Are you and the family headed out for a KOA camping adventure this weekend? While you’re busy tossing things into the cooler and loading up your rig so that you have everything you need at the campsite, don’t forget to pack up kits for the trip ahead. No, we don’t mean the kind with jumper cables and flashlights — we mean the kind of kits that will keep kiddos entertained, unplugged and happy along the way.
For Young Campers (ages 2-5)
Toddlers and pre-K kids can get pretty fidgety just a few miles down the road, so getting them engaged quickly is key. Stop in at your local discount store and get a small metal cookie sheet and some inexpensive cars or animals. Glue magnets to the bottom of the toys and suddenly little ones have the ability to move them around the tray easily without them falling off. Just be sure to use a strong glue and toys that are age appropriate. Alphabet magnets are also a great choice for 4-5-year-olds as they can use them to practice simple spelling words.
But we’re not done with our tray yet! It’s also the perfect place to:
- Draw or color
- Play with dolls or action figures
- String round cereal on strings
- Make pipe cleaner creations or play with clay
- Do simple puzzles (consider adding magnet strips to the back of pieces)
Best of all: they’re super easy to clean and store!
Older Kiddos (ages 6-12)
Yep, cookie sheets like those referenced for young kids work for this age group, or you may want to consider purchasing or making a small lap desk — especially if these campers are no longer using a car seat or booster chair. But what do you pack for them to do? Here are a few ideas:
- Projects or crafts, such as loom bracelets or card making kits
- Word searches or crossword puzzles
- Card or dice games
- Trivia or “fun fact” cards
For All Ages
Last but not least, there are some things you’ll want to pack in your travel kit for children of all ages. They include:
- Individual snacks and water bottles (label for each traveler to avoid arguments)
- Baby wipes and/or paper towel for easy clean up
- Age-appropriate books
- Crayons, markers, pens, pencils and paper
What you choose to hold in your travel kit depends on how much space you have, the kind of vehicle you’re traveling in and the number of children who’ll be traveling. Individual backpacks are a great way to go if you have the space, as they can be customized for each child to include a few of their favorite toys. Another alternative is to use a plastic shoebox that can be placed on the seat between kids, or a handled carrier generally used for cleaning supplies. These keep items in the kit visible and easily accessible.
Helpful hint: When packing items like crayons, puzzles, dice or small craft items, consider placing them in snap-top containers before adding them to the kit to help prevent spills or the possibility of pieces getting lost.
Need ideas for games to play in the car? Check out these ideas.