Road trip game ideas with a toddler!

Yes there are so many ways to entertain your kids! Nowadays with technology right at your fingertips…not to mention the accessibility of cellular devices, tablets, and portable gaming consoles.

Sometimes we lose touch with human interaction when we are so involved with the latest social media notification or when bombarded with emails and text notifications.

Our family recently took a road trip from Rhode Island to Miami, Florida with stops in D.C. and Myrtle Beach. Along the way we tried out a few different car games with our 2.5 year old son.

Road trip from RI to Fl

Play Guessing Games in the Car

Michael and I both realized that our son, Kai, enjoys playing guessing games! Below are some guessing game suggestions and ideas for you and your family to try while at home, on road trips, or waiting in line at an amusement park or simply when you have time and are bored with your toddler.

Delaware bridge road trip

I Spy Guessing Game

This is a classic childhood car game that brings back memories! The object of the game is to guess the thing(s) that are a certain color.

  • Example: mommy says, “I spy with my eye something that is the color green.” Toddler replies, “trees?!”
  • We found that focusing on objects that are seen for longer periods of time proved to be better for us, since our toddler’s reaction time isn’t the quickest, especially when driving 60 MPH.
  • This game doesn’t usually last us a long time, unless we also focus on items INSIDE the car. Then we can play for a little while longer. Also try and change it up and ask your child to ask the adult or other siblings what he or she spies!!! We have fun guessing too:)

Guess the Animal

Not sure if this has another name, but that’s what we call it in our family! Objective is to guess the animal.

  • Example: daddy says, “baaaa”, and asks children to guess what animal. Child replies, “sheep!”
  • This game is fun and the child also had a blast getting involved in mimicking animal noises.

Guess the Color

As the name of the game provides a wonderful explanation of objective, which is to guess to the color of what is being described.

    • Example: grandma asks, “what color am I thinking of? Apples, stop sign, cherries, raspberries, roses…” child replies, “red!”
    • We have tried playing this game when our toddler was a bit overtired and let me tell you it was an epic failure! He would not concentrate AT ALL and would constantly laugh 😂 which would make me laugh even harder! It was hilarious!

Guess the Item

This game can be played several different ways depending on the children’s ages. The way we have played is fairly simple. Example: grandpa says, “I am thinking about something, this something is the color red. You can eat it. It is sweet. It is a fruit. It’s crunchy. You can pick it off a tree in the fall. You can make pie with it.” Child says, “apple!?”

  • The adult can go on and on and provide detailed descriptions of the item he or she is thinking about until the child guesses correctly. We have found that, depending on your child’s comprehension and vocabulary level, it might be best to start with very simple things.
  • When your children grow older you can start doing the role reversal so they can ask you to guess the item they’re thinking of.

Little Passports

Imagination and Reading to the Rescue!

In addition to occupying your children’s time with guessing games, another form of entertainment we have found to be fun and stimulating is your imagination.

Storytelling

If you’re a creative and imaginative person this is right up your alley! The object is to use descriptive words and tell a fun story.

Unfortunately my attempts at telling our son a story has failed on numerous occasions. It just doesn’t “flow” for me. Therefore, I rely heavily on resources that are available to us.

Audiobooks

My default: the library! If you have a library card you most likely have access to borrow e-books and audiobooks.

  • Prior to our road trip or even during the long drive, I log into my online library account and search for some children audiobooks. I am able to download them right then and there through an app called Overdrive or listen to the book right through our browser. My son loves Curious George and Pinkalicious and enjoys listening to the audiobooks. I have also realized they seem to calm him down and put him to sleep (on a good day).

Playing Pretend

Similar to story-telling, but we are the ones in the “story”. My husband does such an amazing job with this game! Typically we do this at night when we are winding down from a busy day, and if we decide not to read a bedtime storybook.

  • Example: daddy says, “are you ready to go on a safari adventure? What animals do you want to see today?” Then he describes going into a Jeep and buckling up and seeing all of the sights with animal sounds and all! Being in a moving vehicle we could pretend we are in space and seeing all of the spaceships and other life forms go by us, as we are riding.

Little Passports

Other Activities and Ideas!

Here are some other suggestions and things we have tried with our toddler on our long road trips.

Toys

Sometimes bringing his favorite toy(s) are extremely helpful! If your child has a stuffed animal he or she can play pretend and feed it snacks and have fun. Kai enjoys playing with his “shark blaster,” which has lights and sounds.

Snacks & Food

Kai loves snacks! Eating and snacking on stuff keeps him occupied and entertained for a long time. I usually try and find some healthy snacks for him to munch on. His favorites include the following:

Tablet

When all else fails, we do resort to playing movies or TV shows on his tablet. This is the one we have, along with the case we got for him:



Our sons enjoying watching certain shows and tends to fall asleep to the movie Moana, which was his favorite for a long time.

Some of the toddler games are very educational, but we have found that we need to sit down with him and show him how to play the games before we sit in the car. The games are a little complex for him to figure out all on his own after downloading them.

I recommend letting your child play games that he or she is already familiar with so they can explore on their own. Otherwise, you will have a toddler constantly asking you how to do this and that in each level or in each game.

