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If you’re planning a trip by plane, train, or automobile, then you’re probably looking for things to entertain your kids to hold off the inevitable “Are we there yet?” questions for as long as possible. While we can’t guarantee how long it will be before you or your child start asking that question, we do know that having an appropriately stocked busy bag will help time pass.
1.) Books – audio, digital, or paper
Audiobooks are a great way for a child or families to dig into books together. A number of free and paid apps are available, including Audible, Audible Stories (free!), Hoopla (free!), or Libby (free!). Audiobooks for children are especially fun because they often include different actor voices for different characters, background music for chapter transitions, or sound effects for falling rain or slamming doors. If children are prone to motion sickness, then audiobooks can be a great way for them to consume books without feeling icky.
Digital books provide another option to access books through through Kindle, Hoopla (free!), and Libby (free!).
For paper books, visit the library or your local bookseller. Newberry award winners, Caldecott Medal winners, and board books are great starting lists whether your child prefers paper, digital, or audio formats.
2.) Creative play
Melissa & Doug Puffy Sticker Play Sets can provide a ton of entertainment. I love the look and feel of these puffy stickers, but what I love even more is the opportunity for language that these sets create. A new scene and storyline is created each time, providing opportunities for language-rich descriptions.
3.) Let’s Boogie
Maybe you’re hitting the beach and will use a boogie board, but this kind of Boogie Board allows users to draw, write, or play tic tac toe over and over. It’s like a mash-up of an Etch a Sketch and rainbow scratch art.
4.) Mad Libs
Mad Libs encourages literacy and vocabulary skills. They help with reading skills, learning different parts of speech, and listening skills as you hear the final silly story.
You can also play on a Mad Libs app.
You can encourage your child to draw, create poetry, sketch, or color in a journal during the trip. Journals can even be used as a place for children to keep ticket stubs, leaves, or other treasures they collect along the way.
What will be in your child’s busy bag?