of this unit with my "On The Road Again" unit and packaged it all nice and neat and gave it to the kids the night before we left on our road trip from California to Wyoming.  We had two 8 hr driving days and this resource kept them busy for hours. HOURS! Seriously, friends! I'm talking NO MEDIA AT ALL!! Let me say that again. NOOOO ME.DI.A!! This is KID TESTED AND APPROVED y'all!!!  I knoooooow..... I was pretty shocked myself that it kept them THAT busy.

I know that I already blogged about my On The Road Again resource the other day but here is my new unit that I created for air travel. I pulled pages from this one and combined it all together for HOURS of quiet bliss FUN for the kids (AND parents!). It's called In The Air Tonight.  Oh, can't you just hear Phil Collins singing away? He would be so proud. SO proud right now. The best thing besides these travel units keeping the kids busy and engaged is that it is LITTLE to NO PREP! Yes, I have 3 kids and my life is BUSY!  I need something fast and stupid easy that pays high dividends. This is THAT "thing"! I'm a pastor's wife so I ain't lying either!

Here is a preview of my unit:









Like I said, I combined this unit with my On The Road Again  unit and had it all ready for my kids for our 16 day road trip. The picture you will see will show the title page with my Road Trip cover on it since we were not traveling  by air.

 Here is what I did.

First, I put most pages in a sheet protector so that it was easily erasable if they made a mistake and most importantly, it was reusable! :) I gave them a dry erase marker and they used a tissue (or their hands) as an eraser. I meant to have them bring an old sock as an eraser but forgot. A thing that I would do differently next time is that I would either attach the marker to their binder or get a smaller one and put it in the inside pockets. My older son had the smaller marker and was able to keep it in the pocket of the folder but my 7yr old kept losing his big marker ((pain!!!)). BUT it could be because he's 7, too. LOL. I also got their favorite snack and a fun book to read. Then I tied it all up with a nice bow and gave it to them the morning we were leaving. I didn't get a picture of their faces and it all packaged pretty because the morning was a *bit* crazy!

MY DISCLAIMER: Ok, I'm not the best photographer and the lighting wasn't always ideal so my pics aren't the best. I'm learning to take better pictures but until then, you'll have these. I DID want to give you an idea of what the unit looked like and felt that THAT was more important than my sub-par photography skills. So I'm just gonna apologize right now to all you amazing blogger/teachers/photographers out there. You may cringe a bit.



This is my 7 yr old holding his binder in the car. He was SO excited to get started on it. 



This was the FAVORITE game... Car-Bingo!  They wanted to play it ALL the time! At first, I called out the car colors. Then I needed a rest so I had the most brilliant idea! I had my 3 yr old call out the color of the cars (child labor at it's finest). GENIUS!!!! Seriously. Not only was this reinforcing her colors, but she was proud to be "Mommy's Little Helper" as managed her with my eyes closed. Ha! ;)



They started getting so good at it that I did a variation of the game. They had to get 2 rows to call out Car-Bingo. I would sometimes reward the winner with a small sweet treat and other times I would just say that they got to hold the title of  Car-Bingo Champion!



Well, my little Karis wanted to join in on all the fun, too. Being Mommy's Little Helper didn't earn her some treats so she wanted a chance to win some treats.  This was actually pretty awesome because it was also reinforcing her colors again. She doesn't know how to "read" yet, but because I had made the words into the colors it read, she was able to easily play right along. She decided to do dots instead of an X.

I mean, look at her. Just LOOK at her! How could I not give her a sweet treat just for being SO stinkin' adorable??!!



I told her she almost had Car-Bingo, in which she prematurely called out "CAR-BINGO!" Sorry pretty mama. You gotta play by the rules, no matter how cutie patootie you are! (YIKES!!! Please dismiss the dirty head rest. I'm a bit embarrassed..........ok, I'm over it now.)



Karis LOVED working on her Car-Bingo card and I loved that this was reinforcing her colors in a FUN and interactive way with her brothers. :)



Like I said, they played this A LOT! Each one won a lot of times. So I had to change it up...



They had to have 2 rows to win. That didn't stop them... so I changed it up AGAIN....




BLACKOUT! They had to cross the WHOLE card out. Yeah.... that's better. That took them MUCH longer. I know, I know.. I should win the Mommy Genius award! HAHA!!!




Then there were the mazes. This was awesome. Since they had dry erase markers, they were able to easily erase their mistakes. In both the In the Air Tonight and On The Road Again units, there are a total of 9 different mazes with 3 different levels for each maze. They were so encouraged and my Joshua (7yrs old) gained more confidence as he completed one level and moved onto the next one that was more difficult.





When we got to the campsite, their friends even wanted in on the fun so they decided to try some mazes, too.




My only requirement was NO PEEKING at the answer keys unless you are completely stuck!





Then there's the all time classic... Tic Tac Toe. Also, did you notice that my Joshua made a "J" on his License to Win page? I love it! :)






The Making Words page not only got their brain working in spelling and trying to find words within words, but an added bonus that I didn't realize was that it helped a bit with math. Joshua (7) added up all his points while Isaac (9) decided to multiply to get his total in each column. LOVE that there are learning opportunities everywhere!




This is from the Imagination Creation page. Joshua hadn't written anything about his picture yet, but this is what he came up with.  He saw mountains. PURPLE snow-capped mountains. OOOOKAAAAYYY. Maybe he was feeling a bit patriotic since it was close to the 4th of July...."Puuuurple mountains maaaajestyyy. Uuuupon a fruuuuited plaaane...."





And here we see Lily pads. I try to encourage my kids to use the WHOLE space when they color. I just think it looks nicer. :)



Okay, so here is how I put it all together. Again, I KNOW that this post is about my In The Air Tonight unit but remember, I combined it with my On The Road Again unit and used that cover since we were traveling by car. Hopefully this won't confuse you. :)

I printed out the pages and put it in a binder.




I put the pages in a sheet protector that could be reused over and over again or the ones that I felt that I wanted them to be able to erase if they had made a mistake. I stapled "My Vacation Journal" together and put it in the front pocket.




In the back pocket of the binder I put some loose pages... Making Words, Word Search, etc. You could certainly put these in sheet protectors as well but I just chose not to. I may do it next time.



There are many others that I didn't get a picture of but I think that you get the idea. These packets are FULL of fun and engaging activities that will keep your kid's eyes off of media for a bit. It really worked well for my family and I know that your kids will love them, too!

You can click on the pictures to take you to my TPT store.

Happy Travels Friends!






Blessings,


1 comment:

  1. This is so creative! We are headed to Winston, Or for their Wildlife Safari soon and this will be perfect for the 4 hour drive. Your kiddies are adorable!

    Hope
    Teaching With Hope

    ReplyDelete