Play Packs / Coloring Activity

Our son doesn’t typically have the attention span to sit for long periods of time, but when we are in the car he actually enjoys coloring and playing with some stickers. He has been rather intricate with his coloring nowadays…compared to just a few months ago he would just color a few lines and said he was all done.

We hope these road trip ideas are helpful for you and your family during long drives or when you’re traveling:) Enjoy!

The 50 States: A Road Trip of a Lifetime

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Newport Family Day Trip

Yes, we are Rhode Island residents. And yes, we don’t explore locally enough. However, once or twice a year, when our Cairn terrier needs to get groomed, we take the opportunity to spend some family time in the Newport, RI area.

Our Dog Groomer

Since our dog has a wire coat and my husband is very particular about how he gets groomed. And not a lot of places in the area offer hand-stripping dogs with a wire coat. We found one place and it’s located in Portsmouth, RI, called Perry’s Plush Pooch. They specialize in grooming show dogs. And while it is a hefty price to pay for our dog, it’s supposedly the proper way to groom a Cairn terrier.

Here’s some pictures of our shaggy Cairn…

and his post-groom look…

Castle Hill Lighthouse

Since our groomer requires he be brought to him by 8am in the morning and he be picked up around 3pm, we have typically gone for a day trip to Newport.

The first year we did this Kai was just getting comfortable with walking on uneven surfaces. So we just ended up taking him to a local playground and to Castle Hill Lighthouse.  When we went it was a cool and beautiful day in early April, so we got some nice pictures by the lighthouse and walking on the empty beach. And, it wasn’t super crowded/full of tourists that time of year.

Thames Street

After the lighthouse excursion, we decided to do some shopping on Thames. Kai had his snacks in his stroller along with his milk, while walked around.Snacking toddler with Ray Bans

Oh have I mentioned how much I LOVED using these WeeSprout Double Zipper Reusable Food Pouch – 6 Pack – 5 fl oz I found on Amazon while he was into eating pureed fruit? I would steam all sorts of fruits and vegetables and puree them all. Kai loved his snacks so much!

While he napped…

During his nap, we decided to go to a nice sit-down seafood restaurant, Mooring Restaurant. It worked out perfectly, and just as we were getting ready for dessert, our little one sat right up from his stroller looking SO ADORABLE with his cute/messy hair.

Just woken up toddler in stroller

What a wonderful way to end our Newport, RI day trip before we picked up our dog.

Toddler lesson: corn 🌽 🍿

After our very first toddler lesson at home focusing on pumpkins, I received some feedback for which I was very grateful.

The kids has a blast, and they learned and retained a lot of the material we covered.

Attention

Our focus is simply to grab the kids’ attention. They’re so little and have trouble paying attention. And when the kids are put in an environment that’s different or new there are so many distractions, everywhere. It’s unavoidable. But, we try to minimize them.

Corn Lesson Plan

Sticking to the autumn theme, this past week’s lesson was focused on corn! There are a lot of things made out of corn so we ended up shucking corn after watching a YouTube video about Corn on the Cob. And then we did a few sensory activities while we read some books.

Here is a picture of my lesson plan board!

Toddler lesson plan board focusing on CORN

Corn Structured Play

Our biggest class yet. Five kids vs. three kids made a difference! Just a lot going on all at once…good noise of course!

Also, there were a lot of activities to cover, but the transition was nice because I tried to plan it so the kids had a few songs and then books and then back to some sort of craft so they didn’t get bored.

Overall, it was a very fast-paced lesson focused on play.

Here is a printout focusing on the letter C, corn, and the Chinese character with pinyin for corn.

C is for Corn

Once we finished with the lesson portion of the lesson, we went upstairs and munched away on corn snacks!

Corn snack ideas!

  • Corn muffins
  • Corn chips
  • Tortilla chips with salsa
  • Corn on the cob with or without butter
  • Spanish corn snack called Quicos (found at Whole Foods)
  • Popcorn

Popcorn Flavor Station

Why not make it fun and interactive for your toddlers and friends? You can create a popcorn station where kids can experiment with different types of seasonings. I whipped out my seaweed and other spices from my spice rack, as well as some mainstream spices, such as cinnammon with sugar

Popcorn with flavor station

Get your own brown paper bags and shake ’em up with your favorite popcorn seasonings. Of course, my child went for it and made a pile of “Bangkok Blend” seasoning along with Chili Powder!

Mixing different flavors for popcorn seasoning

Hopping Corn

Oh and if you’re wondering about that large glass vase on the left-hand corner in the above picture, that was our hopping corn activity we found on www.onetimethrough.com.

Here is the link if you’re interested! http://onetimethrough.com/hopping-corn-science-activity/

The AftermathPopcorn lesson aftermath - homeschooling my toddler

Popcorn galore!  Yes, there were popcorn and kernels everywhere. It smelled like a movie theatre once we were finished with our lesson for the day! Lots of cleaning post-lesson. Thankful for all of the helpful moms in the group <3.

Welcome to parenthood. Done messy!

