Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Vacation DVDs

We are planning a big family vacation in June.  We will be vacationing with my sister, brother, cousin, and everyone's spouses and children.  Getting to our vacation hot spot will take two days of driving (and another two days on the return end).

Two days trapped riding in the car with three children ages 7, 5, and 3. 

I will bring lots of options for entertainment, including books for reading, activity and coloring books, games, activities, etc.  But let's not kid ourselves here:  there will be lots of entertainment in the form of watching DVDs.

Before I had kids, I had a long mental list of things I would never do as a parent.  That list included letting my kids watch movies in the car.  I thought it was ridiculous that kids needed to be entertained in the car. 

Then our life changed to include school.  Now we have to get to Nolan's school early each afternoon just to find a parking spot, and my kids have to sit in the car for 30-45 minutes.  When I realized that this daily wait required something more than coloring books, I changed my parenting boundaries to include DVDs in the car.

Now "Watching DVDs in the car" is on a new list:  Things I Swore I'd Never Do As A Parent But Ended Up Doing Anyway.  It sits right below "Letting the kids eat PopTarts for breakfast."

What was I saying?  Oh yes, DVDs for the drive to vacation. 

Our current DVD collection is pretty limited.  We have just a couple kids' movies and a few discs of children's shows.  Our favorites include Curious George and Peep.  If you're not familiar with the show Peep, I highly recommend it.  It used to air on TLC when Nolan was a baby.  I don't think it's currently on tv at all.  It cute and educational.

I thought it would be fun to get some new DVDs for our vacation drive.  I shopped carefully and found some fantastic options on Amazon.  I aimed for about $5 per DVD (some were more, some were less).  I had money set aside for this purchase, so I bought quite a few.

Here are all my selections, if you're interested:

I also bought a DVD book that can hold 32 discs ($10 at Kmart):

I spent a good chunk of the kids' naptime opening DVD packaging.  Boy, those things are a pain!  I put each disc into a slot in the DVD book.

Then I dug around in my craft/office supplies and found some labels (about the size of name tags).

I only needed one label for this project.  I cut the label into four strips, and I wrote numbers 1-32 on the strips.

Then I cut between the numbers so I had individual stickers with each number.  There are certainly prettier ways to do this, but I just wanted to use what I had on hand.  I was tempted to do something on my computer (tapping into my font addiction), but I chose the fast/easy route.

I applied one number sticker to each page of the disc book.

Even though I only had 22 discs, I went ahead and labeled all 32 pages in case we get more later.

This is not just some compulsive way for me to keep track of my DVDs.  I had a plan in mind to make this more fun for the kids on our way to/from vacation.

I got a piece of notebook paper and wrote the numbers 1-32.

Then I cut them into individual strips with one number each.

I left 23-32 intact since I don't need them at this time.

I folded the strips and put them in a plastic sandwich bag.  I included the extra numbers in case I need them later.

So, here's the plan.  When we are driving to our vacation spot and the kids are ready to watch something, I will let one child (they will take turns) pull a number out of the bag.  I will retrieve the corresponding DVD, and that's what they will watch.  I'm hoping this will cut down on arguments trying to get the kids to agree on what to watch.  I will explain to the kids that they may not like the current selection but may love the next.  Plus I'm hoping the element of mystery (they won't know what the DVDs are ahead of time) and just having something new to watch will be enough to keep them entertained.

I'll let you know how it goes!


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