Traveling is fun. Traveling with kids can be fun, but it takes a bit more planning, a bit more patience, and a few more distractions. Games can be that perfect distraction! What’s great about playing games with kids is that the rules are what you tell them they are, and can be easily modified (by you, or whoever is the “adult”) on the fly. It’s exactly this sort of flexibility that makes playing games with kids while traveling so wonderful.
Staying put during the pandemic is not as much fun. However, there are a few correlations between traveling with kids and staying put with kids, such as playing diverting travel games. Some travel games offer insight into different cultures, which can be very useful to reinforce experiences that kids have while traveling. Another spin on this is to incorporate recent experiences or trends into old games, to make it newer and more relevant.
For whatever reason, dancing is usually big with my kids. On a trip a few years back, I took the kids to see a real Hawaiian luau. They loved the fire dancers the best. So I upgraded an old classic, and we started playing Red Light, Green Light, Blue Light (the blue light means you have to dance). Of course, every dance was Hawaiian inspired. It was an easy win, a fun activity, and maybe even helped the kids digest and remember the trip better.
Another travel game example was inspired by my brother, who bought my kids their first Haba game. If you’re unfamiliar, Haba makes some wonderful games that are easy and fun to play (other brands may exist). Because the games are so simple, they are easy to modify. Our most recent acquisition is Animal Upon Animal (or Animal Animal as we call it). It’s a game of luck and dexterity; it’s kinda like Jenga Lite, but with animals.
Here’s the twist: because we’ve been stuck at home for the last 21 months, I decided to spice things up a bit and introduce some animal behavior lessons. Animals are divided into two camps: eyes close together (predators) and eyes far apart (prey). If you roll anything except a 1 or a 2, then you have to choose a predator to eat a prey, and the prey goes into the hand of the player of your choice. This usually leads to a conversation about hammerhead sharks, because
1) I freaking love hammerhead sharks
2) they are the only “wide eyed” predator that I know about. Again, an easy win, a fun activity, and maybe even helped the kids digest and remember some animal facts.
While sitting around at home, waiting for the world to open up again, it’s nice to remember that kids are focused on the present. Where they are, and what they are doing, is their entire life. This is also the magic of traveling. It takes you out of your normal routines and puts your brain somewhere else, forcing you to re-evaluate life. It can make the most common of things, like a granola bar, into an adventure. It’s the same with playing games with kids. Simply getting all the pears off the tree before the Crow reaches the garden (in HABA’s First Orchard) is fun enough, but with a little added context suddenly the crops must be harvested to help feed the homeless, and the Crow is just as important and beautiful as any other color of bird.
And that’s just some of the beauty of traveling with kids and playing games with kids. It’s just good, clean, healthy fun.
Personally, I can’t wait to show them even more great games and more great places as they grow up and want to start playing the Travel Buddy Games titles that I already love!