I hope you enjoyed reading and browsing through pictures:) Until next lesson….

Ten Red Apples Felt Board Activity Prep

For my toddler homeschooling lesson this fall, I organized an activity that encourages participation!

Turn your lesson prep into a FUN time with your kids:) That’s what we did.

Ten Red Apples

After checking out some books from our local library, I selected Ten Red Apples by Pat Hutchins (ISBN: 0688167977) for our apple-themed felt board activity.

Preparation

Kai, my two-year old son, and I had a blast making the cute cut-outs for the hand-me-down felt board I inherited from my husband’s Aunt Linda. She used to teach pre-school, and she passed along all of her material to me. I’m so blessed and thankful for all of the resources! Thank you.

Here are some pictures from our activity.

I searched for clipart images of all of the animals in the book, from a horse to a donkey to a hen and a duck! Then, I printed them out on regular paper. I also printed out a large tree and some apples and the farmers.

Afterwards, I used Mod Podge Original 16-Ounce Glue, Gloss Finish Party Supplies, 16 Oz, 12 Pieces with some paint brushes to stick them on thick paper (cardstock).

I asked Kai to help me paint over the images I printed out. Definitely don’t be shy with the glue. I painted underneath the images and then Kai took over! After there was a nice coat over the images, we lay them out to dry for a few hours.

Then we started cutting them out. I used a hot glue gun and glued felt on the back of the images. To stick the apples on the tree, I used mounting putty, so they could easily be removed from the tree as we counted down from 10 to 0.

The Activity

For the actual felt board activity during the day of the lesson, I asked a parent volunteer to read the book as I assisted with the images. It was a semi-success. Some kids were very focused while others were not.

You win some and lose some.

We had so much fun with the whole process though:) and hope you enjoy!

Toddler Lesson: Pumpkins

Our first homeschooling lesson with friends last week was a success! My son Kai is one month away from hitting 2.5 years old, and I began to realize the importance of social interaction along with a structured form of learning and playing.

After a few failed attempts of teaching my toddler the alphabet at home on my own, I started talking with other moms and seeking some online resources for guidance and inspiration.

And, finally after speaking with a few of my mommy friends who I met at the library, I really got motivated and started developing a toddler curriculum during my recent trip.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Every Wednesday morning, for about an hour, I teach and direct play! That first day, we welcomed two of Kai’s friends to our house! They are both very close in age. The little boy is one month older than Kai and the little girl is three months younger than him. All the kids have their own personalities, which makes the class challenging yet educational. Everyone gets to show his or her strongpoints and they can learn a great deal from each other!

Lesson Plan and Poster

Below is my lesson plan. It’s a FREE PDF DOWNLOAD of PUMPKIN LESSON PLAN.

So feel free to view, download, and print at home!  I have included the sources I have used in the file, and additional resources will be listed in the Resources section of this post.

Pumpkins Lesson Plan

Here was my toddler homeschooling lesson poster:)

homeschooling a toddler pumpkin lesson poster board

As you may notice, it was a lot to cover! I ended up having to make an adjustment mid-way through the lesson and eliminated the life cycle of a pumpkin because it just didn’t seem like it was going to grab the kids’ attention.

Get the Best Deals at Gymboree!

Water Activities

This one is a picture of the pumpkin washing station where I filled a large plastic bin with some warm water and added some brushes for the kids to clean off the dirt from the pumpkin. We did this activity indoors so I ended up putting a towel underneath the tub, but you could easily bring the classroom outdoors too!

In my mind, this teaches the toddlers to focus on cleaning something, and it demonstrates the importance of helping and working together to complete chores.

pumpkin washing and cleaning station for toddlers

To the right of my son you may also notice another plastic bin. This one was used to demonstrate the concepts of sink or float?! We first saw this activity in an episode of Blippi!  My son absolutely loves watching his educational videos. I think Blippi is very enthusiastic and definitely captures the attention of my little one. I enjoy watching Blippi with my son in small doses:)

Anyways, when I introduced sink or float to the kids, they automatically began putting all the objects into the water and their goal was to play. This was perfectly fine because it was getting their attention and it was more of a “free play” activity! It wasn’t my goal, but we were totally happy with the kids enjoying themselves. That is really our goal here: for the kids to have fun, learn to play with other kids, and conduct their own experiments and create their own form of curious play.

Pumpkin Painting and Decorating

In between my structured teaching, we handed out brushes, paint, and smocks, and everyone brought their own pumpkins to paint! The kids had fun painting. Afterwards, we let them dry and I bought Halloween-themed foam stickers from the Dollar Tree for the kids to stick them on after our Chinese lesson!

toddlers painting pumpkins for a homeschooling craft activity

In addition to painting and decorating their very own pumpkins, the kids got a chance to help measure out the ingredients while we made slime for the first time!

Pirate pumpkinSkeleton pumpkin

Pumpkin Slime-Making

One of my mommy friends brought pumpkin seeds, which were so scrumptious! She got the ones that were seeded and salted. YUM! We all got to taste-test these pumpkin seeds before we added them to our slime mixture.

The recipe we used to make this version of slime can be found here.

