Why do you travel and go on holiday: to relax and get away from it all? In your younger more single years, it was easy to throw a toothbrush and a bathing suit in a backpack and drive to nowhere at all. Traveling with kids, entails a bit more planning and the thought alone can give you the heebie-jeebies. Luxury establishments on an exotic island offer kid-clubs where you can drop them off and go shopping, but this isn’t the ideal and in Namibia, not a big possibility. So what do you do with your 3 year old who has just discovered that the word ‘why’ attracts much more attention than her cute scrunched up nose. To top it off, the term ‘because’ is not an adequate answer anymore.
There are ways to keep the kids occupied while you take the breather you deserve. I’m not saying your kids are the noose around your neck, but you can only explain why the giraffe has a long neck so many times and playing hide and seek around the cabin at the lodge gets tiring after a while right? I don’t have children of my own, yet, but I am an aunt of beautiful kids whom I have traveled with and I have called in expert advice from my friends.
In the car
I guess the biggest challenge is traveling from point A to B and C and D (in Namibia this can easily be the whole alphabet) and we all know the nagging sentence that suddenly bursts out from the back of the car: “Are we there yet”? There are various solutions to keep the nagging to a minimum. Car games will not only keep them occupied but it’s such a fun way to involve everyone and make the road feel shorter.
I have jotted down a few ideas for you. (Please leave me a comment if you know some more exciting ways to keep the kids occupied)
The Singing Game – One person starts singing a song and stops singing somewhere random. The word the song was ended on, is the beginning of another song using that word. Example:
You Are My Sunshine
My only sunshine.
You make me happy……..
The next person must now sing a song that starts with “happy”
Happy days are here again
The skies above are clear again
So let's sing a song of cheer again
Happy days are here again
It’s not as easy as it sounds but i can guarantee it will provide hours of fun and laughter.
Other games to play in the car includes: I spy something with my little eye or 20 questions. For a whole lot of other car games, click here.
Activities at the lodge
There are some clever ways to get your children involved in nature and to keep themselves busy without working on your nerves.
This one takes a bit of planning.
You will need :
• An empty jar / container
• Empty envelopes
• Empty box to place envelopes in.
• All kinds of children activities like puzzles etc
Fill each envelope with activities like a puzzle or glue and scissors etc. Mark the envelope with its contents and on a little piece of paper write down the names of the envelopes.
Place these pieces of paper, folded, into the jar and when they get bored with whatever they are busy with, they have to draw a paper from the jar and this way they choose themselves by means of chance what they will be doing next. A very exciting way of keeping everyone happy without telling them what they should do.
Another great idea is to buy your children a disposable camera or a cheap digital one and give them a list of things – animals / plants that is found in the area. They must go on a treasure hunt to find the items on the list and photograph it.
Upon returning home, the excitement continues when the photos are to be developed or printed.
Journals are a fun way to get children to have keepsakes of their journeys and travels. Give each child a box, container of their choice. This will be their treasure chest on the journey. In this chest, include a diary/sketchpad and crayons. Encourage them to write down / draw the things they see, eat, do and feel. Get them to collect treasures along the way like a beautiful stone, or a thorn that pinched their toe. Get maps of the area for them to circle where they have been and what they have seen. Just think about it: when grandma and grandpa come over for a visit, the kids will have hours of stories to share.
In the evenings, bring back old traditions by telling stories under the stars.
I have found a very nifty blog with all kinds of neat ideas to make your life not just easier, but your holiday less of a hassle - Kids-activities blog
Here are some images for you to print out courtesy of freegreatimages.com
Do you have any other ideas, on children activities when traveling in Namibia? I would love to know.
Jessica Thomas is a local freelance writer. She is an eccentric young lady who has a love affair with writing. Get on board her journey of discovery.