My family and I are by no means considered jet-setters. But, we have made a few successful trips with our kids in recent years including several Hurricane evacuations with toddlers which required living in a hotel room or campground for several weeks.
Traveling as a family is not always an easy task. Whether it’s flying across the country or taking a road trip, toddlers have a hard time keeping their energy confined to a small space. While there’s no simple solution for plane delays or small seats (or the path of a devastating Hurricane), parents can make a world of difference by incorporating activity and healthy food into travel.
Eating fast food on the road may seem convenient, but for growing children, these meals won’t provide much-needed nutrition and energy to last the trip. For road trips, you can bring fresh fruit and snacks in the car. Traveling by plane is a little trickier with strict security on fruits and vegetables. Sprout baby foods has 3.17 ounce pouches of pureed fruit and vegetable recipes that can be brought through security. These pouches are re-sealable as well (so easy for car trips), so your little one can snack are their leisure without the mess. Here are some ways to incorporate fun and food into travels to make mom and dad’s job a whole lot easier:
1. Bring a variety of flavors so your toddler can decide what to eat. Toddlers love being independent and being able to choose their favorite snack allows them to be in charge and eat what they like from a variety of healthy choices.
2. Eat the rainbow. For a long travel day, challenge your little one to eat a food of each color of the rainbow. Bring along crayons so they can draw the healthy colorful snacks they’ve eaten throughout the day.
3. No-mess art projects. The portable DVD player will only keep your child occupied for so long and will actually make them more restless. Keep them busy and active by bringing along some colors and plenty of paper. I love the Crayola Color Wonders for a worry free art project. Creating with their hands and having quality attention from mom and dad will be a treat for your toddler.
4. Help your toddler learn a complicated card game. Teach them to play UNO or Slap Jack on the plane. These games are trickier to learn and there’s plenty of time while sitting in the car or waiting for a plane.
5. Fun geography. Whether you’re flying over or driving through, kids love learning about new places and saying that they’ve been to ‘new states’. Print out a blank map and let your child color in the state they’ve seen or visited. I recently bought my daughter an Atlas and she loves to locate the places we’ve been or plan future vacations.
Whether it’s a small jaunt or a long haul, keeping toddlers happy on a vacation is the key to success! What tips do you have for traveling with a toddler?