As a plugged in family who makes many trips to visit grandparents who live on the other side of the country, I travel with an arsenal of technology and other goodies to keep Captain Computer and Little Miss Techie entertained and comfortable during long flights.
One of my secret weapons is a boat load of educational apps including books from Ruckus Media. Ruckus had an entire library of classic stories in the form of original apps for iPad, iPhone, Droid, and other mobile media platforms that are narrated by celebrities like Meryl Street, Denzel Washington, Garrison Keillor, Rosemary Wells, John Cleese, BB King, and Robin Williams.
Today Gale Pryor, a contributing writer for Ruckus Media and mom of 3, is here to share some of her travel secrets to ensure smooth travels to your destination.
By Gale Pryor
There are ten years between the oldest and the youngest of our three boys, with the middle smack in the middle. Traveling with all of them meant keeping them happy and busy at three entirely different developmental stages. A long trip with a baby is challenge enough. A long trip with a cranky baby, a bored kid, and a mortified teenager can produce a PTSD diagnosis. That baby is now a 13 year old, so I’ve survived the traveling-with-kids stage of life, and learned a few tricks along the way.
Don’t bring out all the entertainment at once. I’ll assume you know to pack a bag full of stuff to keep kids busy. The key, especially for the littlest guys, is to parcel out the books, puzzles, markers, and games one by one and only as interest fades in the last. In the digital age, however, you don’t need a bulging bag pack with as much stuff. You can download games for every age group, or even board games so that everyone can play the same game (without losing little pieces in the airline seats).
You can bring an entire library of stories on your iPad or iPhone, along with the colored markers. Ruckus Media has re-mastered and optimized as apps for iPad and iPhone the award-winning Rabbit Ears Library of classic children’s stories. Each is gorgeously illustrated and can be read as a picture book on screen, or watched as a video accompanied by iconic musicians. The best part of the Ruckus apps, though, is while you’re standing in the ticket line, Meryl Streep is reading aloud The Velveteen Rabbit to your child. Or Robin Williams or Denzel Washington, or one of many of other celebrity performers who have brought their talents to the app world because classic picture books are still the best form of entertainment we can share with our children.
2.Bring something familiar to unfamiliar places. Small children fall asleep more easily with a favorite stuffed animal or blanket beside them. Even my older boys appreciated having something from home—a grungy sweatshirt usually—when we were sleeping far from home. Reading a well-known, much-loved story provides the same comfort. Favorite storybook apps read first at home and then while traveling can provide that sense of security. If your child is traveling to visit family without you, the Ruckus storybook apps offer a wonderful feature: Record your own voice reading aloud any of the classic stories in the library. You can put your child to bed with a story even when you can’t be there.
Bring home memories. Traveling with children is more than an endurance test. It’s an opportunity to engage and grow. Kids can chronicle your trip by taking photos of with your phone or a digital camera. They can ask questions and find answers online about new places or planes or trains while they’re in the places or on the planes or trains. Even if they’re just going to Grandma’s house, they can bring home more than leftovers.
Your parents or in-laws may not be as app-savvy as you and their grandchildren, but they too will relish the familiarity of classic storybooks—especially during this most American holiday, the American folktales of Johnny Appleseed, John Henry, and Pecos Bill. With apps from Ruckus, Grandma can record her voice reading to your child. When Thanksgiving is past, and your family is home again, your child can still listen to Grandma read her a bedtime story.
I’m not a grandma yet, but I’ve saved all my children’s favorite picture books for the day when I am. When my boys come piling through the door some Thanksgiving in the future, babies and bulging backpacks in tow, I’ll be ready with a stack of stories and an iPad full of apps.
Ruckus Media is offering a free download of the classic story of The Velveteen Rabbit and The Night Before Christmas, both told by Meryl Street for free (regularly $3.99 each) beginning today! This offer is good through Cyber Monday. Happy Thanksgiving and thanks Ruckus Media!
No compensation was received for this post, however, Ruckus Media did send me a collection of codes to download book apps for review purposes.
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