In this post, I share what is inside my survival kit for bored children that I take with us on our holidays, be it an overseas trip or a road trip.
With the holiday season upon us, many of you are packing your bags and getting ready to travel to meet up with family and friends. Most of you would include a DVD or two, and some kind of electronic device. We do the same because around these parts, shops don’t open till late and once the sun goes down, there really is nothing much to do after dinner. However, I do also pack something that encourages them to turn the devices off: my Survival Kit for Bored Children.
This survival kit of mine has come out of 5 years of experimentation on what worked and what didn’t with each holiday we took. I have found that you need 5 elements for a successful kit.
Here they are:
Element #1 Paper – You’ll need some kind of drawing surface to write or draw on. I have either an A4 or A5 sketchbook for each child in my kit. Wire bound sketchbooks work best because they lay flat. I found blank paper works better than ruled but you may wish to get the half and half kind (where there is a blank space on the top of the page and ruled lines at the bottom half of the page) if you have younger children who are just beginning to write. I also include a coloured paper pad. I don’t change these sketchbooks until all the pages are filled up. You may wish to change them for each holiday but I find that my children enjoy going through their previous drawings or journal entries.
Element #2 Writing/drawing implements – You’ll need to include pencils, pens, and markers. I include 2 sets of coloured pencils in my pack because my kids prefer pencils and I just want to avoid having to adjudicate who gets the green pencil next! I also have fingerprint ink pads because these are so fun and my kids love stretching their imagination by drawing as many things as they can with just thumbprints and a pen. I pack the lose items into a pencil case to keep the kit tidy and the items easily accessible. Oh, don’t forget a pencil sharpener.
Element #3 Sticky stuff – You’ll need sticky tape and glue. I’ve included double sided tape too for convenience. These are for sticking objects they have found during the day, pamplets and tickets of places they have visited, and other things into their sketchbooks. You’ll notice that I pack two types of glue: glue stick and craft glue. Sometimes, glue sticks don’t work on found objects and that’s where the craft glue comes in handy.
Element #4 Scissors – You will definitely need a pair of these. Children always need scissors for cutting up things. If you are intending to have this survival kit on the plane, be sure to pack plastic scissors or blunt ended metal scissors and check with the airport security at both the departure and arrival terminals before you travel.
Element #5 Compact games – You will also need to pack a couple of compact games. I have at least 2 packs of card games in mine. I have found that because these are packed in the survival kit and not accessed everyday, my children enjoy these games more because of the novelty of not playing them often. There are often “Remember when…” kind of conversations around the games as they retell memories of the last holiday we were on when we played the games.
If you haven’t ever thought of packing something like this before, please do try it. Here’s the list again:
- Writing/drawing implements
- Sticky stuff
- Compact games
The kit enables quality connection time during the few hours your children have to spend indoors after dinner and before their bedtime. Encourage your children to create a travel journal in their sketchbooks to record their holiday. These sketchbooks become treasured memories for the future.
Don’t be discouraged if the things you have packed don’t work the first time. Remember, it has taken me 5 years of adding and subtracting from the kit. I am still fine tuning mine as my children grow. Next holidays, I am packing watercolour travel kits into mine because my children have contracted my watercolour fever!
As I will be taking a short break over the Christmas holidays, there will be no post next week. I shall see you in the new year.
Have a blessed Christmas spent with family and friends, and a fantastic new year. And for those travelling, safe travels.