Holiday times are here! Busy times to be sure. Memory-making times. Full-of-family-and-FUN times! Travel. AND stress! Got some travel coming up? If so, with some PLANNING your family’ll be thinking “It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year”
PLAN & Be PREPARED
Okay, you’ve been a parent for a while now. You know to expect the unexpected so PLAN for it and be PREPARED!
Better Safe Than Sorry…
● Safety comes 1st, especially during the holidays, when there are more people on the roads. Always carry emergency preparedness gear and insure your car is in proper working order. Use your child’s car seat flying even if they technically could fly ‘on your lap’. It’s much safer and it’ll be more comfortable—for the both of you!
NOTE: On take-offs and landings, avoid the pain of air pressure changes in your kidlet’s ears, by breastfeeding or offering them a bottle/sippy cup.
Use Time Wisely…
● Pad extra time for travelling to accommodate traffic delays or delayed flights. Everyone’s mood improves when they’re not under pressure.
◦ If you’re flying, check whether your airport has a children’s PLAY area. Really every airport should have one of these! There’re great for using up extra energy or preparing to sit for extended lengths.
◦ Lots of families choose to drive. To make it more enjoyable for everyone, stop periodically for riders to get out and stretch their legs. If you’ve really planned your trip, maybe you’ve matched your stops to be at parks with playgrounds or fields. Bring along a soccer ball and PLAY a little match!
● Schedule travel times to take advantage of your child’s sleep cycle if possible.
Checking the List…
● Pack extra items from clothing to snacks to toys and activities.
◦ IF flying and bringing gifts, DO NOT wrap them! Wrapped gifts will only slow your security check way down. Depending on how many gifts you’re bringing, ground shipping could be a better choice for your pocketbook. Airline charges for extra bags add up!
◦ Living in the PNW and dressing for flying have one thing in common: The need for layering! Cabin temperature variations between waiting to taxi to the runway and in-flight are huge.
◦ And by packing extra I really mean pack double—especially for anyone toddler age and under.
◦ Regarding snacks and flying: You might have seen the post about the flight attendant who breastfed a passenger’s infant. Well I wouldn’t count on that being an option on every flight so make sure to check with TSA rules on carry-on, pumped breast milk, formula and/or any baby food you need to bring.
◦ For toddlers and preschoolers here are some great travel-friendly snack ideas.
◦ To while the miles away, your kiddos are going to need things to DO. Ask them for their suggestions.
KEY Things to Keep in Mind:
1. Loose parts can be dropped and/or lost. Bring toys that are self-contained. Magnetic-based toys are also an option. Make sure they are age-appropriate!
2. Sensory toys are fabulous, unless you’ve got other passengers to consider. Forego the rattles, horns or bells, emphasize texture instead, your row-mates will thank you!
3. BOOKS! Cloth books, activity books and audio books. Plus finger puppets are a great option for storytelling.
◦ Hold a surprise toy or two in your bag to pull out when time starts to drag.
◦ If you’re driving to your destination there are games to PLAY that don’t involve an electronic screen.
● Spending time together with family and/or friends ideally should be easy. Sometimes it’s not. Be prepared for that too.
Once You’re Back Home…
It would be accurate to say all of my grandbubs are obsessed with all things containing an engine. In fact, they typically have a car or truck in each hand.
When at the airport they’re transfixed and giddy over airplanes.
If you’ve traveled recently try the following:
READ FLYING by Donald Crews.
This was one of the books I always read to the preschool kiddos. I’m a big fan of the minimal text and bold illustrations. It’s a good, solid introduction to airplanes as well as a (gentle) reminder of details for past flights.
I adapted the fingerplay 5 Little Airplanes to 8 Little Airplanes because my preschool group times had 8 kidlets in them. Feel free to do this fingerplay with any number. The only think required is the same number of toy airplanes as children.
Eight Little Airplanes
8 little airplanes all in a row Indicate the line of airplanes
(Child’s name) taxis off Let kiddo choose plane of their choice
And go, go, goes! Child ‘flies’ plane around and back to their seat
Take-off for More Learning…
Use your kiddo’s interest in airplanes to work on numbers and numeral recognition with this fingerplay I made up for the preschool kiddos. Again I had 8 ‘pilots’ flying, you may need less or feel free to come up with additional verses.
Toy airplanes marked with ordinal numbers, numerals (or cardinal numbers**), and corresponding dots
Runway Sheet (see photo)
Index Cards with ordinal numbers* written one/card
* Ordinal number = a number defining a thing’s position in a series, such as “first,” “second,” or “third.”
** Cardinal number = a number that tells “how many.” They’re also known as “counting numbers,” because they show quantity.
• Have kiddo(s) fly their plane(s) around
• Tell them to listen for their plane to be called in to land by the control tower (you)
• Pilots land on the correct runway using the below action fingerplay.
Cleared For Landing
Runways with their Planes…
PLAY is ideal for teaching new concepts. It’s also perfect for practicing skills and reviewing concepts. The whole point is to have FUN and enjoy learning.
• If you notice your kiddo struggling to find the correct runway.
◦ Highlight the dots on their plane and the dots on the runway strips.
◦ Have them count their dots and find the runway strip that has the same number of dots.
◦ When they’ve found the correct runway, indicate the corresponding numeral.
Alternately, point to the numeral and ask your kiddo what it is.
• If they seem to falter, have them recount the dots.
◦ Explain that the numeral represents the quantity of dots they counted. It’s a symbol or a name for an quantity or amount.
Again, the key is to enjoy the activity and have fun learning!
Yours in Play!