Although to many of us adults, going on a road trip means disconnecting from the electronic world and taking in the beauty of nature and the adventures that await us on the open road. However, for kids, a road trip can be boring and we all know that a bored kid can mean the difference between the adults enjoying the trip or vowing never to do it again. So in the name of keeping the peace and helping everyone look forward to a vacation on the road, be it short or long, here are 10 electronic items that are deemed a necessity for kids.
Portable DVD player
These days many vehicles come with DVD players on board and if you’re one of those people then congratulations. This one addition can keep children content for hours on a road trip with no complains or whining. However, if your vehicle doesn’t come equipped with this miracle machine have no fear. Portable DVD players are really inexpensive these days. So much so that it’s more than affordable to buy one for each of your kids in order to eliminate arguing about what to watch.
Once you’ve acquired the portable DVD player for your kids make sure to stock up on a variety of DVDs that they want to see. Then sit back and enjoy the relative quiet of the road with your significant other, friends, or family.
Portable MP3 players
These don’t have to be the latest and greatest i-gadget either and as a matter of fact, especially if you’re buying for younger kids, if you do a search on a site like Amazon or Ebay you will find a plethora of types of MP3 players that are inexpensive and do the job well.
A quick trip to Walmart will reveal that you can get an inexpensive MP3 player for your child starting as low as $10 and, of course, anywhere upwards of that. For the die-hard music lover in your child they just really want to listen to their tunes so anything that will allow them to do that will keep them smiling and happy the whole trip.
Electronic Board Games
You can find just about any game you can think of in electronic form. From electronic Mr. Potato Head to football games to monopoly, chess, and more, there’s a game out there that will most likely have your child beaming and most of them allow your child to play against the machine. This is great for kids that have no siblings or who don’t like playing with others plus it adds an element of trying to beat the game itself.
Again some great places to look for these types of games are Walmart, Amazon, Ebay, or even your local second-hand store. No need to bust the budget on these electronic gadgets when there are plenty of options available to keep you and your child happy.
For those parents who like their children to actually be learning something when having electronic interactions there are many different learning tablets available to achieve that goal. They range in prices from under $20 to over $100 and are made by companies such has PlaySchool and Samsung among others.
Some popular brands are Leapfrog, Kindle Fire, PlaySchool, V-Tech, and yes, Apple’s iPad mini. All have capabilities for your children to play games that not only keep them happy but also expand their brains. Sounds like a win-win to us!
Now no road trip is complete without a camera on board and that includes your kids having one to document their adventures. This one little electronic gadget can keep them excited and thrilled about their vacation especially if you create some fun games for them. The great thing about digital camera is that they hold an unbelievable amount of photos so kids can snap about to their hearts content.
Great ways to keep them engaged and happy is to have a new theme every day. Perhaps day one of the road trip the theme is animals. The goal would be for them to take as many pictures of animals they see that day. The next day the theme could be taking pictures of anything that’s red and interesting to them. The possibilities are endless and this type of game not only keeps them looking for the next great shot but also teaches them to look for things that they might not normally look for, which in turn will expand their awareness of the world around them.
For older kids this one is probably mandatory. This one thing can combine most of the things on this list from movie player to music player to game console to book reader to camera to allowing them to stay in contact with friends and family while on the road (if there’s internet available or the tablet has a phone plan attached to it).
Most people will automatically think of the iPad, which has become standard these days, but there are other brands out there too whose cost are equal to or less than Apple’s tablets. All are good and it just depends on what type of things you want the tablet to do.
More than likely, if your child is over 15 they already have a cellphone and it’s tightly clutched in their hands at all times. However, if your child is one of the few that don’t yet have a cellphone, and you feel they are a good age to handle one, it might be time to get them one.
Again these days this one electronic item can pretty much combine most of the things on this list especially if it’s a smartphone. However, having a phone on a road trip could also be a very smart thing for your child to have in case of an emergency. They should know what to do in an emergency, who to call, and what to do if they get separated from you on the trip. There are also ways of tracking the cellphone in case your child gets lost so that alone may be worth the investment.
Again, for older kids, this might also be mandatory and a great replacement for some of the other things on this list. Not only will it afford them the ability to watch DVDs and downloaded movies but they can also play games and even (dare I say it?) do homework while on the road.
Though many tablets can come very close to being a laptop with the inclusion of a Bluetooth keyboard, many older kids might prefer having a laptop that can do everything they want to do on it. Many times you can even find great deals on laptops at local electronics stores or online as well.
Many of the previous gadgets mentioned have the ability to be a book reader too so this addition may seem a bit redundant but we’ve known kids that are voracious readers who prefer having a stand-alone reader. Book readers are created with that specific activity in mind so the screens make reading easy on the eyes, reading outside a breeze, and the experience more like reading an actual book.
From Amazon’s Kindle to Barnes and Nobles’ Nook to Kobo to Samsung and more, there are book readers for every preference. It’s just a matter of figuring out what features mean the most to your little bookworm.
Although not technically an electronic themselves, though some would argue if they’re Bluetooth headphones then they are, these are still a necessity regardless of which electronics your kids have. Without them they will complain that they can’t hear their movie, music, or video game and you’ll complain because you don’t want to necessarily hear what they are listening to. So in the interest of making everyone happy, don’t forget the headphones!
So although not an exhaustive list of electronics, making sure your kids are armed with a few of these things before heading off on that cross-country trip can make everybody’s vacation much more enjoyable and memorable.