We've done a lot of traveling with Adelaide this summer. Long drives as well as long flights (with layovers.) I've found out a bit about what makes our traveling go easier. The first, and most important thing, is activities! I won't lie, we definitely use our beloved ipad a lot during travel, but sometimes you just need other things to do, particularly during take off and landing if you're flying.
This is what was in my diaper bag on our last plane ride.
1. Chicken Socks ABC Magnetic Book Adelaide is in love with the ABCs so this book was an immediate hit. There are pictures throughout the book that start with each letter of the alphabet so you can match the letters to those pictures. I would cut the tray of letters out of the book so that you can have it and the book open at the same time. I also found it easier to just hand out a couple of letters at a time and then put the others ones a way so we didn't have 26 little magnets loose all over our row.
2. Color Wonder Travel Set I found a couple of these sets on clearance at Staples. The reason I like them is they are SMALL. They come with a few markers and a small set of pages. This is perfect for Addie. She doesn't love coloring enough to do it for ages and if any part of this gets lost, no big deal. It's also very lightweight and small enough to stuff into a corner of your bag.
3. Manhattan Toy Snuggle Pot Baby Addie loves her baby dolls and likes to have one (or 5) with her wherever we go. We already had this one and it's perfect for travel because it's so small and soft you can stash it in any pocket of your bag.
4. Gyo Fujikawa Mini Library I loved Gyo Fujikawa as a kid. The books aren't literary masterpieces but the pictures are absolutely darling and Addie loves them too. I love this little library because you get 4 little books to look at and it's still compact and light. Addie loves to look through these books and look for all the animals.
5. Paint with Water Book I forgot these books even existed until I saw someone else suggest it for travel. Addie LOVES to paint and play with water so this was a perfect choice for her. It was a bit tricky to find one but I found this one with the coloring books in the book/magazine section at Target (not in the art supply aisle.) I always have a water bottle with me on a flight so I poured a tiny bit of water into the cap and she was good to go. And when she spilled it was no big deal because it was about 1 tablespoon of water. This was probably the biggest hit of the recent trip.
6. Melissa and Doug Wooden Bear Dress Up Puzzle Got this one at Home Goods on sale. Took this one out of the little wooden crate and put the pieces into a ziploc bag to contain them and make it lighter. This didn't hold her attention for ages but it was a fun mix in activity. If you want to contain the pieces you could just have your toddler pick out one head, top, pants, shoes out of the bag at a time. This has made it into our diaper bag for church too because it's so easy to grab and fun to play.
7. Magnetic Color Matching Book This was a huge hit for us. Each page has a space for 4 magnets that match the color. Like the ABC book in #1, this has a lot of little magnetic pieces that could easily end up all over the plane. I kept the pile in my lap and handed out to her just the ones that belonged on one of the two pages that were open at the time. This contained the mess and kept her from getting too frustrated. If you had a magnet board where you could put out all the magnets to pick from that would be a good idea too. By the way, we love all the Roger Priddy books and really any of them would be fun for a trip.
Here are a few tips I've picked up from our recent travels:
- Find small, light activities so you can bring more options.
- I find that an activity that is new to Addie or something she doesn't do very often is likely to entertain her for much longer. The novelty of the water painting book really entertained her well.
- If you're using an ipad or iphone, new apps (app suggestions here) are a great way to hold attention. I downloaded 2 new apps and a new episode each of Sesame Street and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse (which is a novelty because we don't have cable at home.)
- Bring extra clothes. I had stopped doing that recently now that she's a toddler. But then during our first flight the layover was too short for me to get in a diaper change and by the time I could get up during the flight her diaper had leaked all over her outfit and I hadn't packed a spare.
- Bring snacks, of course, but skip the applesauce pouches. A couple of airports I flew through were fine with them and some weren't so from now on I will just skip them.
- And it doesn't hurt to bring a treat. Addie isn't that into treats (weird!) but loves M&Ms so I used them for leverage when she didn't want to sit in her seat.
- I can see why people bring carseats to keep the kids contained on the plane. I didn't need one at my destination and didn't feel like I could manuever it with all the other bags and stroller. But I would consider doing it in the future, especially if someone was flying with me to help.
- I didn't take any this time because we've used them all recently, but busy bags are GREAT for travel.
- If you need some more ideas, check out my travel fun board on pinterest.
I don't think I shared any revolutionary ideas here but hopefully it gave you some new ideas for entertaining your toddler on your next trip.