It took a little bit to figure out how to not make it as sticky, but it turned out to be such an amazing sensory activity for them.

pumpkin slime with pumpkin seeds

Kai and I ended up playing with it after everyone left, and we must have spent over a half an hour on this activity.

Little Passports

Chinese for Pumpkin

Here are the Chinese characters for pumpkin. In pinyin it’s nánguā.

Chinese characters for pumpkin

I have included a printout for you to download for Pp is for Pumpkin, which includes the Chinese characters for pumpkin.

The Chinese resources I used during my lesson are found in the Resources section of this post.

$1 Craft Supplies at Dollar Tree!

Pumpkin Bread

Another mom friend made pumpkin bread and brought it for everyone to share. It was so thoughtful! We really have a wonderful and creative team of moms in the group. So happy.

After the lesson and activities, the kids got to play upstairs in Kai’s play room. And, we all got to have some pumpkin bread and other snacks. It was a nice time to just wind down and do some bonding.

Feedback

I was so happy with the feedback! One thing I am going to try and focus on is getting the kids’ attentions as soon as we start the lesson.

It had been a while since one of the little girls had been to our house, and the little boy had never been here before. Hence, distractions galore:)

We are hoping the next time the kids come over, I will plan for more songs to grab everyone’s attention. Maybe playing some dance music or adding a few more songs in the beginning of the lesson to set the toddlers in “lesson mode”?

Kai, of course, was just too comfortable and drawing on the whiteboard while I was reading the books, haha.

One suggestion was to do a rotation, where, every week we would travel to other mom’s houses and everyone would plan their own lessons. Such a wonderful network of moms here. And an amazing idea…that we would definitely want to do after the holidays. Why? Well, one of my mommy friends is leaving for a month to visit family out-of-state. And, the following month, our family will be away for a month and a half, traveling.

Everything will return back to a normal schedule come January 2019. So, we could essentially start this rotational homeschooling program with the toddlers then. For the remainder of the autumn season, I have developed the curriculum and will continue to host the kids at my house or wherever we are. And, during our time away from each other, the moms will have the choice to use my weekly lesson plans and do their own activities at home.

It was such a great first run. 

I’m super excited to be doing this with my toddler. He’s having such an amazing time learning. It also gives me purpose. I am thankful for having friends so Kai is able to socialize and interact with them.

xErgo baby Love Carries On/Go Far Stay Close

Field Trip Tie-In

Before or after each lesson, my intention is to bring the classroom outside for the kids to explore and experience things first-hand. With the colorful changing seasons of New England, what a perfect way for us to do some family bonding while reinforcing a lesson topic:)

Our intention was to visit a local pumpkin patch and do some hayrides. Unfortunately, he started getting a runny nose, the coughs and sneezes:(

Last night, he was up a few hours because he couldn’t breath from his nose. I honestly swear this kid gets sick so many times during the year. It’s at least once a month if he’s interacting with other people. I’m praying his immune system is solid once he gets older because he’s probably caught 70% of the colds out there.

Maybe we will take a family trip to a local farm that incorporates all of the autumn topics I’m covering.

Resources

Here are the links I used throughout the lesson:

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Thank you ALL for reading! If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to leave a comment:)

Homeschooling my Toddler

Boston Children’s Museum Day Trip

Boston Children’s Museum Day Trip
Friday, August 10, 2018

Sometimes going on day trips and taking advantage of where your home base is, is the best way to explore.

Explore locally.

So my husband took a guys fishing trip to Key West, Florida for about five days. Oh I’m really hoping he will write a short post about his trip…or maybe I’ll do an interview! Anyways, while he was away, I had planned a few activities to keep my toddler and me busy.

Preparation

My friend Paolina and her one-year old Isabella met up with us.

We both had planned to pack our own lunches. This always takes a little time. My go-to: peanut butter and jelly sandwiches:) well I made one PB&J with the crusts cut off and cut into triangles for Kai. I also made one ham and cheese with mayo sans crust for him. I made myself a buffalo chicken sandwich with mustard, and I brought some baby carrots dipped in hummus with pine nuts (so tasty)! One thing Kai loves is his milk.

I always pack a change of clothes and underwear for Kai. And, extra shoes too! Since he was going to do a lot of walking, I made sure to put on socks and sneakers for him. I did notice there were some rooms with water, so I packed sandals for him too!

The Trip

We met at the Boston Children’s Museum, and we both drove into Boston. I live in Rhode Island, so Boston is about an hour north of me. Paolina lives north of Boston, so we met in a good location.

I left my house around 10am to try and avoid the rush hour traffic into the city. It worked out pretty well!

Parking garage options are listed on their webpage. We opted for the one located at: 280 Congress Street, Boston, MA.

The rate: $20 for the day with a validated parking ticket from the museum.

Kai and I got to the parking garage around 11:20am. Paolina had just parked, so she waited for me in the elevator area while I got all of his stuff together.

Stroller ride to the Boston Children's Museum

Thankfully we brought our stroller with us. It was quite useful when commuting from the parking garage to the museum itself.

