Monday, 6 August 2012

Surviving a long train trip

Last week we travelled to Scotland for my good friends wedding. Our epic journey took ten hours to get there and at the end of the week another ten hours to get back. The longest bit was a 5 hour train journey in the middle which coincided with Goblin's usual nap time.  As you can imagine I was not relishing the trip. 
Despite Goblin refusing to even try to nap for the entire journey, it really wasn't as bad as I had anticipated. We took a few of Goblin's favourite books, and read them several times during the journey.
I also packed a busy bag that I'd made a while a go. It had been sitting around unused in a cupboard. 
Inside there was:
  • Stamps and a pad
  • A cube puzzle
  • A plastic soap dish with suckers and pompoms
  • And threading beads and a lace

Goblin wasn't interested in most of the contents. He did the activities once but they weren't going to keep him going for the whole trip. But then he discovered the lacing beads (I used square ones so they didn't roll away). First he sorted them by colour - something I have never seen him do. 
Then he laced them, which is also something he shows no interest in doing while at home.
Once the beads were laced he played imaginary fishing off the edge of the chair. A couple of times he accidentally dropped his bead fish and it fell off the string, so he'd lace it back on and start again. Its amazing how kids dream up there own games and play them for ages.
Another great save for us was Hublet's iPad. We had loads of Dora the Explorer and Fireman Sam for Goblin to watch. And he enjoyed playing ZooTrain which is an app where you build trains with carriages full of animals. This keeps Goblin amused for ages - look at the concentration on his face!
We also played eye spy. If like Goblin your child is too young for eye spy with letters you can try with colours. Unfortunately most of the Scottish countryside is green so it didn't really narrow down Goblin's search.
When all other methods of keeping Goblin at the table were exhausted we let him run a few laps up and down the carriage. I'm sure the other passengers thought we were not "controlling our child properly". But this experience made me realise that when you see other people's kids are 'acting out', you don't know the full story. Goblin running up and down the carriage wasn't him misbehaving, it was him releasing energy that he had managed to bottle for a considerably long time for a small boy with a tendency to be hyper. And anyway, we are celebrating the Olympics, we should be embracing running races even if they are in a train carriage!

If you have a big journey coming up this summer a busy bag is a great idea. Mine was a bit thrown together but The Good Long Road and Second Story Window have some great ideas for more thought through busy bags.  And Crayon Freckles has a lovely twist on the eye spy with colours game.
Bon Voyage!

I'm sharing this with 
learning laboratory at mama smiles Tuesday TotsLiving at the Whiteheads Zoo


  1. Oh I so want to visit Scotland one day. Thanks for sharing at Tuesdays Travels. I agree let him run out that energy.

  2. I haven't tried busy bags - or long train journeys. Glad the journey went better than expected.

    Thanks for linking to the Sunday showcase.

  3. Looks like you found some great ways to entertain him for the long journey!! Thank you for sharing at Happy Family Times!

  4. You picked some great activities for your trip!

    Thanks for linking up to Learning Laboratory at Mama Smiles :)


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