My family recently took a trip to Vietnam for a much needed holiday. There were four of us travelling, my husband, our 4 year old daughter, our 8 month old son and me.
While I was looking forward to the break itself, I was less keen on the thought of an eight and a half hour flight, followed by a 3 hour stopover with a further hour flight and then a 45 minute drive to our destination.
As it turned out, things went far better than I had expected. I thought that I would share one of the things that worked to make life easier with my four year old (the 8 month old deserves a post of his own).
My biggest concern was keeping Miss 4 entertained for the whole time. We planned to take her iPad but from experience in the car, I knew that the maximum we would get out of this was 2 hours of peace at a time before she needed to change activities. The challenge was finding other things that would absorb her but could be contained in a relatively small space.
Here is what I came up with.
I bought a little tin suitcase from Riot Art for $4. Miss 4 is completely into dinosaurs at the moment so I bought two packs of tiny dinosaurs from a two dollar shop and put those into the suitcase. I then added a packet of plastasince and some pipecleaner.
This box turned out to be a master stroke. I think that the secrets to its success were as follows:
1. All the items were new to Miss 4 and so they had novelty value
2. The tin made a space where she could set up her little dinosaur world and the sides kept everything contained
3. The plastacice gave her the opportunity to use her imagination, she made trees, volcanos, nests and other things for her dinosaur world and this kept her interested for longer than if she was just playing with figurines.
I also took a book with information about different dinosaurs. We spent time comparing the plastic dinosaurs (which were surprisingly accurate) to the information in the book.
I have put the kit away since we got home and am going to keep it for long car journeys, I suspect the novelty needs to be maintained for the box to remain effective.
If your child is not interested in dinosaurs, I am sure that this would work with many different types of animals such as ponies or zoo animals. I am also going to have a go at doing a doll box by including wooden pegs, felt pens, paper and glue so that Miss 4 can make her own dolls to play with and then create a little world for them.
The one thing I did forget was to take extra snacks, they did not have any on the plane and although the kids meals were great, Miss 4 is a grazer and so we did have some grumbles about the lack of food. Oh well, live and learn. We will just have to go on another holiday soon so that I can put my learning into practice!
Posted by mom121707, 23rd June 2015