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Tech-Free Road Trippin' with Kids

Yes, ladies and gentlemen... you read the title correctly! This past October the 5 of us drove from Northwest Indiana (near Chicago) ALL. THE. WAY. to Disney World sans technology. NO video games, NO DVD players, NO ipads. You get the picture, right?! You must think we are crazy.  My husband certainly did and he questioned me leading up to the trip everyday.  Do we really need to take this and that?  He kept complaining about space issues. But by the end of the trip he was singing my praises to every person who cared to listen. Yes, I am tooting my own horn {toot, toot}! We need to do that for ourselves a little more often.  So, you are probably wondering how we did it?  BOOZE! Lots and lots of BOOZE! Just kidding. That's illegal of course.  I would not recommend road trippin' illegally. LOL!

Let me introduce you to Hourly Road Trip Bags.  They are truly the secret to success. I scoured Pinterest leading up to the trip and this was a compilation of many ideas. 

Our road trip from start to finish was approximately 18 hours. Of course, we didn't have 18 hours of activities.  I accounted for sleeping and eating breaks.  We left at 2 am, so the kids slept until about 6 am.  I planned for the Hourly Road Trip Bags to begin around 8 am and then they would get another bag on the hour.  Not a minute before.  The suspense was priceless. Think YouTube blind bag unboxing kind of feel.  They were all about it.

The bags didn't typically last them the entire hour, but the activities were enough to keep their minds active and off of the long road ahead.  So what was inside?  Check out the list below.  Many of things came from Amazon, but some items were from Target and The Dollar Tree. We were traveling during Halloween time, but I am going to try and link similar items to be used across seasons.  {affiliate links earn me a small commission from every purchase}.

8AM  Plastic Snake and 2 Disney Princess Blind Boxes
           My son loves all things prank worthy, so when I saw the snake I knew he would get a kick out of pranking his two sisters.  The girls love any tiny dolls, so I thought the Disney Princess blind boxes would be perfect for a little creative play.

9AM Target Bullseyes Playground Activity Packs
          I was able to find the activity packs in LOL, JoJo Siwa, and Avengers themes.  They included a mini coloring book, crayons, and stickers.  They even did some trading after they were tired of their own.

10AM STEM and Snack Time
          You have to have snacks on a road trip, so I mixed a STEM activity into snack time. I gave my kids a cookie sheet, fruit snack packs, and toothpicks.  There goal was to make as many shapes as they could.  My son has Cerebral Palsy, and has a lot of fine motor difficulties.  So he adapted the activity for himself.  He put a toothpick in each fruit snack and ate them like hor d'oeuvres. He loved it!

11AM Art time
          The girls got a Halloween canvas bag and markers.  My son got a magnetic tic-tac-toe game.  The girls loved the tiny bag could hold their princess, coloring book, and markers.  The magnetic tic-tac-toe game was played by all of us.

12PM Lunch time

1PM Legos
         This was the most expensive of all of the bags, but kept them busy for a long time.  I also got a bag of plastic horses and Lego figure blind boxes to go with their creations.  I included Lego mats with magnets attached to keep them on their cookie sheets.

2PM Art time (again)
         My girls LOVE art, so I brought out mini canvases and Disney themed markers.  I had also assembled a booklet of directed drawings and a horse themed directed draw book to get their creative juices flowing.

3PM Snack Bag
        Nutella cups and Cheez-its

4PM Road Trip Scavenger Hunt
        This was fun for all of us and got us all looking out the window and our beautiful country.

5PM Dollar Store Foam Pop-Guns
         My goal was to tape shapes on the ceiling and have them aim at the shapes, but I forgot the tape  They enjoyed shooting Dad and getting an epic reaction. LOL!

6PM Audible Book
         We listened to Who Was Walt Disney while they played with Silly Putty

7PM Name That Disney Movie
        We listened to Disney movie songs and tried to be the quickest to name the movie.  It was a riot!

8PM We have ARRIVED! Let the magic begin!

We are planning our next Disney trip, so I am already making an Amazon Wish List of new ideas.  Feel free to leave some ideas in the comments! I cannot wait to put out a second edition. 

P.S. Don't do what I did and forget to plan for the trip back.  The ipads did eventually make their appearance, but at least we made it there without them.  (The kids thought we left the ipads at home and did not even have them during the trip).

