10 Ways To Make Days Out With Kids A Breeze!
Remember the days when going for trips and outings was as simple and effortless as just getting out of bed, slinging your handbag over your shoulder and strolling out of the house? Well, those were the days without kids. Family days out with kids can be a challenge as they involves more thinking, planning and preparations- but a few simple tricks can help everything go more smoothly. After travelling full-time for a year with three young kids, we’ve come up with some tips that will help you make family days out with kids a complete breeze!
Always prep up for the grey space
‘Grey space’ is the time that we normally spend waiting in traffic jams or standing in lines, etc. No matter how much we plan ahead, grey space can creep up on us via unexpected roadworks or theme park queues. Be mentally prepared to face those times and have something ready just in case the kids get cranky. It could be as simple as a box of raisins, some well-chosen travel toys for the car or a Rubix cube! You could also use time spent in traffic jams or on the road to teach kids about road safety– it’s never too early!
Carry a small craft pack for the car, train or plane
Almost all kids love getting creative in one form or another. Carry small resealable pouches with simple art items such as a glue stick, a notepad and some sequins, or some fuzzy felt. These little pouches of fun-filled activities can keep your kid occupied when boredom strikes.
Overpack the snacks
Travel can be a little stressful for your little ones so big days out are a good time to allow treats. Things that take a while to eat, such as small tubs of cereal, peeled fruit or boxes of raisins, are great time-killers as well as a stop-gap when blood sugar is low and tempers are high! We prefer to overpack snacks that we know our kids enjoy, rather than run out and pay premium prices during days out or on travel days. Our favourite snacks at the moment are the Playinchoc boxes as they come with a build-it-yourself toy along with a delicious chocolate treat!
Install entertaining apps
Installing the right apps in your mobile device can take your outing from “ohhh” to “ahaaa”. When you’ve used up your kit of travel toys and the kids just need some down-time, have some movies or episodes of their favourite TV show downloaded onto a device as well as some fun games to kill the time. Websites such as Nat Geo Kids are brilliant for fun and educational activities. Audiobooks and soundtrack albums from their favourite movies are always a hit, and can be entertaining for adults too!
Kick it old-school
If you’d rather not offer gadgets to your little ones, have a mental library of simple games to play to pass the time. The ‘alphabet game’, ‘I-Spy’ or ‘Charades are all great games that don’t require any resources at all. Noughts and crosses, hangman or small origami shapes are our go-to games when we have a pad of paper handy!
Go at your pace
There is no point in seeing every attraction or going on every ride if the kids are exhausted and miserable at the end of the day. Plan to go slowly, with plenty of breaks, and lower your expectations as to how much you are going to ‘get done.’ Memories of a happy, relaxed day where you got to do a little bit are far more valuable that those of rushed and stressful days where you squeezed everything in, but the joy out! Kids like to stop and look at leaves, other people, dogs, the sky… let them do things their way, and try to enjoy the slower pace of life! If you need a travel stroller, check out our selection of the best lightweight travel strollers.
Pack a change of clothes
Accidents happen. Whether it’s a melted ice-cream down a jumper, a bit-too-late trip to the bathroom or some over-exerted, end-of-day theme park throwing up, something is likely to render you in need of a change of clothes. As well as complete changes of clothes, chuck a couple of items in the car or bag in case of a change in weather- and if you’re travelling at night, let the kids hang out in their PJs- they love this!
Harness the novelty factor
New is interesting – something that your kid has never seen before can bring him whole lot of joy as it holds their attention more than something they have seen several times. If you have a super long journey, bring along a couple of things that they either haven’t seen for a while (a toy that’s been at the back of the cupboard for months) or some small new things- a magazine or puzzle book, for example.
Prevent motion sickness
If your child is prone to motion sickness, this makes the planning a day out even more challenging. Thankfully there are plenty of options available to alleviate motion or travel sickness for children- our personal go-to is peppermint oil (something we discovered after a puke-overboard incident while whale-watching in Sri Lanka). Bracelets or tablets are also an option- and of course ensure you have paper bags at the ready to minimise damage!
Just roll with it
Enjoy the spontaneity that a day out with kids can bring. Prepare for your plans to change (we once got a boat to a nearby island while on holiday, made it about 50 metres inland and watched as Esmae fell into a swamp- day out OVER) and make the journey part of the fun. We love stopping for a snack and drink at a cafe on the way to our destination- it breaks up the journey, keeps the kids happy and gives us time to unwind and really enjoy the day. We also allow for time for the kids to run off energy at a playground before we get back on the road at the end of the day- and always say yes to ice-cream breaks!
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