Friday, August 19, 2011

Entertaining Children on Long Trips

Are you a parent that loves to travel but dreads entertaining restless children on extra-long vehicle rides?

In our family, we're blessed that our children love listening to Adventures in Odyssey CDs over and over and over and ... you get the idea. It's enough to tamper with my sanity on some trips. I love Adventures in Odyssey, but I really don't enjoy hearing the same episodes every trip.

So I was thrilled to find some boredom busters in Michaels' clearance racks this last week. Let me share them with you, along with some other ideas for entertaining kids on-the-go.

All of these items came out of the 70%-off clearance bins at Michaels. When I see a clearance bin at anything over 60%-off, I always dig through it for treasures like this. Unless noted, I paid $0.30 each for most of these items. You can't even buy a candy bar for that price anymore!

So, what all is there? I'm glad you asked! Here are the details:

  • 2 rolls of Highlights for Children Hidden Pictures coloring paper ($1.88 each - 20 puzzles, 40% off) - I'm thinking of doing up a Portable Drawing Desk with these, which will also provide a place to store the rest of the goodies.
  • 2 color-your-own animals, complete with markers ($1.50 each)
  • velvet art door hangers (2/pack)
  • funny foam sunglasses (3/pack)
  • marker-by-number kit
  • baked suncatcher kit (obviously not for car trips, but I did get it out of the same bin)
  • velvet art bookmarkers (multi-pack)
  • decorate-your-own yo-yos
  • travel games pad
  • finger puppets pad
  • paper airplanes pad
  • simple origami pad
  • funny faces pad
I've been collecting goodies like this as I find them, so I have a sticker book in my stash, too.

I got this My Giant Sticker Fun Book at Ollie's recently for $2.99. I doubt we'll be using the CD at all, but the inside of the book was worth every penny.

These stickers ...

... go onto these "picture puzzles". What I really like about this is that the stickers are numbered, so even little kids can do this right. My kids may use the numbering system just to make sure they've chosen the right one before they stick it down.

Personally, I thought the whole idea of sticker puzzles was absolute genius. My kids love stickers, and they love puzzles. Combine the two, and they'll be entertained for a long while!

I have one more travel activity suggestion, and this one comes from Dollar Tree:

Hand puppets!

Unlike some of the cheap stuffed toys I've seen for sale, these are actually cute. I was especially impressed that they thought to include a boy puppet. They also have darker-skinned versions of these in both boy and girl versions (with appropriate hair styling), which is especially nice if you don't happen to be Caucasian.

Unless I miss my guess, my kids are going to have a lot of fun making up stories with these puppets and interacting with each other. Since there's a boy puppet, this can be a boys' and girls' activity.

So the next time you have to take a long trip with kids, check out your local dollar store, closeout store, and even the $1 sections in the craft stores. You might be surprised what treasures you dig up!

Of course, if you're like me and like to save money, just keep an eye out when things like this go on clearance - and then hide it somewhere that the kids won't find it!


Shoregirl said...

Looks like you found some great deals! You should be all set for the next few trips you take, and I'm sure the kids will enjoy all the fun stuff you found!

Pamela said...

You give me such great ideas. Loved seeing all the toys you found for your stash. Our Tuesday morning went out and I'm so sad. One place I've found great buys is Target. A few times a year they have mega toy sales. Also Amazon does, too.