When it comes to family travel, getting ‘there’ can be half the fun or half the battle. It all comes down to how prepared you are.
You need games and toys to pack a lot of entertainment punch into a small package when space and weight are considerations. So to help with planning winter getaways, here is our SavvyFive selection of games that go the distance, all of them road-tested…pun intended.
Why It Made the List: We loved it when we were kids and kids these days love it just as much. The Mini Etch-a-Sketch creates a whole lot of art in a small reusable package that’s fun for kids of all ages to shake and easy to pack. No batteries required. ($27.98, available at Amazon and many toy stores)
Crayola Colour Wonder Finger Paints & Paper
Why It Made the List: These wonderful mess-free art supplies allow moms to be free of the fear of stains that comes with real paint and indelible markers, while allowing kids to create artistic masterpieces to their hearts’ desire. As soon as the kid can hold a crayon, don’t leave home without some stashed away (and stock up on extra Colour Wonder paper too). ($10.49 and up, widely available at toy stores and drugstores, more details on toysrus.ca)
100 Things for Little Children to Do on a Journey
Why It Made the List: This small package includes 50 write-on/wipe-off cards with mazes, word puzzles and other games (many based on everyday objects found inside the vehicle or seen out the window) that can be used again and again. Pen included. It’s fun and educational and perfect for ages three (with help) to six or seven. ($11.95, available through Usborne)
Why It Made the List: It’s a non-competitive, educational game where players create words and link them to others crossword-style and it comes in the cutest banana bag that’s perfect for packing. And no monkeying around with pencil, paper or board as none are required to play. Simply use a table or other flat surface, and one hand can be played in as little as five minutes. ($18.95, available at Mastermind)
Why It Made the List: This great family game allows people of all ages to play together, no reading required. Out of the pile of cards on the table, you need to be the first to recognize the patterns among the cards and find three that will form some type of set. Sound simple? Your set can be all the same, completely different or slightly similar. It’s a fun fast paced action game for all skill levels and perfect for when kids are trapped in restaurant chairs waiting for their food. ($14.95, available at Mastermind)
Family travel is not for the faint of heart, but a change can be as good as a rest. Be prepared with your SavvyFive list and you’re more likely to have a bon voyage.