Another year of vanning with our little one and all of a sudden she’s now a little girl. Although even more enjoyable we feel that she almost needs more entertaining and communication than the 2 year old toddler of last year!
Although many of the tips suggested in our ‘Toddler’ blog are still relevant this year, we’ve got a few new tips and tricks we now use to make our campervanning trips more bearable, more enjoyable and more magical for everyone.
When are on the road and moving around often we find sitting down and clearly explaining every morning the plans for the day really helps. WHAT’S happening today. WHY we are leaving, WHERE we are going, HOW GREAT it will be for THEM when we get there (playground visit/beach etc) and WHAT EXCITING ACTIVITIES AND YUMMY SNACKS they can have in the car trip while we drive there. Lot’s to look forward to!
You’ve probably heard this one before (and it’s also great at home J) but all anybody really wants is to feel useful so giving your pre-schooler the same little tasks to ‘help’ setting up/packing up each day will ensure they are kept busy and don’t get bored. For us this means drying the dishes (but not the glasses or knifes!), watching us fill up the water tank and saying when it’s full and helping prepare food for meals.
This one’s clearly just our personal opinion but especially in Europe, you often see little kids up later than I’d usually go to bed. Great until they wake up at ‘normal time’ in the morning and are cranky and tired the whole next day. We try to keep the same routine as much as possible as close as possible to the same one we have at home. This means the same time eating dinner, same before bed routine at the same time, same morning routine.
When travelling we try to integrate one activity into our day, every day, that our little one loves ie some beach time building a sandcastle or going for a swim, otherwise as per our toddler blog, we usually google ‘Playground’ on google maps and make a trip to the closest one even if it’s just for half an hour.
3.5 years of age and our tried and tested driving activities are as follows:
- Sticker books.
- Puzzles (the ones from Ravensburger that you can do the puzzle in the box lid are great for car trips!).
- Crayola washable textas.
- The free but invaluable Australian kids apps Kinderling or ABC radio (you’ll also need kids head phones, the JBL ones are great).
Some of our must have healthy snacks:
Vegetable juice. Tinned tuna. Tinned baked beans. Tinned corn. Cheese sticks. Cucumber. Tomatoes. Peanut butter. Wholegrain healthy crackers. Avocado.
This last tip is contradictory to our campervanning values and campervan life in general BUUUUT….Bring as many of your little one’s favourite toys on the trip as you possibly can. This goes against minimalism and packing light and everything we believe in but at the end of the day you want them to feel ‘at home’ in your home on the road and moving from place to place is disconcerting enough for them. On our most recent 5 week trip we took 3 out of 4 favourite soft toys, with melancholy and sadness for ‘home’ rearing its head after about week 1 because she ‘missed the left behind toy’. We ended up organising grandma to drive to our house, post the fluffy purple unicorn in the mail to the campground we thought we’d be at in about x weeks time. Nuff said. Lesson learnt. Bring their favourite toys/dress ups/lego/clothes/dinosaurs/everything so they don’t have anything to ‘miss’ back home. Oh and make sure YOU pack super light!