“Emergency” kits might inspire fear at the first mention of their name, but they aren’t necessarily tied to instances of disaster. Thanks to handy sites like Pinterest and Etsy, there’s inspiration for ways to create kits for both real emergencies and for those little emergencies that life throws at us daily. This column will explore ideas of items that could be essential for various types of emergency kits, so that you can be inspired and start your own. This month we look at an emergency road-trip kit for your kiddos.
For this kit, try using a blank box that your kids can decorate along the way, or can use as a craft project when they return home to remember the fun they’ve had on their family vacation.
Coloring books are an easy way to pass the time and keep the little ones calm and quiet on a long ride. Now there are even adult coloring books for the more advanced artists or for your older kids who think they’re too old. You could even buy everyone the same coloring book and have a contest using the same coloring pages.
Taking little ones through the vending machine area at the rest stop can get pricey quick, so it’s a good idea to have pre-packaged snacks to hand out at your various stops. Packing non-perishable items, so you don’t have to tote a cooler, will save you space.
In preparation for your trip, put together an activity binder. To keep your kids engaged with the trip, you can theme the binder with your route or even just your destination. If you have a long drive, you can do activities for each state you’ll pass through. If you’re just heading to the coast, then try all-beach-themed activities to get them excited for the final stop. There are lots of free printables online with games to find different state license plates, word searches with key words linked to your trip, maps to help keep up with your route and visual scavenger hunts that they search for right outside their car window. Out your printables in a page protector or laminate them, give your child dry erase markers and keep a stash of wet wipes nearby to make the pages reusable.
For your youngest passengers, try adding in this fun activity. Fill a soda bottle with sand or rice and toss in lots of small trinkets and shake the bottle up. Make a checklist of all the items you added to the bottle, so they know what to look for. When they find them all, have a fun prize that they can use while on your vacation.
To keep your box educational, try tossing in a Choose Your Own Adventure book. If you’re little one isn’t old enough to read yet, you can read, and all the passengers can vote on the choices and see where you all wind up. If all of your kids are reading, they can take turns reading chapters while the others get to make the choices.
Grab a worn-out cookie tin or pick up one from the local dollar store, and a container of chalk paint or spray paint. This will give your child an activity board that they can draw on, play games on or use magnets on from the comfort of their lap.