Monday, July 17, 2017

Roadtrip - Summer 2017

It is time for our annual summer roadtrip! We will be using some of the same items from one of my previous posts about traveling - like the Artist Studio To-Go (stocked with scissors, tape, and fresh markers) and Goodbyns. But I've also been stashing away some new things for my kids.

There are plenty of ways to pass the time in the car. We play the "We're Going on a Picnic" car game; we make up stories; we listen to music and audiobooks. Before handing over the iPads and other devices, I like to give them other options. Plus, we have to have ways of engaging them with interesting things when they transition away from screens. Enter this year's shopping list:

Everything on this list fits in a grocery bag and leaves room to spare! You'll find everything you need to keep small children from losing their minds in the car. In fact, you will stimulate their minds!


Ribbon, Tape & Scissors

I learned a while back that Curling Ribbon, Tape, and Scissors can occupy my children for a nice long time in the car. So I stashed away a couple rolls of ribbon, a couple pairs of scissors, and bought some new tape (Scotch and Washi).

Markers & Paper

My kids also like to draw, write, and sketch. So we will need something with which to write. Pencils create shavings, crayons melt in hot cars, so markers are a sensible choice. Since my 5yo likes to tattoo herself, I was sure to get new Crayola Washable Markers (Broad and Fine Line). I'll throw in a pad of paper and we should be good to go.

Scratch Art

Scratch Art - It is that black paper that you scratch with a wooden stylus to reveal color beneath. It is still drawing but it sure makes for a great way to change things up. I grabbed some at the $3 bins at Target but you can usually find them at craft stores and, obviously, Amazon.

Wipe-Clean Books

Just so I have something that is reusable, I grabbed a couple Wipe-Clean Books by Usborne. My daughter is begging to learn to read so I got the Alphabet book for her. And I chose the Mazes because their a fun way to practice pen control, which my son desperately needs. Plus, the mazes can act as small worlds for imaginative play for small action figures.



Boogie Board

Because my kids gravitate to these things when we're out on the town.

  • Writing experience is comparable to pen on paper
  • Ultra-bright LCD writing surface is 50% brighter than previous models, Replaceable coin-cell battery
  • Integrated magnets allow for easy mounting to compatible surfaces
  • Built-in stylus dock provides convenient storage for stylus when not in use, refer user manual below
  • Stylus can be used as a kick-stand to display your written messages to family, friends and co-workers

Free Play Magnatab

A new sensory experience!

  • The magnetic stylus is your pen, the bead board your paper, your finger the eraser as you use your imagination to draw, design and create
  • Explore your creativity in engaging, sensory-reinforced play; the stylus brings the beads to the surface with an audible click revealing your creation
  • Push the beads down with a finger to erase and start over; the beads are completely self-contained and do not come out of the board
  • Made from the highest quality ABS, the new design (July 2015) improves performance and increases child satisfaction
  • For ages 3+


A new magnetic small enough that is can travel!
  • 80 wooden magnetic pieces and colorful design guide


Sold by Fat Brain Toys and Fulfilled by AmazonGift-wrap available.
  • Folding, clicking puzzle of arranging gears to match challenge cards; one side features colors, other side features black and white; 16 gears each shift up to 255 degrees for exciting flexibility
  • Fold and arrange gears to match images printed on 40 challenge cards; 4 levels of difficulty: easy, medium, hard, extra hard; feel the gears click as they fall into place – doubles as a great fidget toy
  • Great for ages 6+; exceptionally strong, safe, high-quality materials; BPA free
  • Strengthens visual-spatial skills, critical thinking, logic; detailed instructions, easy for anyone to learn and play; clicking gears soothe anxious nerves, helps kids focus
  • Includes Coggy, 40 challenge cards; chain of gears measures 14 inches long; made in China


Fidget Spinners are all the rage these days but don't let them distract you from the oldies but goodies like these gems I snagged...


I recently became an Usborne Books and More Independent Consultant. As part of my Welcome Kit, three books arrived that are perfect for our roadtrip because they are practically toys/crafts themselves!

Shine-a-Light-On the Rainforest

Discover the animals and plants that live in and around a kapok tree, from the colorful parrots in the canopy to the sleek jaguar on the forest floor. This engaging non-fiction title will stimulate a love of the natural world as the vivacity of the rain forest is revealed through the bold and colorful artwork, and clever “see-through” pages.

