Traveling with kids

Readers share their secrets

Reader poll Spring break is just around the corner. For many families, that means getting out of town. So this month we asked readers to share their tips on traveling with the kids. Here is what you said:

We have taken several long road trips with our boys. Instead of bringing along a DVD player, we bring a baking pan for each to act as a table where they can draw or do puzzles. We play children’s cassettes and bring library books. When they get bored, we play "I Spy" and enjoy the scenery.

Lisa Paul, mom of Austin, 9, Carson, 6, and Trenton, 4, Glenview

Whenever we hit the road for longer than an hour, I pack the "Road Signs" cards I bought at the Dollar Store. Each card has several different signs on it—Stop, Yield, Speed Limit 50, Deer Crossing. You cross out each sign you see and the person with the most signs crossed out wins. My daughter is so focused on her card and the road that she forgets to ask, "Are we there yet?" That was a dollar well spent.

Cynthia Fitch, mom of Jazmine, 8, Dolton

My family travels once a year, and it is a big event. We tend to reserve electronic toys, such as a portable DVD player, for when we might be in the car for longer than three hours at a time. Watching a movie passes the time for the kids quite easily. For shorter trips, they read books, work on puzzles, make up games or play cards. (Just remember to bring things that are large enough so they won’t fall down into the seat and be lost.) Sometimes we even take pictures of each other in the car—whatever it takes.

Kim Johnson, mom of Alex, 10, and Greg, 7, Woodridge

I’m a flight attendant and a mom, so I have a few ideas. In addition to the typical crayons, coloring books and DVD players, bring a felt book with characters they can play with or an easy craft, such as a necklace-making kit or origami sticker books. Little journal notebooks are good for writing (or drawing) about their adventure. Or play a game looking out the window and finding shapes in the clouds.

Julie L. Bandau, mom of Kylee Rose, 4, and Will, 2, Manhattan

I have traveled with my daughters since they were infants. When we fly, I bring mini Tootsie Roll Pops or lollipops for take off and landing. For snacking we pack Teddy Grahams and goldfish or Pirate’s Booty and lots of water. We always bring our portable DVD player with two pairs of headphones, and they pick the movies. I also bring Crayola mess-free markers and paper—this way they don’t mark up their clothes or the airplane seats. And last, but not least, a portable potty chair. Airplane bathrooms tend to be dirty.

Suzy Ullman, mom of Isabela, 5, and Sofía, 3, Niles


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