Navigating the Museum

Here is the link to the museum floor plan. The museum is fairly large compared to the one in Providence, RI.

Once we were there it having the stroller was a little bit of a hassle, but the museum had ample stroller parking space alongside or outside of the exhibits.

This was both of our first times here at the museum.

Because I have a family plus membership to the Providence Children’s Museum I was able to get a 50% discount for up to six guests in total at the Boston Children’s Museum. You should check your local museum to see if they participate.

Here you can find a chart listing museums participating in the reciprocal program! This way, if you get a membership to your local museum, you are able to get a 50% discount to other museums:)

Food First!

Our first stop after purchasing tickets was to find a lunch area where we could eat our packed lunches. We ended up having to around to the cafe (Au Bon Pain) which was to the right of the ticketing area. Food for purchase was available, but since we brought our own lunches, we just ate that.  The cafeteria is a really cute space with ample high chairs if your child needs one.

We started from the top and worked our way downstairs.

Third Floor

There is a large construction play area, filled with trucks, tracks, and large working equipment for children to play on! There are costumes for the little ones to play dress up, and there were areas for them to climb on; bridges to walk across. It was as if you were in a large city environment in a construction zone.

We didn’t get a chance to see the Japanese House because they were doing guided tours every 15 minutes or so, and the timing just didn’t work out when we were there.

One thing we enjoyed was the large dinosaur they had on display. You were able to use the controls and push the buttons for the huge mechanical dino to move its head and arms. It also roars loudly.

Second Floor

The play space for kids 0-3 was a nice and contained area for the younger ones to explore and play! There were little areas for kids to play pretend and use their imagination. There is also a little playground area for the little ones to climb up and slide down. There is a scarf station that uses a vacuum.

Kids playing in water area at the Boston Children's Museum

I believe the water area is on this floor too!

First floor

To your left, after you purchase tickets, you will notice a large jungle gym. It is the same type of jungle gym/maze that the Providence Children’s Museum has outdoors.

There are a lot of sensory activities for kids to partake in. Kai especially enjoyed playing with the golf balls and rolling them down the ramps.

The bubble room was very entertaining as well. There is an interactive exercise area where kids are able to use a pulley system and pedal on stationary bike to race. It’s all about ‘energy’, and it was fun.

Right before we left, we decided to catch one of the kids shows at KidStage: Three Little Pigs. The performers were so entertaining. They asked for seven volunteers: three little pigs, three houses, and one big bad wolf.

Everyone did an amazing job.

Conclusions

Will we come back? It’s definitely likely, since you can really spend a lot of time here. My only concern would be how germ-infested it is during the winter months when outdoor playgrounds are of no use since it’s freezing in New England…but that’s everywhere I guess.

This museum will wear you AND your child out. Paolina and I thought it was necessary to get a caffeinated beverage from the Starbucks across the street when we left.

If you parked in an affiliated parking garage, don’t forget to get your ticket validated by the museum!

Thanks for reading about our day trip.

Little Passports

Homeschooling my Toddler

So I’ve made the decision to start teaching my 2-year old at home. I have been a full-time stay at home parent for almost two years now! October 1, 2018 will mark my 2nd anniversary.

Little PassportsMy Son

Kai has been such an instrumental addition to our family. He’s literally been life-changing.

My son playing tennis
Things he’s into now: ninjas, grapes, pretend fighting, running around, exercising, watching tv + movies, playing with puzzles, building with legos, and eating dino chicken nuggets.

Let’s just say these two years have been the most challenging yet most rewarding so far.

My Decision

Let’s just say being at home isn’t easy. I’ve always said the hardest part about being a Stay at Home Mom is actually staying at home. I get fulfillment and enjoyment in taking Kai outside to see the world; whether it be a day trip to a children’s museum or zoo, a family RV trip to Canada, or a simple trip to the grocery store.

I enjoy staying busy. Some days too busy.

After talking with a few other parents, and simply observing my toddler throughout the day, I have come to the realization that structured play or structured learning peeks his interest. It grabs his attention. Similar to him playing a game on his tablet or watching a captivating movie or tv show.

My son napping

When Kai gets sick, he’s out of commission for one to two weeks at a time. I don’t like exposing him to other people/other kids. Hence, we are stuck at home. After staying home with him for 1-2 weeks, I came to the realization my 2-year old spends way too much of his time watching television.

I didn’t want to push him too hard while he was sick. But, hey, I felt trapped.

Boredom, that was the fuel. My ignition. That spear-headed my decision to seriously commit to homeschooling my toddler.

Little PassportsSchedule

Yes, I must be strong. Stick to a solid schedule.  Let’s get motivated.

I have such an impact and influence on my toddler’s life. He’s grown to be such a “big kid”.

Once I start, I can tailor my weekly schedule to whatever seems to work for him.

Time + Resources

On my recent trip to Las Vegas, I took my travel time to start creating lesson for my son. I was so productive during my flight it wasn’t even funny. Guess when you’re stuck on a flight for five hours (window seat), you get inspired.

I have also spoken to a friend who has a son that is only a month older than Kai. He will also be joining in on some of the lessons at my house.