The Wild Garden

Decorate the scenes with beautiful wild flowers rub-downs in this lovely keep-sake book! There will be a card pocket in the inside back cover where the 7 sheets of rub-down will be kept. Half of the spread is colored, and one can add the rub downs, the other half is line drawings that one can color, and add rub-downs to as well. The names of the flowers will also be there, so that one can learn them. Perfect for a mother's day gift, for example.

This is Not a Math Book

Math and art, as different as night and day, right? Wrong! This is Not a Math Book shows how math can be beautiful and art can be numerical. Amazing patterns with a mathematical basis will be revealed as you follow the simple activity instructions. And you’ll learn incredible math facts as you draw the beautiful designs. A real eye-opener for kids of all ages with an artistic bent who think that math is dry and boring, while math enthusiasts will discover new ways to be creative.

Minecraft Handbooks

My eldest is becoming a Minecraft junkie. So I picked up a trilogy of handbooks.
You can make theme parks with incredible waterslide rides, or entire pirate coves complete with galleons! Is there nothing that can't be achieved in Minecraft? Here the experts talk you through amazing constructs which range from awe-inspiring cathedrals to wacky inventions--like the hilarious animal cannon that catapults cows out to sea! Find out which are Notch's personal favorites and get step-by-step instructions to fuel your own creative genius. Be ORE-some!

Since we're readers and always excited about time together for enjoying books read aloud, I picked up a couple new chapter books...they're classics.

Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

In 1865, Charles Lutwidge Dodson composed a fantasy tale for a trio of young sisters. His creative genius and childlike ability to imagine a universe like no other took form in one of the most treasured children’s books of all time. Under the pen-name of Lewis Carroll, Dodson’s tale of an intrepid little girl who discovers a surreal, beautiful, and dangerous land would has shared its magic with generations of readers. His Cheshire Cat, Mad Hatter, and Queen of Hearts have become cultural icons, to say nothing of the heroic young Alice herself.

Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks

Full of magic and appealing characters, this classic novel takes readers on a remarkable adventure. 
It's Omri's birthday, but all he gets from his best friend, Patrick, is a little plastic Indian brave. Trying to hide his disappointment, Omri puts the Indian in a metal cupboard and locks the door with a mysterious skeleton key that once belonged to his great-grandmother. Little does Omri know that by turning the key, he will transform his ordinary plastic Indian into a real live man from an altogether different time and place! Omri and the tiny warrior called Little Bear could hardly be more different, yet soon the two forge a very special friendship. Will Omri be able to keep Little Bear without anyone finding out and taking his precious Indian from him?


We will have a six audiobooks downloaded from the library and ready to go. Some of them are oldies but goodies from my list of 66 Audio Stories for Little Kids (like Ralph S. Mouse, the Disney Fairies, and The Magic Treehouse). We're adding a couple to that list and since we are newly Beyond Preschool, the audience for whom these books were written are decidedly also Beyond Preschool...

By William Joyce

We've read Nicholas St. North and the Battle of the Nightmare King aloud and enjoyed it immensely but we haven't heard the audiobook version. So we're going to give it a try.

Before SANTA was SANTA, he was North, Nicholas St. North—a daredevil swordsman whose prowess with double scimitars was legendary. Like any swashbuckling young warrior, North seeks treasure and adventure, leading him to the fiercely guarded village of Santoff Claussen, said to be home to the greatest treasure in all the East, and to an even greater wizard, Ombric Shalazar. But when North arrives, legends of riches have given way to terrors of epic proportions! North must decide whether to seek his fortune…or save the village. 
When our rebellious hero gets sucked into the chaos (literally), the fight becomes very personal. The Nightmare King and his evil Fearlings are ruling the night, owning the shadows, and sending waves of fear through all of Santoff Clausen. For North, this is a battle worth fighting...and, he’s not alone. There are five other Guardians out there. He only has to find them in time.

The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer

This is new territory for us. I'm not sure if it will be too scary for my youngest (5yo) but we've listened to the author's treasury of fairy tales when we studied The Frog Prince and, I think, we are ready to venture forth in the Land of Stories through the Wishing Spell.

Alex and Conner Bailey's world is about to change, in this fast-paced adventure that uniquely combines our modern day world with the enchanting realm of classic fairy tales. 
The Land of Stories tells the tale of twins Alex and Conner. Through the mysterious powers of a cherished book of stories, they leave their world behind and find themselves in a foreign land full of wonder and magic where they come face-to-face with the fairy tale characters they grew up reading about.  
But after a series of encounters with witches, wolves, goblins, and trolls alike, getting back home is going to be harder than they thought.

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