Wednesday, July 9, 2014

family: vacation tips with kiddos

Before going on our vacation, I looked on Pinterest for ideas and tips for making vacation time with kiddos easier and more enjoyable for everyone. So I have put together this post to share a few of my favorite ideas for vacationing with the little ones. I hope you find them useful!

In the car...
- Bring entertainment. I packed a bucket of fun for the girls. It was filled with snacks, lollipops, games, batteries for the games, notepads, crayons, markers, and stickers. I would only give them one thing at a time so each time I gave them a new item it was exciting and fun. I didn't start giving them anything from the bucket until I could tell they were bored or getting antsy... or starting to cry or argue with each other. This bucket will be your traveling buddy in the car. Julianna was occupied for almost an hour with a little notepad, a couple of crayons, and a book of stickers. Olivia played with a deck of Old Maid cards for almost that long too. My girls are two and four so they enjoy many of the same things so I just had one basket. If you have children with ages that are further apart or they have different interests, you could make a basket for each child. I found the basket at the Dollar Tree and during the year I save birthday gifts or kids meal prizes for when we need something new to do.

- Music. Be sure to have some sort of kid-friendly music readily available to play. My girls are instantly happy when they hear their favorite tunes. 

On the beach...
- Mesh laundry basket for toys. I saw this one on Pinterest and it's just genius. Buy a cheap mesh laundry basket from the Dollar Tree or Wal-Mart to tote beach toys. The sand just falls through the holes and you don't end up carrying {as much} sand back to your hotel or house.

- An inflatable baby pool. My girls like the water but only if mommy or daddy are right with them. Filling an inflatable baby pool with ocean water gives kiddos the freedom to enjoy the water in a safe and more comfortable setting while still on the beach. My girls went crazy over this! They loved being able to splash and play without being scared of the waves. I bought this little pool for less than $10 at Big Lots.

- Other necessities. An umbrella to shades the babes are they play on the beach. We set ours up right over the baby pool. Sunscreen and lots of it. Snacks- my girls love Gold Fish and fruit snacks as a special treat. Water bottles and juice boxes are super handy too. You don't have to worry about sand getting into the spout of your sippy cup... which happened to us too many times last year on the beach. Lots of toys! We brought some but lucked out by finding a Dollar Tree a few minutes from where we were staying. 

In the hotel/house...
- Make it like home. Bring all of their favorite things such as stuffed animals, blankets, pillows, and sheets. The more like home it feels, the better the littles will sleep. Keep your bedtime routine as similar as it is at home as possible. A good night's sleep makes the whole family enjoy the trip more.

- Nap. I'm usually pretty strict when it comes to my kids napping at home. Julianna is 4 and doesn't need much of a nap, just at least an hour of quiet time and rest. When she doesn't get that relaxation, she isn't a nice person the rest of the day. So grumpy. Olivia is 2 and still needs a good 2 hour nap each afternoon. We skipped nap one day and completely regretted it. Whiny and crying kids at dinner. It wasn't pleasant at all! The next day, we made sure that they laid down for some rest, at least an hour and the rest of our day was so much better for everyone. I like naps for myself too.

- More entertainment. A rainy day at the beach is better than a rainy day at home but they still need things to keep them busy. The bucket of fun also came in handy when we were stuck in our hotel room during Hurricane Arthur during our vacation. My kids also ended up playing with the beach toys inside too {hello, sandy mess} so next year I'll bring more rainy day toys but hopefully we won't plan our vacation at the same time as a hurricane plans to visit.

And my biggest tip of all... take lots of pictures!
I annoy my husband and my kids sometimes by constantly snapping photos. But I can't help myself. I love taking pictures and looking back at them later. Candid moments are my favorite and the picture below is of my sweet girls holding hands on the beach. It will forever be a treasured photo of mine. 

Happy Vacation!


  1. This was great!! My son has been great about sleeping away from home (so far), but I agree that we couldn't skip a nap! The beach items are genius!

  2. My family loves to go on vacations and we try to do a few each year. We always do the same things and the activities are getting monotonous. I am looking for some new ideas. I love this post!