As much as we try to engage our kids in tech-free entertainment while traveling it's sort of inevitable that there will be at least SOME screen and device time! We try, as much as possible, to be smart about it and limit the element of mindlessness.
1. Movies | Ok, I will confess right now that we WILL let our kids zone out in front of movies. Our van has a DVD system so we will for sure be turning on some movies during our road trip. Probably Big Hero 6 over and over and over (Baby 2 insists I'm his Baymax, which melts my cold heart on about 8 different levels).... Also, I highly recommend cordless headphones. Those things have been lifesavers for when Aaron and I just need some quiet.
2. Audiobooks | I dug up my old iPhone 4s and turned it into the "kids' phone". I downloaded a handful of audiobooks from our library through Overdrive (Janssen put together a really great tutorial on how to use the app if you're unfamiliar with it). They listened to The Incredible Journey of Edward Tulane on the plane to the Bahamas. Audiobooks are fantastic for kiddos who get carsick- it keeps them entertained while they look out the windows!
3. YouTube Tutorials | My boys spend a ton of time on YouTube looking up tutorials for the Rainbow Loom, Rubik's Cube, and other fun stuff. As long as we've got service or wifi and a few scraps of paper, they can happily make some crazy intense paper airplanes. I like that there's an element of doing attached to it.
4. Disney Story Central | We are big on reading with our kids but it's a little hard to do while I'm driving or flying (plus I get crazy motion sickness and can't look at a page longer than .3 seconds). Disney Story Central is designed to encourage kids to develop a lifetime love of reading and they've got a huge library of Disney digital stories that feature my kids' favorite characters like Lightning McQueen, Baymax, and Phineas and Ferb.
I got 10 Disney Book Tokens and let each of my boys pick out 5 books for our summer travels but you can also get an annual subscription with unlimited book access. Stinky is a great reader so he picked out some more advanced options but Baby 2 is still learning and preferred the easier books and the "Read to Me" button. The app highlights the words as it reads aloud and he was super proud when there were words he recognized!
You can even participate in Disney Story Central's 'Mid-Summer Light Reads’ Campaign – promoting weekly Disney reading themes — for a chance to unlock free books and enter the sweepstakes! Launching on June 11, the campaign will run through August 13.
What are your favorite tech-based ways to entertain your kids while traveling? Fav (preferably educational-ish) apps? We're in the market for some math-type ones!
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.
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