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Road Trips and Scarecrows: How to Help Your Kids Pack

It’s summer time!  Time to break out the swimsuits, shorts, sandals…and luggage.  Because summer time is ROAD TRIP TIME!

Now, a few years ago, it was all very simple, right?  Plan the place to go, plan when to go there, pack a few things, and hit the road!

Then came the kids.

Things are a little more complicated now.

It’s so easy, when things are complicated, so just do it for them.  It’s probably faster, too.  But it doesn’t teach them anything, and, in the long run, it will be harder for you as they get older.

So I want to teach you just one little trick to start your kids down the road to trip independance!

This trick is something my 10yo lovingly refers to as…

Scarecrows

When you’re starting to teach your children how to pack on their own, one fun way is to get them to make scarecrows.  This will make sure they have picked enough clothes for the trip.  All I have to say is, “Make two scarecrows” or “Make five scarecrows” (the number all depends on how many changes of clothes they need), and my kids know what I mean.

To make a scarecrow, the kids will lay a shirt on the ground or on their bed (yes, unfolded, so you may have to relax a bit).  Then a pair of pants goes under that.  Next, socks to at the bottom.  Then, they put on the underwear.  The scarecrows are lined up and ready for inspection.  Now you can see easily if they have everything they need!

Packing Up

Here’s the next bit of magic: how you pack a scarecrow!

Go to one scarecrow and do the following:

  1. Take the pants and fold them in half lengthwise.  
  2. Take the shirt and fold it into thirds lengthwise and lay it on top of the pants with the top of the shirt level with the top of the pants.
  3. Put the socks and underwear so they line up with the top of the shirt and pants.
  4. Starting at the top, roll the clothes until you end up with one outfit jelly-roll.
  5. Put in a bag and repeat for all scarecrows.

Now each day of the trip you (or they) can just grab a roll and get dressed!  No more digging!

I also pack one big bag for their dirty clothes and sort them out to wash when we get home.

Kid Bag

I have a backpack for each child that becomes their suitcase as we travel.  Every time I finish one outfit jelly-roll, I put it in their backpack.  This makes it really easy for them to be in charge of their things!  When we leave the house, they have their backpack, pillow, and maybe a stuffed animal or blanket.  We parents are in charge of the rest.

Remember, I have young kids (my oldest is only 10!).  As they get older, we’ll give them more and more responsibility.  Making scarecrows and carrying their backpack is the minimum (from about 3 years old and up).

After a while, when you see that your child is consistently making scarecrows that are up to code, they can even be in charge of rolling them up and packing their own bag.

So go forth, now, and enjoy your road trip!  And take lots of pictures.  Even if you’ve been there before, you’ve never gone with your kids this size before.  Enjoy yourself!

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