Just over a year ago my husband got an opportunity to return to Vancouver Island, where he was raised. Coming from the suburbs of Vancouver, this was a welcome change, as we wanted to have opportunity to raise our boys in a slower paced life. We current live on one of the Gulf Island, which means to leave you have to go by boat…so a ferry/car commute has become something we are very accustom too. The biggest challenge has been keeping the boys entertained while on our ferry journey. Little man is usually pretty easy-going, as along as he can move about he is content. Big man on the other hand is at the beautiful age where he believes everyone exist to entertainment.
Now I am going to be honest, our iPad (DUPLO apps are our favorites) and Netflix are part of our reality. However, we wanted to be able to change-up the activities on our commute (cause who doesn’t want to give a toddler a variety of options, outside of hearing the Paw Patrol theme song ONE MORE TIME).
Here are a few of our favorite commute / travel / visiting people/ out at the restaurants items.
Water Wow by Melissa and Doug : Come in a variety of themes from farm animals, under the sea, to numbers and letters. These are fantastic because they are water reveal pads, so all you need is a little water to put inside the “pen” that comes with it, and the kid can color to their heart’s content. As the water goes on the picture it reveals colors/images. The best things about Water Wow is that they can be reused over and over again and they entertain a wide range of ages. As kids get older they can go from the general coloring Water Wow, Water Wow dot-to-dot or maze. Visit Melissaanddoug.com to see all the different options. (Water Wow is carried at Chapters.ca , Amazon.ca, a variety of book and toys stores. You can also find them at Winner/Marshall on occasion.)
Usborne Activities Books : Usborne has a great variety of on-the-go activity books. They have doodle pads, travel game pads, sticker books, wipe-clean books, pocket puzzle books, color books and so much more. The themes for the different types of activity books range from trains, fashion, cities, or holidays. Activity books start for children as young as 3. We have many of the wipe-clean books and “first sticker books” or coloring books for our big man. He loves the different themes and having his own “book” to work on. (You can get Usborne Books at many of your local books stores and on occasion at Costco. You can also look on their site for a local consultant and order through them.)
Travel Puzzles: Big man has always loved puzzles. He loves working away at them and doing them over and over again, in many ways he is a 85-year-old man in a 4 year olds body. Since puzzles have been something he enjoys I wanted to find some that he could take with us, whether we were just going out-of-town, camping or sitting at the great grandparents house visiting. Crocodile Creek Travel Pouch Puzzles and Crocodile Creek 2 – Sided Puzzles have been the perfect solution for us. The pouch puzzle pack up easy and are good for our big man to kind of slow down and focus in on if we are in a hotel or visiting with family. The 2-sided puzzles are great for restaurants, or doing on the ferry. Both puzzle options pack down nice and come with their own containers. Mudpuppy also make a Puzzle On the Go that are great for travel. For the younger kids or those that are not as into puzzles there is also Go Fish Go by Hape or Choo Choo Tracks by Hape or are magnetic wooden maze puzzles, where you take a pen (attached by a string) and guide the beads through the maze.
EEBoo Story Cards: A few months ago a friend introduced these to us and they have been a great way to keep our big man entertained on long drives. Whether your little one enjoys robots, fairies, or circus animals (as well as a few other options), Eeboo story cards are a great way to spark your child’s imagination. Each set comes with 36 picture cards. A child or whoever is story telling, picks a card and begins creating their own story. Kids can do it on their own or as a group. These are small and easy to travel with. What I love the most is that this is a game that kids who tend to get car sick in the car and it can involve multiple kids at once.
MagnetiBooks by Janod: These are incredible for travel, restaurants or even you kids quiet time. Janod has a variety of magnetibook including: Vehicles, Girls Outfits, Boy Book, Dinsouar, Alaphbet and more. Each magnetibook contains a magnetic board (the inside cover of the book), magnets and display cards. You can use the cards to create whatever your books theme is. These are designed for 3 to 8 year olds. We currently have the Vehicle Magnetibook and love it. Are son did get it when he was around 3 but didn’t really invest in it until he was around 3 and a half. He loves doing it during his down time or taking it with us on trips! (Great for plane rides!)
These are some of gear we use out and about. What are you’re traveling gear essentials and suggestions?