On The Go Fun

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Summer is here and with August right around the corner, I know a lot of families spend a lot of time traveling. August also ends up being the time of the year where (some) parents begin to panic about the lack of work their kids have been doing all summer and not being properly prepared for the upcoming school year. Traveling is a great time to practice the whole “make learning fun” concept by packing the right kinds of toys. It can be so easy to just occupy their time by giving them some kind of device, which is fine, but there are so many ways to keep kids entertained without having to be looking at a screen. Below, I share some of my favorite products out there that are easy to take along anywhere. They aren’t bulky, heavy or take up a lot of space which is a crucial thing when you are traveling.

Car Seat Travel Tray-I haven’t used this but wish I had had something like this for my daughter when she was younger. When she wasn’t sleeping, she wanted to be drawing or playing on our long car rides and there was never an easy solution. This travel tray can be attached to your car seat (also can be used in a stroller or when out at a restaurant) over your child’s lap and helps in keeping everything your child might need in their reach. This comes in especially handy if you are doing any kind of traveling without a spouse or someone who can be that person who can pick up dropped objects. This particular travel tray has sturdy walls and a raised front edge, has multiple storage areas and the waterproof tray is safe for your child to eat on. Be sure to stock your child’s travel tray with their favorite art supplies, manipulative toys, stickers and anything else that will keep them entertained.

OOLY Play Again Reusable Sticker Sets-these are one of my favorite new discoveries of this year. OOLY never disappoints me so when I saw these reusable sticker sets a couple of months ago, I bought them all. Think Colorforms reinvented for kids today. Choose from four different sets: Dragon Racetrack, Space Critters, Mermaid Magic and Princess Garden. These incredibly well made sticker sets come with over 60 reusable stickers with a double-sided trifold scene board and can be stored in the sturdy case they come in. Great for throwing in a bag to keep your kids entertained while traveling. These sets are great for working on improving grasping skills, bilateral coordination, hand-eye coordination while encouraging creativity and imagination.

Teebee Play and Store Box-I have loved this storage box since I first saw it on Kickstarter years ago and my own daughter has used it when traveling to keep her Legos all in one place or keep her arts and crafts supplies from going all over the place. The box has a great design with two hinged lids that fold out to create play trays that can rest over your child’s legs and a handle for kids to be able to carry from the car to anywhere else. There is also another tray that can be removed to fit on the front edge of the box. If you want to use it for Legos, it comes with a brick plate that you can place in one of the lids. The Teebee box can be used for whatever you want, especially those open-ended toys like action figures, Squigz, beads, etc..  The Teebee box is a great place to store products that will work on increasing grasp strength and manipulation skills while also encouraging creativity and imagination skills.

Squigz 2.0-I’ve been a fan of Squigz since they first came out years ago and not only use them at work all the time, I gift them to kids almost as much! These open-ended suction cup building toys are as much fun for the grownups as they are for the kids and are so great for working on a variety of developmental skills. Just like the original Squigz, you can push them together to build creations. When you pull them apart, you get the most satisfying Pop sound! The Squigz 2.0 have been updated so that they can not only stick to each other, but the new flat centers allow them to connect in more places. Not only do they stick to each other, they stick to a variety of surfaces (think car window, airplane trays or tables when eating out) making them a perfect on-the-go toy. Squigz work on improving fine motor skills such as grasp strength and manipulation skills, encourages spatial reasoning, creativity, imagination and visual motor and perceptual skills.

Feelings and Emotions Peg Doll Set-sometimes vacations can be challenging for the children I work with. Being away from their comfortable place and not following their familiar routines can cause anxiety for some kids and lead to some meltdowns. When a child is in mid-meltdown mode, they can lose the ability to express themselves. I am loving this peg doll set from Hope Learning Toys that can help children get through difficult times by being able to label and discuss how they are feeling at different times. This set comes with 5 peg dolls (sad, calm, angry, happy, worried) and birch discs with the feelings written on them and comes in a bag making it perfect for traveling.

Toy Story 4 Mini Potato Heads-this is one of my favorite new purchases of the summer and they are a huge hit with the kids I work with. First of all, whenever a huge movie comes out, I check out what kinds of toys are being sold as they always end up being really motivating for my kids. With Toy Story 4 being one of the biggest movies of the summer, I was so excited to see they had come out with these adorable set of mini Potato Heads. I have had a pretty large collection of the superhero themed mini Potato Heads and they are a huge hit in the gym. These are a really great on-the-go toy because they don’t take up much space and easily thrown into a travel or diaper bag. They are great for working on improving fine motor, grasping and manipulation skills, improves bilateral coordination, visual motor and perceptual skills and works on executive functioning skills such as focus, attention, motor planning, organizational, problem solving and sequencing skills. An added bonus is that there can be some great opportunities for pretend play with these adorable figures.

