Traveling with Tots

Children are wired to move, so when we confine them on an airplane or strap them into their seats in the car, it can feel like a prison to those little wriggling bodies. Some people use handheld electronic devices for amusing their children while travelling, but recent studies have shown that parents should limit young children’s time with them for optimal brain development. One way to get through a long travel day with kids is to occupy their minds with interesting hands-on projects. Place the materials for each project in a zipper type plastic bag and keep them handy for when kids get restless. Happy trails!

Finger fellows

Do not underestimate this delightful version of finger puppets. It is a wonderful way to pass on messages and stories.

What you will need:

• fingers cut from small rubber gloves
• peanut shells (broken in half from the middle — remove the nut to leave a space for a finger)
• fine-point permanent pen to draw faces and bodies

Make a face and body on the glove finger or peanut shell with the pen, and act out an adventure or story. I began one of our favourite finger puppet stories with: ‘You think I’m little now, but I wasn’t always this way. A long time ago I was as big as you. Let me tell you how it happened so it will never happen to you . . .’

Edible clay

This is a clay you can model into shapes and eat the art afterwards! Store in a zipper type plastic bag in the refrigerator until ready to use.

What you will need:

• 1 cup peanut butter
• 1 cup nonfat dry milk
• 2/3 cup powdered sugar

Place the peanut butter in a big bowl and work in the nonfat dry milk with your fingers. Children love to help with this. Add the powdered sugar and continue to work it all in with your fingers until it is incorporated. The dough should have a play-dough-like consistency. Add more peanut butter if it seems too dry, or powdered milk if too sticky.  

Intrigue bags

These bags will stop a young child in her tracks and occupy her for a chunk of time. These are suggestions. Each child is unique and may find one object more interesting than another. The goal is to pique your child’s curiosity and hold her interest. Always supervise young children with small objects.

Place in separate bags:
• A Slinky
• Simple stopwatch
• A huge bolt with a nut to twist on and off
• Lock with a key
• Flashlight with pieces of coloured plastic report covers to put over the light
• Kaleidoscope
• Large magnet with metal items to attract to it
• Harmonica
• Piece of sand paper and a few crayons to colour on it
• Small hand mirror, a dry erase pen, and a paper towel for erasing
• Beads with large holes for threading onto pipe cleaners
• Favourite snacks
• Legos

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