1. Snake 2. Disney Princess Blind Boxes 3. Activity Packs 4.Fruit Snacks, Cookie Sheets, toothpicks 5. Canvas Bags, Markers 6. Legos, Lego Baseplate, Lego Blind Bags 7. Mini Canvas
8. Scavenger Hunt Game 9. Poppers 10. Book 11. Disney CD

Enjoy and Best of Luck on your next road trip!

Bat Week!

I never knew how much I enjoyed bats until this time last year.  I had been seeing some great activities from my favorite bloggers, so I decided to jump in.  My kiddos last year ATE THEM UP.  They may has well have been bat experts.  I was so impressed by their engagement and fact retention.  When my principal and I had a meeting at the beginning of this year he asked me what is one thing that I am looking forward to this school year.  My answer... BAT WEEK! I knew that it had to be just as exciting as last year, but with a little extra.

I got our team of 7...yes SEVEN... 1st grade teachers all on board with me.  We all agreed the hallway needed to be a bat cave. I was inspired by Jodi from Fun in First.  My awesome hubby and I spent about 4 hours on a Saturday setting the stage to engage.  My other coworkers got their activities together and cut bats for the lockers, one took some of the pics for this post, and Mel D from Seusstastic created the amazing fact posters and spooky eyes.

 I seriously love him.  He has learned to just go along with all of my zany ideas.

Dream accomplished!

 The fact posters were created by Mel D.

We cut out about 250 black bats with a pattern.  So worth it!

Almost nothing sticks to our paint for some reason.  I had my husband put up about a million pieces of tape to keep the cave walls up.  We aren't allowed to staple anything, but there may be one or two staples.

The kids were in a quiet awe when they first walked down the hall Monday morning.  There were spooky bat cave sounds playing from my Bose bluetooth speaker.  I actually expected there to be mass chaos, but they were in so much shock as they entered the bat cave.  Perfect!

On Monday, I decided to do the same KWL chart that Jodi did.  I wanted to see what they knew before we began.  They basically knew that bats hang upside and eat mosquitos.  Boy did we have a lot to learn.  I also introduced them to the vocabulary we would be hearing a lot this week.  They were eating it up.  We also, read Fly Guy Presents Bats.  Such a cool book full of Bat Facts.

Pic from last year.  I forgot to take one on Friday I guess...

On Tuesday, I taught them some cool batty facts and we labeled the parts of the bat.  We read National Geographic Kids: Bats.

On Wednesday, we needed to use commas in a series.  So I turned things that make me batty into a writing assignment using commas.  We added them to these adorable bats from First Grade Fever. We read Bats at the Beach.  Such a cute book!

My awesome parent helper came and helped us assembly this craft and she even stayed to hang them up!

She also knows my love for EVERYTHING pumpkin and brought me this pumpkin themed treat.  Wasn't that sweet?

On Thursday, I had a substitute.  So they did a bat fact true or false sheet and made a bat from A Cupcake for the Teacher and added adjectives to the wings.  Then we read Bats at the Library.  This book is the same author as yesterday's book.

Friday was the day for me to add as much excitement as I possibly could.  Needless to say, we did not fit it all in and will be continuing on Monday. :)  Yay, Bat Week continues...

First, we made bat hats to wear for the festivities.

Then, we began our sunset paintings that I found from Reagan Tunstall.  I did this project last year and fell in love!  We finished the watercolor portion, and will finish the facts and the rest of the painting on Monday.

These are from last year.

Next, we got together with Mel D's class and found our bat families using our sense of smell.   We soaked cotton balls in 5 different essential oils (peppermint, lemon, lavendar, eucalyptus, and patchouli).  The kids were given a random cotton ball and had to smell others until they found what matched. What did we learn??? Humans definitely do not have as keen of a sense of smell as bats.  Thanks Queen of the 1st Grade Jungle and Holly Ehle for this fun idea!

The kids brought flashlights with them and read our huge collection of bat library books with them.  They thought that was super fun!

We ended with watching Magic School Bus Going Batty.

I'm looking forward to doing more bat activities on Monday. Hehe! Maybe I planned that!

Oh I almost forgot! On Monday, October 24th we are signed up to watch a bat webinar.  You can too (for free) by signing up at Field Trip Zoom.  I have never tried this before, but I am so excited to see what they will be sharing with us!

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