Being on the road or in the air with little ones in tow may feel overwhelming, especially depending upon how far and for how long your journey will be. However, preparing ahead of time and having some handy games and snacks with you will go a long way in keeping little minds busy while stopping them from asking again and again, “Are we there yet?” Preschoolers are at an age where they are taking in the world all around them, so questions about new things they discover and see for the first time are to be expected. Traveling,especially for preschoolers, is a huge learning opportunity. You can help make it fun and adventurous, but also give yourself a bit of quiet time by planning ahead.
Activities for the Journey Ahead
Let’s face it — plane rides and long car rides are not always fun. For a preschooler, that four hour flight may seem like an eternity. The day long drive to the warmer destination can leave them in whining meltdown mode if their minds are not occupied with something else to do. Bring along coloring books, puzzles, and a few new surprises that you can pull out as they begin to board. Activities are key here. Rent books from the library ahead of time, which is absolutely free. If taking a long car journey, play car games such as spotting something that starts with each letter of the alphabet.
To avoid the urge to stop at every drive-thru on the way to your destination, pack along some healthy and satisfying snacks for your preschooler. Keep in mind that preschoolers will do best if you can stick to their normal routine and schedule as much as possible. Try to have meals when they would normally eat and bring along plenty of snacks to keep them satisfied. Snacking will also help prevent them from having an empty, growling tummy which can lead to tantrums and unhappy travelers.
If arriving to your destination by plane, you can still bring along a few snacks that will meet security’s requirements. Bring along bananas, clementines, and small to-go packs of peanut butter or your child’s favorite spread. Small bags of crackers or fruit snacks are also good options to have on hand. If traveling by car, pack a whole cooler full of juice and water so you won’t have to stop at a convenience store or restaurant along the way.
Before heading in the car or plane, it’s best to allow your children to run around and let go of some of that energy. This will make them more likely to catch a nap while on the plane or in the car. If traveling by car, stop at playgrounds along the way where they can run around and play for a while before getting back in the car. Sometimes this won’t be possible if you’re on a tight travel schedule, so in this situation, it’s best to have lots of activities for them to do on the way. Some airports will have indoor play areas for children.
Once you finally arrive to your destination, your preschooler will want to get out and do something fun. Make sure that you have activities and fun things for them to do so they can get the most out of their vacation. Museums, parks, swimming at the beach, and zoos are a few great activities for children to enjoy. A day at the beach will allow them to play all day in the sand while you watch them, but can also relax a bit. If staying at a hotel, be sure to check in with the concierge and ask for recommendations for children’s activities.