Traveling With Kids? Here's the One Item You Need to Bring

Are you hitting the road with your kids this summer? Hopping on a long plane ride? After you decorate your PJ Library Travel Tags and pack up your favorite books, there's one other item that's a must have for distracting travel weary kids -- pipe cleaners! Yes, pipe cleaners.

pipe cleaners

We surveyed a group of on-the-go moms who have survived long trips with their children--and were surprised to find that pipe cleaners were a must-have in every travel survival pack. Why? Younger children love the sensory play of the fuzzy wires while older children have fun wrapping the pipe cleaners around objects or bending and twisting them into new shapes. Turns out, there are lots of ways to use a pipe cleaner--and parents tell us that kids ages 2 - 8 will find something to do with them, whether they're hooking them on to the seat in front of them or starting an imaginary duel with a sibling.

So, what else can you pack in your go-bag to keep kids occupied and amused?


Little boy reading during road trip

In addition to your favorite PJ Library titles, you can also pack "new to them" books from yard sales or swaps. This way the kids find a surprise (another distraction) in their backpack, but you won't be out too much if they leave their new-to-them tome behind.


Toddler playing with window clings
image via Pinterest

Use these static cling non stickers to decorate car, train, or plain windows. Set up scenes with character clings, practice ABCs, or make up stories together using the pieces. Your local craft store or hardware store likely has a big section of these decals along with gel decorations that are meant to come on and off windows with ease. If your car has old permits or clings, peel those off and reuse them too.


Post-It Notes

Grab post-its and washi tape and let your kiddos stick, fold, and restick to their heart's content. Neither post-its nor washi tape are as sticky as regular tape, so you can decorate your travel space and leave no trace of your makeover behind. Use self-laminating sheets from the office supply store to cover photos, maps, and magazine pages and pack a whiteboard marker to let your little ones draw and re-draw to their heart's content.


Little boy playing with toy plane

Each of the travel-pro parents we spoke to mentioned that the element of surprise kept their kids engaged for nice stretches of time. One mom suggested packing a couple of trinkets from a dollar store, another suggested, for a train or car ride, wrapping every day items like snacks or random toys in wrapping paper or newsprint. The kids get to spend some time "unwrapping" their surprise and are usually so impressed by the surprise factor, they're occupied long enough that you can eat a snack of your own in peace.

Have you taken a long trip with your family?
Share your tips and tricks with us on social media using #pjlibrary.


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