Have you contemplated the idea of getting a new iPad but you haven’t heard that final, compelling argument to push you over the edge? Well, I’ve got three words for you: traveling with children.
There are enumerable times I’ve been thankful for my iPad, but I must confess that I appreciate it most when I’ve had to pack up the family for a road trip. In my pre-iPad days, I planned for a trip and spent a good deal of time in negotiations with my children as to the number of toys, books, and movies they would be allowed to bring on the trip. I typically told each of them to pack a backpack with their favorite items, stating, “If it fits in the bag, you can bring it.”
You can’t even imagine the things my children attempted to stuff into their backpacks! It reminded me of those sales at the grocery store where they tell you that anything you can fit in the bag will be 15% off at checkout. People can get awfully creative about how they pack that “sale” bag! And then there are the problems with those backpacks once we are on the road. “Favorite things” becomes a relative term after two hours in the car. The kids get bored. They’ve read those books, played those games, and want new things to do altogether. Did I mention the clutter? Every time we would make a stop toys would fall out of the car the moment we opened the doors. We once lost a DS and several hundred dollars in game cartridges because of this!
These days, my children don’t even pack one backpack between the two of them when we take a trip. What necessity, above all else, do my six- and nine-year-old want to bring? The iPad!
Technology has certainly changed the way we do a lot of things, travel included. I love the fact that because of the iPad, we now have fewer items floating about the car during our trip. Not only is there less to pack and unpack, but the back seat stays reasonably clutter-free our entire trip because of that small, special, and now necessary traveling companion.
The best part about the iPad is that this one device suits all of our needs. The kids love the games, of course. And I like the fact that they use various educational apps because they are fun. eBooks are a favorite in our family because we all have our own personal selections at our fingertips. We also download movies that keep us entertained for hours. We don’t even have to leave the car to shop for more movies, books, and games because the app store is at our fingertips.
For parents who are concerned about the lack of interaction with their children because of electronics, the iPad has solutions for that, as well. We play companion games like tic-tac-toe and hangman to pass the time. We compose funny songs together. My children even read aloud to share their eBooks with everyone. The iPad is the perfect traveling companion to help pass the time, help our family interact, and keep each of us busy when others are in need of quiet time.
Needless to say, our trips now pass quickly. Because of the iPad, my children are happily engaged with activities the entire time. It makes our drive more enjoyable and educational. It also makes preparing for a trip a lot less daunting. Like the cell phone, I wonder how we ever did without the iPad!
Author: Ande Anderson, Grids Interactive