how to: distracting kids this summer
I love the summer holidays, I love driving around remote areas, finding undiscovered beaches, little patches of unexplored land and wandering through windy streets in quaint little villages I've only just discovered. And while I also love sharing these experiences with the family, what I love just a wee bit less is the actual reality of travelling with kids; with the all too familiar ' Are we there yet?... I'm bored' matra that always seems to start up within minutes of leaving the house.
This got us thinking about the sorts of games and activities that would help distract kids while travelling, keep them entertained on rainy days and also give them a little bit of downtime when needed. A good activity for travelling with is one that is self contained, so it doesn't need too many extra 'bits', is as mess free as possible and doesn't take up too much of that precious packing space.
With this in mind here are some of our current favourite distractions for kids
After you've tired of shouting out animal sounds everytime you pass a field of sheep or cows, and run out of things to 'I spy' about having a few activities to have can be a life saver.
Family friendly podcasts: Lets keep this a cocomelon free space, and instead why not play a family friendly podcast. There are buckets online though we love Nick Cope's wimisical songs, which all were written for his kids tv series on BBC, KidCast on rte (presented by kids for kids) and Wow in the World which is crammed full of coolest new stories in science, technology, and innovation.
downtime when out:
Colour in crowns: What young kid doesn't love a crown at dinner time?! plus, as it doubles as a colouring in activity,. you get two things in one.
diy join the dots: Grab a sheet of paper, stick a pile of random dots on it, and hand it over for the kids to work out how to turn it into a piece of artwork (I learnt this trick very recently, and wish I had though if it before, it works wonders to keep kids entertained, especially when sitting down to eat).
Have an older child who’s less easily distracted? These Join the Drag Queens dot books have over 1000 dots per image and are satisfyingly difficult to complete.
Colour in, reusable silicone placemats: These very clever placemats let your little ones doodle at the dinner table. Bestsellers here in the shop, they can be wiped clean after use to be reused again and again. brilliant.
scavenger hunts: One of my favourite ways to deal with that dreaded ‘I'm bored’ is to set scavenger hunts. They can be tailored to suit the age of the child; so sometimes they’ve to find 5 different types of flower, or 10 different colours or 6 facts about wherever it is we are visiting. Once collected, flowers or leaves can be pressed or turned into art, and sometimes for little extra competition a small prize can be awarded for the most unusual fact found.
They’re hard to avoid sometimes, especially if you’re having a staycation. We usually bring a small box of activities with us for such instances (this box of 6 art activities is brilliant for the smaller ones).
Books: If they’re getting a little too old for storybooks, books full of facts could be a good option.
And if you have kids who are finding it hard to tear themselves away from the screen, duolingo is a great compromise - designed like a game, I’ve had the kids practising their Irish/french/Chinese without even realising it.