I’m hoping adding another child in the mix might encourage my son. Mainly because I have attempted to teach Kai the A,B,C’s (well just A, B, C, and D). We had stuffed animals attend our “class”. And, it was fairly challenging to teach my son to focus. Or as we say “center his qi” 😉

CHINESE! Yes, I want to incorporate teaching some Chinese to Kai during these lessons. I have yet to do extensive research, but I know I may take a little trip to where I used to work, The U.S. China Institute at Bryant University in Smithfield, RI, to see if they may have some resources for children.

The library! I have gone to the local library and have borrowed some books about parenting/homeschooling. Most of them are mainly for reference and motivation. I did get a few ideas from a few of them. A few of the books are a bit outdated (in reference to some of the website resources listed). But, overall my research will hopefully be helpful.

Homeschooling books from the library

I have listed the books I borrowed from the library below with ISBN:

  • The Homeschooling Handbook by Lorilee Lippincott
    • ISBN: 1-62873-617-8
  • School Starts at Home by Cheri Fuller
    • ISBN: 1-57683-600-2
  • Ready…Start…School! by Sandra F. Rief
    • ISBN: 0-7352-0299-0
  • The Everything Guide to Homeschooling by Sherri Linsenbach
    • ISBN: 1-4405-9069-9

And, last but not least, here are some websites I have been using for inspiration in creating my lesson plans:

  • www.childcarelounge.com
  • www.naturalbeachliving.com
  • www.letteroftheweek.com
  • www.enchantedlearning.com
  • http://preschoolpowolpackets.blogspot.com/
  • www.dltk-kids.com

 Wish me luck

Yes, I’ll need lots of luck. And prayers. Please pray for me. That I may be strong and stay consistent. I’m just hoping to capture their attention:)

My expectation is simply to see if my little teaching experiment works or doesn’t work. I may have to make adjustments and tailor my teaching to their interests. We will see…only time, perseverance, and trial/error will tell…

I plan to share and post pictures of my lessons and activities. Super excited to begin this chapter in our lives.

Ah, let’s do this!

Little PassportsSuggestions?

If anyone has any suggestions or if you have been there and done that, please share!

Full-Time Mommy in Training, Present!

Little Passports

Road Trip Essentials

Road Trip Lifesavers

Our family recently took a road trip from Rhode Island, USA to Maine, USA and to New Brunswick, Canada in our 2018 Airstream Classic 30′ Travel Trailer. Our tow vehicle (Ford F-150).

This was our very first long road trip (over two weeks), with our 2 year old toddler and 3 year old dog. It took a lot of patience, planning, and negotiation.

In the end it was very rewarding and extremely educational for our family. We learned a lot about our Airstream, our family, our limits, and how we truly appreciate some of the things we had with us during our journey.

THE LIST

Let me start off by saying that this list is not EVERYTHING we packed. It’s just most, if not all, of the items we found to be extremely useful along our road trip.

This is not a go-to packing list but a resource for inspiration if you’re planning on taking a long drive with your toddler, or with your dog.

For Kai

Our Fire HD8 tablet for Kai helped a lot; and we especially love the case we purchased for it. This was our third case, and it’s by far my favorite! We even have it in bright blue, so it really stands out! It was such a breeze to put onto the Fire Tablet too.

Kai especially loves the puzzle games and just watching movies/tv shows. We do only resort to the tablet when we are driving long distances, or when we go out to eat. We used it when we went out to lunch in Freeport.

Other clutch item for our travels? The OXO 2-in-1 travel potty🙂 You can stand it up so he can sit independently sit on it or use it on a regular toilet seat so toddler doesn’t feel like he’s falling in.

It was perfect for Kai, since he prefers to take his time to poop. We mostly use it as the stand-up option. And, the OXO bags are great because they have an absorption pad so it helps with excessive pee. I have also used a regular plastic shopping bag (make sure there are no holes in it). I add some paper towels for absorption. We also find the splash guard on this potty to be such a nice feature (since he is a boy, and he still pees sitting down). He hasn’t really gotten the whole aiming thing down yet 😉

While the above sippy cups by Munchkin have mixed reviews, we have been using them for Kai since he started drinking cows milk at 12 months old.



At first, I did find it hard to clean, but one I got the hang of it, it was a breeze. I love my OXO On the Go bottle cleaning set. I just use them along with these Dr. Brown pipe cleaners to clean the straws out.

For travel, I ended up purchasing a few of these Dapple dish detergent bottles. They’re awesome!

Kai was an early walker. At 10 months old he took his first step, and by 11 months he was close to running! Before he was mobile, we used the Baby Bjorn carrier (black). Prior to this trip, we simply used the stroller for long walks. But, we had planned to do some long hikes, so we decided to invest in some sort of carrier. Initially we were torn on getting a hiking carrier, but it was going to be over $200 and we were just concerned we weren’t going to get too much use out of it. I ended up finding this teal BabySteps carrier (weight max capacity 44lbs) on Amazon.com that we purchased. It worked perfectly for us and it was a fraction of the cost of a hiking carrier.

