Thursday, July 22, 2010

Review: TOS's Travel Kits: A Simple Way to Bless Others

Even for trips as short as heading to my in-laws (about 90 minutes away -- depending on the cooperation of traffic and construction crews), I've always been one to pack lots of different activities for the kids (and me).  Having suffered from some car-sickness as a child, I often needed something besides a book to read in the back seat of the family Buick. Back then, a deck of cards and a reliable AM radio theatre broadcast were sure bets to cure car fatigue.

So it was with curiosity that I downloaded and read through "Travel Kits: A Simple Way to Bless Others" right before we left on our trip. Had I packed the "right stuff"?

This The Old Schoolhouse (TOS) publication was written by Donna Rees.  You can pick it up at TOS's store for $12.45 as an ebook download.  The Travel Kits ebook is one of 153 ebooks that TOS has published for use in all areas of a homeschooling (and non-homeschooling) mom's job descriptions:  oganization, gift giving, encouragement, curricula, and support.

First, a hint: don't print it out. The document is laced with many photos and colors, and it is 93 (!) pages long.  Save your ink and read it on your screen.  If there are sections of text you want to print out, use your snipping tool (found in Start -> Programs -> Accessories folder on Windows 7) to cut and paste it into a Word or Open Office document.

The ebook is a lot more than a list of potential items to include in your kit.  She provides inspiration for all phases of the occupy-the-kids process.  Have you considered wrapping the gifts?  In what creative container will you pack the activities? Will you doll them out as you backup past your mailbox, or at creative intervals during the trip? What about food/ snacks/ treats? Will you include the Leapster/ Gameboy/ DS?  What will the 3-year-old do while big sis is having her "screen time"?  After you read through this book, I'm sure your creative juices will be flowing, and you'll be able to use this as a jumping off point to customize a travel kit for the kids in your life.

My big revelation after reading the ebook:  make travel kits for others (slap forehead with hand).  I cannot believe I never thought of giving some travel activities to some friends as they prepare to hit the road!  And, since I'm not always up to speed with girls (seeing as I have none), it was helpful that Donna broke down ideas for boys and girls separately. She even includes several sections to help you think of ways to bless mom or dad. (Wouldn't it be fun to include brochures of possible stops along the way or even a Sudoku book for them to share?)

I really appreciated all the ideas Donna graciously shared in the ebook.  It is definitely a handy reference for our family as we begin a season of life which will include more road trips to further destinations, and as I try to look out to others' interests ahead of my own.

If you'd like to hear what others say about the Travel Kits, head on over to TOS Homeschool Crew website to read more reviews!

P.S -- Here's a great book that we've added to our tavel kits over the past few years:  Kids Across, Parents Down.  I love to include activities that will encourage talking/ teamwork/ togetherness for our whole family.  I think Donna would approve.  Enjoy!

P.P.S -- Our Travel Kit was in the adorable collapsible striped bag between Luke and Levi in the top picture.  I included ColorWonders, books to read, stickers, Leapster/ Didj games, decks of cards, a magnetic travel bingo game, colored pencils and drawing paper, and our entire collection of Adventures in Odyssey on CD.  AiO was by far the biggest hit for us all!

Disclaimer the FCC requires:  I received a free copy of this ebook from the publisher.  I wrote exactly what I thought of it.  No one told me to review it positively, negatively or otherwise.  I receive no compensation for this review.


Michelle Smith said...


Great review! I love the details you have included, plus I love the photo you took of your children posing with the Travel Kit between them.

Catherine said...

I love that picture! I guess that your children liked it! It was a great E-Book, wasn't it?

Marie said...

I'm checking out my mini-crew's reviews and just wanted to say I enjoyed reading yours. I really like the hint you gave about the snipping tool.