Going on vacation with young children always presents unique challenges. After travel arrangements have been made and daytime activities have been planned, you may think that your work is done. However, since most toddlers are worn out by the end of the day, parents often find themselves stuck in a hotel room wondering what to do to entertain their young ones for a few hours before they fall asleep. Here are four activities to engage in with your toddler after a long and exhausting day of adventure.
1. Puzzles: In your carry-on or luggage, pack a few puzzles to do with your child after dinner but before bed. Save space by placing the pieces in plastic bags rather than in the original boxes. Sitting at a table (indoors or outside) and working on a puzzle with your young one is a great activity that not only entertains them but also helps them to settle down after an exciting day.
2. Board games: Toy companies have taken many classic games like Chutes and Ladders and Memory and made them toddler-friendly. Again, packing the pieces in a plastic bag can save room in your suitcase. Playing games is something I don't often have time to do with my son, given our hectic daily schedule, so when we're on vacation, it's nice to be able to sit down after a long day and spend some quality time with playing games with him.
3. Scavenger hunt: Just because you can't stay out late doesn't mean you have to sit in your hotel room all evening. Creating a scavenger hunt list will allow you and your child to get out of the hotel room and explore the area that is close by. When your little one starts getting tired or cranky, you're close enough to get them back to the hotel and tucked into bed. If you're in a different state or country, try looking for unique aspects of nature such as flowers, trees, and birds that are not commonly found where you live.
4. Write a story about your vacation: A great way to remember your vacation, and a great pre -reading activity, is to have your toddler tell you about their day while they watch you write it down. You can ask your child what their favorite activity was that day or to remind you of the things that you did. When you get home, you can add pictures to your stories and put them in a scrapbook or photo album.