The summer holidays are here and many families will be jetting off or road tripping to their holiday destinations .. ever mindful of their little darlings and ways of keeping them entertained when the beach, holiday clubs or pool aren’t quite enough.
I’ve jetted off to Turkey. I’m lucky to have access to our families villa so know what is available locally and also what activities my children are likely to want to participate in.
We tend to spend most of our day around the pool, relaxing, sunbathing and the children have a waterslide they scoot down with great enthusiasm… sometimes including a lilo in their games.
But being little (8, 7 and 4) they also have alot of time indoors, out of the midday sun and whilst we have got a TV with Netflix and they have tablets full of preloaded games I try to keep screen time to a minimum if I possibly can.
1) Story Sack
Do you ever make up story sacks for your children? My kids love reading their favourite stories with the aid of some lovely props and anyone that follows me on instagram @mamasden knows that I love the Holztiger wooden figures.
The Snail and the Whale is one of our favourite books and coupled with the figures kept Miss 4 entertained on the flight. We read the story together, then looked back at the pages. I asked her to retell the story to me and we discussed any tricky words we had come across that she might not hear every day.
Soot … ‘like the black dust that comes off coal.’ I said. ‘We put coal on the fire in Wales and Santa got Soot up his nose in the song.’ She said.
Long term memory.
Words in different context.
Will all help with early years communication and language development particularly improving vocabulary, especially when incorporated into PLAY.
2) Plan Toys Cactus
We absolutely love this cactus. It is a brilliant game that encourages hand-eye co-ordination, skill, patience and encourages children to think logically and scientifically.
Which parts weigh the same? How can the cactus remain standing? Which bits should be placed where? Is it going to balance if I let go?
These also come in smaller travel tin versions aswell, perfect for PLAY on the go.
3) Tonie Box
This Tonie Box is amazing. We took it on the plane and we have used it to play both music and stories in the villa. We also took it poolside.
See the little green guy? Well he is a creative Tonie which I pre loaded with 90 minutes of the kids favourite tunes and some classics… think Little Mix, Greatest Showman mixed with abit of ABBA and The Beatles.
The box charges from the mains and then holds power for upto 7 hours. The ears control the volume and tapping each side of the box skips the track… truly childs PLAY.
4) Wipe clean travel game
We were gifted this set of cards for Miss 4’s birthday and they have come into their own whilst we have been on our travels.We used them on the plane and she has been pretty obsessed with them since.
They include 101 activities to do from drawing to word searches and puzzles.
Being slightly larger than the average pack of playing cards they are fairly compact for packing in hand luggage. You just might need an extra set of pens for multiple PLAYS.
5) Way to Play
Easily one of our most played with toys of 2019 is the Way to Play road. It is just amazing and can be used in so many different ways.
You will have seen it used on my instagram as part of small world play, construction set ups, used in combination with road mats or with our creatimber rocky board but bringing it on holiday has opened up play even further as we have used it poolside.
I absolutely love that this road is flexible and can be used in all sorts of ways.. literally every way to PLAY.
6) Go Find It
This game adds a different way of playing hide and seek as the cards each indicate a texture, colour or sound that the child needs to find in their immediate environment.
Take a card and go on a hunt. Is it green? Does it snap? This sensory experience is a brilliant way of including the natural world in the immediate environment into PLAY.
I’ve already shown you the story sack we brought with us but I had a pot of @little.mumchkins.early.years playdough in our suitcase ready to expand this play further.
Coupled with natural loose parts the children are able to have a sensory experience as they learn and PLAY.
8) Peg Dolls
We absolutely love taking peg dolls out with us on our adventures both home or away. Whether it be a Ned from Rudi and Bear or some of our grapat nins they have featured in many of my posts.
However coming away we had just invested in some @melodietreasures custom peg dolls including this beautiful one with a seaside theme which was gifted to my daughter for her 7th birthday during our holiday.
Peg dolls, whether themed or generic, offer children the opportunity to role play and use their knowledge of the world in their PLAY.
9) Magnifying glass
I couldn’t come away without our trusty @tickit_education magnifying glass.
It is always in our outings bag and knowing that we might see unusual bugs or flowers on our holiday it had to come with us. Curiosity is a big part of the way my children learn and when we went to the beach the magnifying glass went into the sea with Miss 4 to investigate pebbles.
We love treasure hunts so it is an essential to us in most of our PLAY.
Miss 4 is starting school in September so we brought our 1-10 set of Sumblox with us to practice number recognition and to see if she can start recognising some of the first number bonds.
I love the way that when sumblox numbers are stacked they create the same height as their sum…. 2 + 3 stacked up will be the same height as the 5 block.
They really help children visualise number bonds and especially when used in their PLAY.
I hope you have found this look inside our toy packing and the reasons behind the choices interesting. These are my children’s favourite toys but ultimately are also used to encourage learning aswell.
I’m passionate about giving my children lots of opportunities and encourage them to be inventive and creative when they play. They have amazing imaginations and combine toys to create brilliant small world play scenes as I give them the space and time to just PLAY.
The way you play.
I asked my Instagram audience for input on the way that they keep their kids entertained on holiday. There was an amazing response and here are some of my favourites.
@theearlyyears_ showed a lovely selection of books being enjoyed by the pool by her daughter on a recent holiday in Majorca.
‘Taking books on holiday is so important. Books keep a sense of normality in an unusually non routine time and It is a great calming time for after days out or pool time.’
@Alison.cat.moore shared her gorgeous I spy bags.
‘You can have them with any theme even the alphabet. It has kept him (her son) quiet on long journeys and in long queues at Disney.’
The I Spy bags are available from Our Sensory Kids Shop
@littlemissmamma takes her Grimms wooden rainbows with her on holiday.
‘Small for hand luggage and big for when we arrive. Our Grimm’s rainbow has come to Norway for all seasons.’
@littlegreengem_ took some Galt magic water books away with her.
‘These have kept both my 2 and 9 year old entertained. It’s reusable so ticks a lot of my green credentials’.
@justanormalmum_ went on a lovely camping holiday and took lots of puzzles and books to keep her little people entertained.
‘We love holidays in this country as there are so many glorious places to visit and so many things to do. This year we have invested in a tent and the children, and us, are loving it! For times hanging out together in the tent we take games (including educational games so win win!) that we can all play, including board games-bug bingo is a favourite, jigsaws for the 2 year old and the 4 year old absolutely loves colouring-every picture is rainbow coloured! We also love playing simple games like eye-spy, who am I and treasure hunts like who can find the biggest leaf.’
And if you are not going on holiday this summer you can still take your toys out and about to keep the children entertained. Take a tip from @kathrinfelber
‘We took all three of our kids to Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival this year. For me, the key to making this work is to adjust the rhythm of the day to the children. This meant making time for rest periods in the tent, so our youngest could have a nap, while we kept the older two entertained with some toys, games and reading we’d brought along.’
I’d love to see your ideas over the summer and into Autumn. Use my hashtag #mamaseyden on all your play posts.
If you have found this information useful or have any questions at all pop me a comment below.