RushMyPassport.com

For Us

These collapsible food storage containers were perfect for us. We purchased these when we bought our first RV, and they have been so amazing.

Also, this collapsible mixing bowl is very convenient when you have a large salad to serve , popcorn for a movie, or brownies to bake and need a large bowl. This one is a little pricey, but it’s a lot sturdier than the food storage containers.

I also swear by this collapsible sink colander. It’s such a space-saver in the RV:) and I love the fact that it has the expandable legs. It fits in our 2018 Airstream Classic 30′ sink perfectly! We also used it in our sink in the 2018 Springdale Mini 1750RD by Keystone, and it fit nicely (without us having to use the legs).

Water shoes were so helpful when we went to Fundy National Park and we were exploring the rocky ocean floor during low tide. Those rocks are very hard and wearing protective footwear was important for me. I bought myself these sock-like water shoes and purchased my husband a pair of Speedos.

For Our Dog

Collapsible dog food and water bowls came in very handy while on the road. When we stopped so that Kai could use the potty, we also took Stanley out to pee. When Kai stretched his legs and ran around, so did Stanley. Then he got thirsty. So, we pulled out our bowl for him and always gave him our drinking water. We just didn’t trust the water at the rest stops or at the campgrounds (for drinking, at least).

No, we didn’t need these “EXTRA LARGE” ones for our 20 lb Cairn Terrier, but you get the idea 🙂

Another important item to have on hand when camping at sites is a sturdy and reliable tie out. We used this every time we had to set up our site and when we were outside eating, so Stanley could hang out with us.

Thanks for reading all this post, everyone. Happy travels, happy camping, and live riveted!

Full-Time Mommy in Training, Present!

If you’re interested in reading about the details of our trip, click here.

Halloween in July

2018 ROAD TRIP TO MAINE & CANADA

Days 2 – 4
Thursday, 7/12 – Sunday, 7/15

After our action-packed first day and our first time boondocking at the Cabela’s in Maine, we drove up north to Medway, where we had booked three nights at Katahdin Shadows Campground.

The last ten minutes of the ride, Kai was not having it:( hence the crying toddler pictured above.

What made it worse was that Michael had to check into the campground and get all of our paperwork. So Kai wanted to see Daddy. Poor kid.

I did turn on an episode of Dino Dana on our Amazon Fire HD 8 tablet and that helped a lot! Kai loves watching Dino Dana. That and Curious George are two shows that definitely keep him entertained.

Initially, we had planned this route because Michael and his guy friends were planning on hiking Mt. Katahdin on Saturday. His friends were supposed to drive up on Friday, camp that night and get an early start on the hike on Saturday, camp that night and leave Sunday.

I had found a family-friendly campground. They were having a Halloween-themed weekend, so I could bond with Kai and Stanley while Michael was away.

The week before our trip, his friends all backed out from hiking.

Guess that meant more family time! As you can imagine, Michael was overjoyed to spend HALLOWEEN weekend with us in JULY!

Katahdin Shadows Campground

Staff was very friendly!

Prior to our stay, we were fortunate enough to get a call back from the campground a few days before we arrived. We were on a waitlist for a 50 amp, pull-thru site with a sewer hookup. We ended up getting it. That was such wonderful news.

I did read a review about the check in area being fairly steep for a big rig to pull into. We had no problems. But it was nice to have a idea beforehand.

The sites were all fairly close together at this campground. The playground is such a wonderful area and since it was Halloween weekend, the campground was fully booked. That meant a lot of kids!

I would definitely recommend this campground to families with young kids with an RV. It gets loud, but it adds to the community and excitement of it all.

It surely isn’t for the older couple look for a nice relaxing and quite environment or the young couple looking for nature hiking and biking; unless you are simply going to Baxter State Park for the day.

One thing to note about Baxter State Park is that it is not dog-friendly.

The staff and people here were super friendly! There are a lot of seasonal campers here and what’s great is there are also cabin rentals and just regular tent sites. Those are more private and tucked away. So, if you are someone who doesn’t have an RV and enjoy tent camping, this campground offers a very different environment, away from the noise.

Getting settled

That first evening, we decided to get some essentials: food. We asked the staff and they informed us of a local market at the gas station right down the road from the campground. It was called the Big Apple Store. They had the essentials. So, we were very happy.

We decided to take the bikes with us! Before we had Kai, we had Stanley, our cairn terrier. When we got bicycles for us, we also invested in one of these InStep bicycle trailers so that our little pup, Stanley could ride with us:)

Now that we have Kai, he can ride in it while my husband pulls him. It’s so perfect when we have sort of a long distance to go but would rather take our bikes to get there a bit faster.

In this case, we needed to purchase a gallon of milk, drinkable water and some other groceries! And we just didn’t feel like driving because that’s all we had been doing for two whole days.

The bike trailer is able to seat two kids, so it was just enough space to fit Kai and all the groceries we purchased:)

Local summer festival

On Friday, we found out there was a little festival in town, not far from the campground. It was the East Millinocket Summerfest 2018.

It was definitely a small town festival, but it was nice to participate in a local community event.  There was live music, and Kai had fun at the bounce houses!

