Guest Blogger: Lauren Racobaldo
Just like it did when we were children, the excitement of packing to head to the shore takes over our house the week prior. The girls get so excited to hang out with their cousins and Tom and I are busy checking things off our list that we don't want to forget prior to leaving. Inevitably, we always forget something; luckily, it's usually something that's easy to get upon arrival.
One thing we make sure to never forget about is servicing my car prior to travel! We've put 50k miles on my car in just 3 years, with all the driving we do with the girls. Let's be real... the last thing I want to happen, is to get stuck on the side of the road because I'm low on oil or have a flat tire with 3 kids under 5 with me. Firestone Complete Auto Care has certified technicians that will make sure your car's oil, brakes and tires are ready to put on the miles for your impending trip and will do it in a timely and cost effective manner. Click here to check out Firestone Complete Auto Care coupons to save on your next visit! I've partnered with Firestone Complete Auto Care to bring you 3 easy and inexpensive DIY Hacks to keep road trips with your toddlers fun and enjoyable for the whole family!
1. Large Wiffle Balls and Smoothie Straws: Wiffle balls can be found in the sport section at Target, Walmart or Kmart (Maybe even your $1 store!) and straws in the food section . Let your toddlers use their fine motor skills to put the straws through all the holes in the balls. You can add an extra step (if you want some extra peace and quiet) by telling them to only use certain colors, or a certain number of straws. I will give each girl a ball and 10 straws and say, "Whoever can put 4 Blue straws through the holes first, wins!" It's a great way to incorporate fine motor skills, counting and colors into a fun game! I store the balls and straws in a plastic shoe box from the $1 store. The balls can be played with while on vacation as well!
2. Colored Popsicle Sticks with Sight Words: Colored popsicle sticks, along with velcro dots, can be found in the arts and crafts section of any large craft store. I separated the popsicle sticks in pairs by color and wrote the same sight word on both sides of each pair (makes it a little easier to find in a large pile). Then, I put 1 velcro dot and 1 fastener dot on each stick of the pair so the "pair" can stick together. Repeat for every popsicle stick pair. By the end, I had a cup full of sight word pairs along with some random words that pertained to vacation- beach, water, trip etc. Before we leave for our given destination, I separate and mix up ALL the sticks and then my girls have to go through them all and read the sight words on each to find the "match". Again, this is great activity for young kids to learn to read words and use their fine motor skills to stick the Velcro together and pull the pairs apart.
3. Numbered Colored Popsicle Sticks: Delaney just turned 2, so she still can't read...but she can count to 10. I also give her a cup of the same colored popsicle sticks and write numbers 1-10 on them , along with the written word of the number, and then ask her what number is on each color. It's a fun way for her to learn and feel like she's a "big girl" like her older sisters. Even if she ends up playing the drums on her legs with the sticks (which she does)...at least she's occupied : ) What road trip hacks work well for your family with young children? I'd love to hear them in the comments below!