Contributed by Audrey Matalon.
Is it so bad to say I was grateful for the first day back to school after 2 weeks with my kids? Through planes rides, being locked indoors due to bad weather, lack of structure and NO Breaks from each other, we depended on small tricks and a few gadgets to survive.
For plane rides, traveling with 3 kids my packing includes car seats, diapers and bottles. That means that I will definitely by stopped by TSA. I start planning the packing using lists and diagrams at least a week before a flight. All things like bottles, medicine and laptops need to be in an easy to extract part of carry on’s. I pack all my kids backpacks in a larger duffel bag so I can carry just the one duffel to our gate.
I’m very concerned about the germs on airplanes normally but more so during flu season. So dangling from my purse I proudly sport a Shopkins Kooky Cookie 3D Hand Sanitizer. I have 3 boys that are not particularly Shopkins’ fans but they are amused by this 3D character hanging from my bag. For $5.99 I have a handy, colorful dispenser and I don’t fight the kids to clean their hands. On Amazon, $7.99-$9.99 for 2, or $18.99 for set of all 4.
I pack lots of activities such as coloring books, DVD’s and player, a tablet, 1 or 2 books they have chosen, and some toy they can hold on to. That is usually a small plastic or wooden airplane, of course we have both. I often have trouble keeping my kids in their seatbelts till we’re safely in the air. The mini planes are good to keep them focused. When the plane starts to speed down the run way we pretend the little planes are taking off as well.
After take off the “vacation” (I use the term very, very loosely.) has really begun. The lack of learning during school breaks is challenging for me. I don’t like my kids to be aimless each day. Educational material they get from school finds it’s way into their suitcases. But honestly if it’s not presented in an enjoyable way you’d think I were asking my kids to eat Brussel sprouts.
This time I packed my Kindergartener and pre-K’er an activity book that’s simultaneously obviously and deceptively educational. It’s Playroom Prep. And the reason 2 of my kids can use the book is because it uses a crayon that can be wiped off the glossy pages. Both the crayon and the wiping cloth are included.
A Chicago teacher, Mary Ann Kemp, and her daughter, Rosalyn, designed this activity book to appeal to children age 2 and up through well documented successful teaching tools such as bright and colorful pictures, repetition and manageable tasks. Ms. Kemp realized that her young students were not prepared for the first day of school. The concepts and presentation of Playroom Prep is her answer to this issue.
I put this in front of my 6 year old and it was like pulling teeth. Then my 4.5 year old wanted to get in on the action so he took over. It was beautiful. I got to sit with him for about 25 minutes going through the book. (Book 1. Book 2 is due to be published …soon.) He colored. Loved guessing answers. We practiced holding the crayon with proper technique and tracing letters. We erased and did it again.
Unfortunately during our “vacation” we had cold, wet weather and my kids spent too much time couped up with each other…which led to some brotherly wrestling …which led to some crying and minor injuries. Which led me to the first aid cabinet. But with each trip, or “vacation”, I get a little smarter. This time I was prepared. Because not only do I need to have a constant supply of band-aids I need distractions, “entertaining” distractions. Which leads me to Shopkins 3D Bandages. It has a decent price point of $4.99 for 20 or under $9 for 60.It really works like magic. It has nothing to do with the bandaging, it has to do with forgetting about discomfort and the indignation and getting mesmerized with colors and 3D imagery. Truly worked like a charm.
Our brains have been stimulated, our wounds healed, all ready for the second half of the school year. Praise the lord.
Playtime Prep available on their site www.playroomprep.com and on Amazon for $14.99.
Shopkins 3D Hand Sanitizer on Brush Buddies and on Amazon.
Shopkins 3D Bandages on Brush Buddies and on Amazon.
Disclaimer: PTP was supplies with products for review. All opinions are truthful.