The winter coats and hats are slowly getting put away into the closet instead of being littered across the mudroom. Welcoming wafts of spring air are blowing in open windows, and I can’t help but smile in excitement! I was looking through all of the posts from this past season grinning ear to ear over the pictures of the boys and all of the holiday cooking and activities from this past season. Definitely, a (milder!) winter to remember. But there’s no denying that warmer months are just around the corner, and we all know what that means: it’s time to start planning some trips!
Of course, there are always vacations to grandma and grandpa’s or other family members’ places, but this post is strictly about those excursions that involve everyone’s favorite home away from home: a hotel. From the inevitable late-night road trip audible of checking into a motel to the unexpectedly luxurious amenities of a Four Seasons (thanks, M), staying at a hotel can have its perks.
On the other, much more common side of things, it can also be excruciatingly boring if you may be stuck in the room due to a napping toddler, early bed time, or simply a rainy day. Without sacrificing too much room in your suitcase, don’t pass up the opportunity to pack a little activity pack for the kids to help with the ‘I’m bored’ comments that may occur. It doesn’t have to be any bigger than a makeup bag or a pencil case, but having these items can definitely be an awesome and relieving way to kill some time. Here’s what to include:
- A few balloons
- Toy cars
- A roll of washi tape
- A sketchbook/notebook
- Watercolor paint set/markers/pens
- A small stack (at least 10) paper plates
Let the activities commence:
Paper Plate Tic-Tac-Toe (pictured above)
There’s primitively exciting about tic-tac-toe. Even though it seems super simple to walk out victorious, this game takes some serious strategy! L + B have had countless epic battles with this game, so it’s a perfect thing to create for the floor of your hotel room. Take some of the washi tape and make a classic tic-tac-toe grid on the floor or carpet. Then, use 10 of the paper plates. In marker, make 5 of the plates your ‘X’ plates, and the other five the ‘O’ plates. From there, you can have endless games without going through sheet after sheet of paper. Beware: this one could bring out the competitive spirit in the little ones (read: melt downs may occur), but is a super visual and simple game to set up while hanging out up in your room.
Tape Hot Wheels Racetracks
Use the tape to lie out some intricate road systems across the room. Yes, this might seem annoying for us adults to walk over, but trust me: the kids will love it. B has countless amounts of toy cars lying around the house, so choosing which ones to bring will be half the battle. L is a little bit over his toy phase at this point, but is always up for a little Hot Wheels racing, especially when there aren’t any other activities planned for a few hours at a time or we may be stuck inside due to rain. This will then give you some breathing time to kick it back and try to read a magazine or two while waiting for those delicious dinner reservations.
Window Scenery Painting
Sure, sometimes the view from your hotel room windows might end up being the brick wall of the old building next door, but more often than not you can really get some pretty cool scenery! Not a bad view B, not bad at all. Simply break out the sketchbook or notebook with plain paper and have the kids look outside and paint/draw what they see with the markers and other coloring materials. These will make for awesome postcard mementos from your vacation together!
Paper Plate Balloon Tennis
Grab some more of the paper plates and tape. Make the tennis rackets by attaching the plates to the rulers with tape. You can use the bed as the net and get games of tennis going! You can even play a little bit of ‘keep the balloon off the ground’ to make it even more interesting. Not to mention balloons are a ton safer to use in a confined hotel room than actual sports balls (sorry, boys). Make four rackets if you want to play in teams! The more, the merrier.
Paper Plate Puppets
Recycle the used tennis rackets into some hilarious drawn on faces using the markers or paints. Some of the funniest family moments are found in times like these when a puppet show using a couple of plates can be used as a source of fun and entertainment for hours on end. Seeing what the boys come up with can be quite hilarious, a fun tradition to start around cocktail hour for mom and dad.
These activity packs stretch pretty far, don’t you think? Not only do they fit cozily right in the front pocket of your suitcase, but they provide some much needed time away from all those handheld video games. After all, vacations really are about the family time, even if you’re stuck in (sometimes too close) quarters.