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Erik Larson writes about the job market, resume improvement, and career advice

Ways to keep your children entertained

Written by Erik Larson, Community Blogger | Jul 26, 2017 3:47 AM

So you have a long trip ahead of you with young children. Left to their own devices, things could get grim pretty fast. The name of the game here is entertainment. As long as you keep them engaged they are less likely to destroy something or pester a sibling into a fight. And if you are on a flight where you are surrounded by fellow travelers, keeping your kids busy means avoiding hostile glares. Here are some inexpensive, old-school, easy to carry activities to keep your young children entertained while traveling.

Coloring

The simplest answer is usually the best. Coloring is so popular, even adults are doing it. Not only can it keep a kid entertained for a while, but it is one of the least expensive activities available to children. You can get a small box of crayons for less than a dollar and inexpensive coloring books for the same price. You can even print coloring pages from the internet for nothing.

Videos

There are all sorts of small, internet-ready devices on which you can let the kids watch videos. Just give them some head phones so that you do not bother other passengers and let them go. YouTube is a great place to find videos on anything you want. You can find really great videos about baby dolls or soldiers or cartoon characters and the kids will be pacified for a long while.

Origami

All you need is paper and some instructions. This can teach your kids patients and help them work on their fine motor skills. The fun part comes when they see what they can create. You can make frogs that jump, blow up paper balloons, make ships and cranes and practically anything you can imagine.

Books

Because, why would you not think of this? Depending on your child's age or interest level, there are so many ways to do story books. If you have a toddler, bring some books that have flaps and tactile parts. How about an audio book with headphones? Your older kids can enjoy a chapter book. If your kid is into a particular series, then presenting him with the latest book in that series will be a real treat.

Another great idea for keeping your kids busy with books is the Eye Spy books. They are basically a scavenger hunt in book form. You are given a list of objects to find on each page. The Where's Waldo books offer a fun variation on this theme.

Card Games

There are so many card games to choose from and they are all the size of your hand. You could bring a pack of regular playing cards and teach them to play everything from Go Fish, to War, to Old Maid. There are also card games like Uno or any of the ones mentioned above for which you can purchase specifically designed decks of cards. Once kids learn the rules of these games they can keep each other engaged with endless card battles.

Finger Puppets

All the fun of regular puppets, but they take up far less space. Often, you can purchase not only individual puppets, but whole stories of characters. For example you may be able to find a set that comes complete with all of the characters you will need for the Three Little Pigs or Red Riding Hood. Children often do not stick to the script, but as long as they are having a good time, who cares?

Snacks

This is another mom classic. With the exception of sleeping, children are rarely quieter than when they have something in their mouth. Give your child a snack. Something simple and easy to manipulate like pieces of fruit or fruit snacks. Dry cereal is a popular snack for toddlers. If you want a variation on snacking that is sure to keep your little one busy for a while, give her a string to thread her cereal with. Once she is done stringing her cereal necklace, she can eat it.

When traveling with young children, you must be prepared to keep them entertained. If you do, you will spare yourself a lot of grief and avoid angry side eye from fellow passengers. Most importantly, you will have happy kids.

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