Stanley gets to rest in the Airstream while we go out:)

That weekend was fun. On Friday evening, we did a hayride with Kai around the campground. He loved being pulled by a large tractor. He loved playing with the kids at the playground!

Then on Saturday morning we brought Kai to an exercise trail about a half an hour south of the campground. It was in Lincoln, ME. We chose that particular trail due to its close proximity to Walmart. We had pre-ordered these truck mirror attachments, because Michael informed me that each state has different laws about having towing mirrors while we towed our trailer. Kai had fun on the trail.

We then went to a park with a playground and a beach at Mattanawcook Lake. Kai wanted to play with the older girls who were swinging, so we brought our lunch there and had a picnic.

That afternoon, we took Kai trick-or-treating on the campground after his nap. Michael and I took turns taking Kai and giving out candy.

On Sunday morning, we just ate pop-tarts, packed up, and were off to our next stop.

Interested in reading more about our first RV experience? Here are our posts for our first ever family RVing experience with our very first travel trailer and our first day of travel.

A Rookie’s Ride

2018 ROAD TRIP TO MAINE & CANADA

Day 1: Wednesday, July 11th

This was our very first real road trip with our brand-spanking new 2018 30′ Classic Airstream.

That morning we picked up a few last minute items from Walmart, ate lunch, and packed up the truck + RV for our 2.5 hour drive to Cabela’s in Scarborough, Maine. We had planned to boondock our first night out.

Camping Resource

RV Parky is just a great website resource to use to search for places to park your RV. We love using the app on our smartphones too. That’s how we discovered free overnight parking at Cabela’s! I did call the store beforehand, just to confirm before we got there. The store associate told me that the store doesn’t manage the parking but there are a lot of trailers and trucks that park there overnight and don’t get bothered. So, basically, they don’t want to be liable for anything = totally understandable!

After we got Kai and Stanley loaded into the truck, Kai was already NOT feeling it. He must have either been over-tired. The days leading up to the trip were fairly routine. Michael had lots of work to wrap up the week before and during the trip. So, I spent a great deal of time with Kai and Stanley. We got to bond a lot!

Michael was home on Friday morning, and Kai just wanted to spend all of his time bonding with daddy. It was hard for Michael to ‘get stuff done’. It just felt like it took forever to “get going”.

It had already been a long day.

To top it off, I get pre-departure jitters/anxiety. So the night before, I couldn’t get to bed. I think I stayed up until 2:30am.

Connection Problems

Yes, we were experienced at RVing, but this was a whole new beast!

Something was bound to GO WRONG. We just didn’t expect it to be so soon. The problem started before we even left.

After Michael hooked up the Airstream, we were trying to get our lights to connect so we could drive safely. The connection to our rearview camera was not working. And, we had preordered trailer cameras to be picked up while we were in Maine. So, we didn’t have those either.

We made a call to Pete’s RV in Plainville, MA. I explained to them that our lights weren’t hooking up properly and that we had just purchased the Airstream from Pete’s RV in Vermont. They said we could bring it on by. THANK GOD! They did inform us that their service department technicians leave at 4pm. At this point it was just after 2pm. So we got there around 2:45pm.

The wire was damaged. Most likely from the way it was sitting up against the sway bars/hitch. So, the connection wires were cut.

Thankfully, on our drive there, Kai fell asleep. Much needed nap indeed! We didn’t anticipate them taking a long time to fix because they just needed to replace the wire and hookup. They said they would only charge us for the wire and no labor, which was super nice!

It was 4pm, and Kai woke up. We still had about fifteen minutes before they packed up.

Unfortunately, the fixed wire didn’t resolve our connection issue. One of the other technicians came out and discovered our Ford F-150 had a blown fuse! We called the closest Ford dealership in Foxboro, MA. They didn’t carry it. The only place in the state of MA that had one in stock was located in Quincy, MA.

Michael ended up just taking another fuse from a different part of the truck and replacing that, temporarily. So we didn’t have power in our center console. It was definitely more important we fix the trailer rearview lights. They also control the running lights for the trailer. So we wouldn’t be able to drive safely at night without them on.

Phew, it was already 5pm. Now we were hungry again!  And, we had only made it to Foxboro, MA, from our home in Rhode Island!

Michael wanted to stop along the highway, but I just suggested we head to Olive Garden at Patriots Place, which was literally down the road. When I get over hungry, I get hANGRY.

Dinner hit the spot.

We left Foxboro, MA around 6:30pm, which was perfect because there was less traffic vs. during rush hour. Michael just kept on driving. We can cruise at 60mph comfortably while towing. We made a stop along the way so Kai could use the restroom. And, we have to find a parking lot large enough to accommodate the truck and travel trailer duo.

Arrival time: 9pm. Yay, we made it. And, it was time for bed. No shower for us that night. We had planned on it. Just had enough freshwater to brush our teeth, wash some hands, faces, and use the bathroom.

To be continued…

Interested in reading more about our first RV experience? Here are our posts for our first ever family RVing experience with our very first travel trailer, a 2018 Springdale Mini 1750RD by Keystone.