Sure there are some great apps to keep toddlers and preschoolers busy during travel. In fact, so many have been developed over the past 3 years that the iPad- and smartphone-toting parents among us may never have to fear the dreaded, “Are we there yet?” question again.
No, instead we can watch the clock in nervous anticipation of the first “Mommy, it won’t go again!” lament, as we teeter precariously on the verge of a preschool-size meltdown. And as we struggle to recharge or replace electronics mid-flight, our kids struggle to come to grips with the long-lost art of entertaining themselves.
We need to give them more than gadgets if we hope to raise thoughtful, curious, and well-adjusted people. Especially when we set out to travel with toddlers and young children.
Here is another screen-free favorite I’d like to recommend you add to your mix for upcoming travel with toddlers and/or preschoolers. A friend gave me a set of these Brain Quest Q&A cards as a gift a few years ago, and they have accompanied us on nearly every road trip since, and a couple of flights (you can one of our sets below, recommended for ages 4 – 5, is a little worn–but still ready for more travel).
The Brain Quest Q&A cards are designed for kids in different age groups, beginning with toddlers ages 2 and 3, moving on to toddlers and preschooles 3 – 4 years, then preschoolers ages 4 – 5, then kindergarteners, first graders, and beyond. Each set of cards has 300 questions or activities–ranging from “What’s wrong with this picture?” and “Which clothes go together?” to “Find all the kittens in the closet” and “This story is all mixed up. Tell it in the right order,” using the pictures provided (these examples are from my previous edition deck for 4- to 5-year-olds).
Of course, the catch here is that Brain Quest is designed for use by two people–ideally a grown up and a child who will be able to talk and discuss what they see on the cards, so your Kindle may have to wait until a little later in the flight. If you have an older child, however, you may have the good fortune as I did this summer to have an older child “playing teacher” while posing the challenges to the preschooler in the back seat as we all drove across the western United States. They loved it.
Do you set limits for how much screen time your children get during family vacations? Do you have a clever tip for keeping your kids entertained during travel without electronic gadgets? And have you used any of the Brain Quest products with your kids?
Related posts and pages:
If you’d like more ideas, see the screen-free favorites to keep kids entertained during travel in this post. For more Pack This! recommendations, browse the Pack This! post list here.
Shelly Rivoli, author of the award-winning Travels with Baby and Take-Along Travels with Baby
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