In Parent’s Magazine’s October 2008 issue is an article titled 29 Kid’s Games to Play On the Go. A few of these ideas are really great for travel, too… And won’t annoy your fellow travelers, which is always a plus…
Who’s This? Laminate photos of grandparents, aunts, uncles,
cousins, and their pets too. Put them on a key ring. Say the name of
each person as your baby looks at the picture. When that gets boring,
point to the cat and ask, “Is that Grandma?” Then try to get your baby
to shake her head “no.” We have a little photo album with “extra” family photos in it. My two-year-old still loves looking at it. And my 4-year-old loves to “remember” when the pictures were taken.
Paperwork: Crumple a piece of plain white paper and give it to your baby. Let her
crumple it more. This is apparently really, really fun. When she gets
it too soggy (because it will go in her mouth), replace it with a new
sheet of paper.
Look Closely Pack a child’s magnifying glass. If you’re at a
place where she can walk around, let her check out her surroundings. If
not, dig things out of your purse for closer examination.
Mirror Game Let your child draw on a nonbreakable mirror with a
dry-erase marker (don’t forget to toss one into your bag) as he looks
at his reflection. Whether he gives himself a mustache, glasses, or
freckles, he’s bound to give himself a giggle. The only problem with toddlers and dry erase markers is that they like to draw on themselves, too! Keep a stain stick in your purse, too!
Whispering has a great effect in a loud, crowded place. Simply whisper
a message in your kid’s ear. The background noise will require him to
focus intently on your message, and he will undoubtedly want to whisper
a message in your ear next. Concentrating on hearing and delivering the
whispered messages is calming for your child — and for you too.
Talk to the Hand Use a plain brown paper bag as a puppet, and
talk to your toddler with it. Give your toddler a bag too, and your
hand will have someone who speaks the same language. We use socks. My girls love “sock hand puppets” and will even do this at home.
Art Appreciation: Look around you. Is there a painting on a wall? Ask your kid
questions about the painting and, together, create a story. Who lives
in the house? Why does the man look so happy? If we are traveling we always have paper and crayons or markers. Have your child draw the picture as she sees it and then talk about both pictures together.
Tricks of the Eye Floating Hot Dog: Point the tips of your index fingers together
until they almost meet. Bring them closer to your eyes until it appears
that a hot dog is suspended in the air between them. Hole in the Hand:
Roll up a piece of paper and look through it with one eye. With both
eyes, focus on a distant object. Now hold your other hand right next to
the rolled-up paper. You’ll see a hole in your hand.
How Big? Whip out a plastic retractable tape measure and your young surveyor can
get the measure of the land … and the leg … and the arm. When that
gets dull, challenge your kid to a “guess how many inches” contest with
your child’s head. All kids love to have their head measured. I like a sewing tape measure… It’s more flexible, doesn’t have sharp edges and can be used as other things, too. Like a leash or a jump rope. And you’d be amazed at how often a kid can roll it up and then watch it unroll across the floor…
Budding Photographer? My daughters love my digital camera- or even the camera on my phone. And seeing things from their point of view makes you realize how much you miss. We love our VTECH Kidizoom camera. Or give them an old cell phone with photo capabilities. Let them take pictures and then talk about what they’ve seen.
Handy Things to Have On Hand
- Emergency lollipop. Even if your kids don’t normally get to indulge.
- Favorite book. The one they always beg for. The one you’re sort of sick of reading.
- Travel-size Magna Doodle. Or Etch A Sketch. The Aqua Doodle Travel N Doodle is wonderful, too.
- Notepad and crayons. Can’t do without ’em.
- Audio story. Whether it’s delivered by a CD or an MP3, a story is a lifesaver for a very long wait.
- Deck of cards. Have your kid make up a card trick or two. Flash cards are a favorite of ours, as well.
- Sticky notes. Doodle on them, make a flip book, or arrange them on a table in a cool design.
Portions of this article originally published in the October 2008 issue of Parents magazine.