For many families, this time of year means planning for and dreaming about exploring the big world outside of our homes with our little ones. Your tablet or smartphone can help you and your children prepare for travel and adventures near and far.
There are many ways we prepare our children for adventures big and small. Before we go to the beach, a new park, or on an airplane we prepare them with information and expectations. There are some really great apps that provide information about travel, usually in a playful way. These can help an anxious child or an eager one be better able to talk about the traveling experience and share in your excited anticipation. These same apps can also be used once you reach your destination or return home to talk about your travel and to compare your experiences to those in the apps.
Apps can help you and your child prepare for travel by providing opportunities to explore modes of transportation and transportation themes prior to traveling. Apps may also provide glimpses into the kinds of things you may see on your adventure. You and your child can talk about vehicles, people, and places, building vocabulary and preparing for unusual things (like noisy airplane toilets and loud train horns).
Look for apps you can explore together. Talk about the images, the sounds, the smells and the ways things might be like known and unknown experiences for your child. Choose a mix of apps with illustrations as well as those with photographs and/or video as well.
Questions you might ask include:
Do you see a ____ (bus, train, boat, ferry or mountain, river, lake)?
What do you think that might sound like?
What would you like to drive?
Where do you like to go? How could we get there?
What do you think we will see when we get there?
What do you think we need to bring in the ______ (car, plane, bus, train)?
What else do we need to pack?
Getting Ready for Adventure Apps
Tap and explore a variety of types of transportation. Talk about what it would be like to travel via dogsled, blimp or other ways you and your child discover. What might be the same or different on your adventure? (iOS)
Explore planes, trains, boats and trucks with this interactive story. Compare your modes of travel with these and talk about the sights and sounds as you explore. (iOS)
Preparing for a road trip? You and your little one can talk about road trip possibilities while using this app. Talk about which trucks you might see or might like to see. (iOS and Android)
My Little Town: Toddler's Seek and Find
This little town is a busy place to explore. Are you visiting a new town or a new part of your town? Explore this little town before you go out the door and revisit it again when you come home and talk about what you saw. (iOS)
Explore the airport before you and your child go on a flight. Talk about what you will see and do at the airport. Can your child fly the plane? With this app she can! (iOS)
If you are planning a camping trip, this app might provide some laughter and some opportunities to talk about what it may, or may not, be like for first-time campers and camping veterans alike! (iOS)
You may also want to explore apps for the locations you may be visiting. Even if the apps are not designed for children, you can share the pictures with your child, talk about what you see and what you might see. You can even share some of the information by making it more child-friendly as you talk about it with your little ones.
Be sure to check out our book Using an iPad with Your Preschooler for even more apps and ideas!
Share your favorite apps for preparing for your family adventures on the Scholastic Parents Facebook page, via email: Gail-Gayle@SuddenlyitClicks.com,or tweet us at @suddenlyclicks.