Monday, November 30, 2009

3 Travel Projects for Kids -- I-Spy Bag, I-Spy Book, Stickers

Long road trips can be made to feel much, much longer with bored and grumpy kids. When I was a kid, our yearly family vacation was to drive to my grandparents' house 12 hours away. I have some good memories of all the projects and games we came up with on those long drives. These days there are DVD players, handheld video games, and all kinds of electronic distractions. These certainly have their place, but I don't like the idea of kids vegetating for hours and hours on end!

Before our big long trip over Thanksgiving, I tried to be as prepared as possible with plenty of projects and games. Here are a couple things I put together:

I-SPY BAG: These certainly aren't a new idea, but I wanted to share anyway!

I love all things tiny, and so do my boys! I've seen lots of I-spy bags or jars with paperclips, bobby pins, buttons, and other household objects to search for. That's pretty fun, but I wanted to use objects that would be more fun for very young kids!

I've been collecting little tiny objects for over a year with my I-spy bag in mind. I found lots of things at yard sales over the summer. The best place to look is at the bottom of big boxes or bins people have set out. Barbie accessories are especially fun, as well as Littlest Pet Shop accessories and Lego figure accessories. Quarter machines (which these days end up being 4-quarter machines a lot of the time!) sometimes have really fun little itty bitty items in them -- that's where I found my Curious George, Lightning McQueen, Nemo, and Snow White. I bought Monopoly and Clue at yard sales over the summer for a quarter each, and pulled out the dog, top hat, wheelbarrow and a house from Monopoly, and the pistol and wrench from Clue. Then I had to throw in a BB for Buzz, and a popcorn seed for Mr. S -- things they are each obsessed with!

Before putting my items in the I-spy bag, I took photos -- here is my photo of everything. I also sorted things by color and by theme, taking photos. For smaller kids, having photos of things to look for is much more effective than just making lists!

(Oh -- for the window of the bag I used a zippered plastic comforter package cover thingy I've been saving for ages. And I still have tons of plastic left for other projects!)

My bag ended up pretty big because I had so much stuff -- but I love it, and so do my boys!

I saw this idea at The Brassy Apple over the summer, and I've been taking photos here and there ever since. The idea is to take photos of items found around your home and make your own I-Spy book out of them! I took photos of my vintage Fisher Price Little People, my ridiculous Potato Head accessory collection, trains, cars, stuffed animals, the animals from my Little People Noah's ark set, etc. Then you can make lists of things for your kids to look for, or just let them look at the photos and tell you what they see!

Put things in piles, or...

...line them up!

I printed my photos and put them all in a dollar store photo album. I have more photos than pages in the album, so I can switch things up a bit whenever necessary!

My boys love stickers! They will sit and peel them off and stick them in their special "sticker notebooks" for a long time. It's great for keeping them busy at church, too!

The dollar store has these great packets of die-cut stickers for -- of course -- a dollar. They are great stickers, but the cut out shapes are really hard for my boys to peel off. So, rather than having to peel off each sticker one at a time for them in the car, I was prepared! I peeled off all those stickers in one sitting, sticking them onto smallish pieces of wax paper. This made it so much easier for them to peel them off, and kept them occupied!

The dollar store also has big notepad-type books of stickers -- usually over 500 for a buck. I make it easier for my younger son to peel the stickers by removing the "background" swiss-cheese looking sticker piece, leaving the edges of the stickers easier to peel.

I'm happy to report that my boys only watched ONE movie on the road during our entire road trip! YAY!!

Anyone have other ideas to share for keeping traveling littles happy?


Angie said...

Such cute ideas!!

Thanks for sharing them.

Wendy said...

What did you use as the filler in the I-spy bag?

Care said...

Hi Wendy,

I used PolyPellets: little plastic pellets used for the -- ahem -- bums of stuffed animals so they will sit up without tipping! My local JoAnns didn't have them, but Michaels did.

Paxton said...

I ADORE the idea of the I-Spy book! I love your pictures, I think you did a GREAT job! Thanks for the ideas!
Also my friend had given me an "i-spy bag, and she used white long grain rice instead of pellets. works kind of the same, but a little cheaper :-)

sew happy Stacy said...

When we go on trips I pick up a couple of bags of pipe cleaners. That always keeps them busy for several hours! Well worth the $2 I spend on them at the dollar store.

tantehilde said...

This is SUCh a great idea, never seen it before! Thank you for sharing!

Rebecca@This Present Life said...

Thanks for these great ideas. I am always looking for new ways to distract my children when we travel. Thanks for these great ideas! I've posted a link to your site and pictures on my blog: