This post is part of my special HAVE KIDS, WILL TRAVEL series to give you advice and wisdom on traveling with kids along with some fun reviews of travel-friendly items.
Do you ever wish you had more travel games in mind than looking for letters on license plates to stave off the hours of "Are we there yet"? Do you ever need something fun to do while waiting in a doctor's office or at a restaurant? Would you like these ideas to be easy to manage, creative, fun for a range of ages, and screen-free?
When I was putting together the Mindful Play eBundle, I was so excited to read Freaky Rivet's How To Fool Your Kids Into Having Fun So You Can: Travel Games Without Gadgets (great name, hey?) because: We were about to go on an epic Midwest trip! And we could really use all those things I just mentioned!
When I gushed to Iyas, the author, about how much I loved this book, he asked that I consider posting a review, so: I am!
Here's an example screenshot of what sort of fun to expect:
Other games I thought were quite clever were making a story out of randomly selected in-flight magazine sentences, the rather straightforward game of counting cows out a car window (with the funny rule that passing a cemetery makes you lose all your cows — but only if the opposing team notices and shouts, "Your cows are buried!" — I'm giggling already), awarding points based on guesses of distance (giving a purpose to "Are we there yet?"), and a game I cannot believe I forgot from my childhood where one person murders the others at a table by winking at them while the not-yet-victims try to guess who the murderer is. (Did you used to play that, too?)
You can tell a few things just from these examples:
- It's fun.
The ideas are entertaining for kids and grown-ups alike — so you don't have to be bored, either!
- It takes different modes of transportation into account.
The book doesn't assume road trip or train trip or plane trip or boat trip — it imagines you might be doing all of the above. This is because it was written after Iyas and his wife's own experiences world-traveling with their family of four kids. It also gives ideas for games to play in hotel rooms, restaurants, train stations, waiting rooms, relatives' homes, etc., so that even if you're not currently on the go, you can find something amusing to do.
- It works well for a range of children.
There are plenty of goofy games you can do with little kids, and many of the ideas in this book are adaptable to toddlers and preschoolers. But I'm excited to see a book that targets the primary years on up through teens, because that seems to be an often neglected segment when you're talking pure play.
- You don't need fancy supplies.
True to the nature of travel games, most of these you can do on the fly. For some, you might need simple supplies that are readily available, such as paper and pens or a deck of cards.
- It bolsters a love of travel.
You can tell from Iyas's travel blog and Freaky Rivet, too, that he has a deep-seated passion for experiencing other cultures. Many of the games will help your kids interact with the new experiences around them — and even learn a thing or two.
- Some games are educational; some are just plain fun.
This is what the description says, and it's true. There are games that will make you as a parent feel you are redeeming wasted hours with something virtuous and games that will make your kids squeal with how goofy they are — and you and your kids will enjoy both types.
I would recommend skimming through this book ahead of a big trip and making a mental (or literal) note of the games you think would most appeal to your kids. If you can download or upload it onto your smartphone, tablet, or laptop to bring along with you (it's a PDF), all the better! Then you can consult it on the road or anytime you're in a boooooring situation. Unfortunately, the book seems to be a series of images, so you can't copy and paste any of the text — so I would suggest memorizing a few of your favorites to have in your back pocket to whip out whenever the kiddos start moaning.
The book is written in an engaging, entertaining style, and I was quite pleased with the level of attention to copy editing and design. I also get a kick out of the fact that it's in UK English, and some of the games are very British as well, such as Animal Cricket. I still don't understand cricket, but I think I could get into the animal version just fine! You simply count animal legs up to 100 — and if you see a cat staring at you out of a window, it's an automatic win!
I will say just one caveat: While I admire the purpose of Freaky Rivet (getting kids up and moving, creating, playing, being!), I don't think it's necessary to be as down on technology and even eating (the tagline is "butts off the couch … snouts out the fridge") as the site seems to be. I don't think it's an either-or proposition. Kids can enjoy screen time and card games, relaxing and running around. That said, if you're feeling off balance in your own family and want to rev things up with some good, old-fashioned fun, then you'll enjoy the sparks Freaky Rivet can give you.
The website offers free weekly play ideas if you sign up, or you can purchase a subscription for full access to all the fun projects and games. So go explore more if you're interested in playful activities coming straight to your inbox!
Mindful Play eBundle, stat. This sale ends TOMORROW, October 7, exaand this travel book comes bundled with 8 other riveting resources. (See what I did there?)
Enjoy, and happy travels!
I received a free copy of the book to review for bundle inclusion,
and I have signed up for Freaky Rivet's affiliate program.
I try to seek out only products I think you would find
relevant and useful to your life as a natural parent.
If I don't like a product, I won't be recommending it to you.
See my full disclosure policy here.