OOLY Chromoblends Travel Watercolor Palette-just because you are on the road, it doesn’t mean your little artists can’t keep creating. This awesome travel size watercolor set comes complete with 24 watercolors, two water brushes and a built in watercolor palette. The water brushes fill up so you don’t have to worry about cups of water if you are in a restaurant or on a plane/in a car. I love how small the packaging is making it easy to throw into a beach or travel bag keeping your kids entertained without a screen when they need some down time.

Lee Sticker Puzzles-these sticker puzzles will always be a favorite of mine and are so perfect for travel. They come in different sizes making them appropriate for a wide range of kids. Look through the Sticker Puzzle collections and you will find all kinds of books featuring some of your kids favorite television and movie characters. Kids create pictures by placing a numbered sticker on the right place in the numbered grid. These are great for working on improving hand-eye coordination, visual tracking, visual motor and perceptual skills, grasping and manipulation skills and encourages focus, attention and organizational skills. The best part is that each book has 8 puzzles and will take up almost no room in your bags. Sets range from 15-42 stickers.

Orb Factory Sticky Mosaics-another one of my all-time favorite things ever! I discovered the sticky mosaic sets years ago and they have been a staple in my OT tool box ever since. While I encourage you to look for these at your favorite local toy stores if you have that as an option, Amazon has a great collection for you to peruse if you don’t. Whether your kid is into dinosaurs or princesses, there are so many great sets to choose from. They get to make a picture using the various stickers by matching colored sticker to the matching number on the picture.Once they have completed their picture, they can hang it up to display which makes a kid feel so confident!

Sticky Mosaics are a great way to work on developing fine motor and grasping skills, visual motor and perceptual skills, encourages bilateral coordination and executive functioning skill such as focus, attention, planning and organizational skills.

Kid Made Modern Beach Bash Jewelry Kit-I happen to have a kid who really loves to create anytime she can, especially accessories! I am kind of obsessed with all things Kid Made Modern. If you don’t know about them, you need to! They have this amazing mission to inspire kids (and their grownups) to find and enjoy being creative. All of their products are designed to give kids the opportunity to realize their creative spark, use their imagination and express themselves by providing them with a variety of craft materials. While they provide them with ideas, they also encourage kids to use their imagination to come up with their own creation.
While there are so many jewelry kits to choose from, the Beach Bash Jewelry Kit is one of my favorites, especially for the summer. Each set comes with everything you need to make fun summer related accessories. The durable case comes complete with different colored hemp cords, shell pendants, seashells, wooden and acrylic beds and an instruction guide to motivate your little designer.
These kits are awesome for working on improving fine motor and manipulation skills, bilateral coordination, hand-eye coordination, visual motor skills, encourages creativity and imagination skills and works on improving focus, attention and organizational skills. Another great thing is that as kids complete their jewelry, their confidence and self-esteem rise!

Glow Friends Neon Colouring Set-sometimes my daughter is perfectly content with the coloring pages that you may get a children’s menu on at restaurants but most of the time she wants more than a couple of crayons and whatever they give you to color.  This coloring set by Tiger Tribe is a perfect for throwing in your bag, whether you are going out to eat or about to hop in a car or a plane for a long trip.  Each set comes in a sturdy box with a magnetic top and contains 36 coloring pages, 2 storage drawers, 3 sheets of stickers and 3 double sided markers.  Great for working on improving graphomotor skills, visual motor and visual perceptual skills and encourages creativity.  

Take-Along Games-this set by Peaceable Kingdom is great for keeping kids entertained while in a car/plane, at a restaurant or those down times at the pool or beach.  The set comes with 4 games that use reusable stickers (think Colorforms): Tic-Tac-Toe, Four-in-a-Row, Memory Match-up and On-the-Go Bingo.  In addition to keeping kids entertained, these are great for working on improving grasp strength and manipulation skills, improves hand-eye coordination and visual motor and visual perceptual skills and works on executive functioning skills.   

These are just a handful of the awesome things out there that not only make learning fun, they are easy to take when you are on the go. I know there are a ton more out there so if you are looking for specific ideas for your children, let me know. If you have toys, games or activities that are hits with your kids for traveling, I’d love to hear from you. I am always a click away and love hearing from you all!

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