Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Travel Bag Activities

Zilla is 3 years old
Miss Mega is 12 months old

We just returned from our summer vacation.  As I unpack and navigate the fun we call "jet lag" I want to make notes for next time.  The general guideline I use is 1 activity per child per hour of the longest flight.  Each activity should be in an individual bag as opening the bag can be part of the fun/challenge.  This meant having 20 activity bags packed in a carry-on suitcase for our trip.
When we had shorter trips by car or long dinners out it was really easy to grab just a few activities to take along. 
Here is the carry-on bag which was filled with activities for the kids to do on the plane:

A unique feature of this bag is the bottom side pocket.  It turned out to be just the right size for the back-up diapers and towels!  I bring a towel for each kid to use as a blanket/cover-up or in the worst case scenario, to help clean up a mess.
The other outer pockets had a couple of extra tote bags (for when we only wanted a few activities to take along to dinner, etc.) and one had extra hand wipes.
Here are four of Zilla's activities.  Two of them Mega enjoyed as well.
 ☆ BrainQuest Flashcards - While Mega is not quite ready for them Zilla can easily pass an hour with these.  I like that they encourage parent/child interaction in a natural way.
☆ Stickers and a note pad - Simple things can bring such joy!  Zilla was making up all kinds of stories as he set up the scenes on the notepad. This is one activity that both kids can do as Mega loves pealing stickers off and putting them on too.
☆ A Thomas book with magnetic pieces - This was a special treat for Zilla as he loves Thomas.  Magnetic pieces stick to the book making them less likely to get lost.
☆ A spiral book with dry erase markers - This is another thing that both kids enjoyed. 
For even the smallest trips each child has a backpack to wear.  Most of the time they are each allowed to pack 3 items (toys, books etc.) of their choice.  We limit it to 3 so we can keep track of what we are taking along.  Somehow on the way home though Miss Mega went way over the 3 item guideline!
When we left home she had the cloth book "Colors", Signing Time flashcards and the Hopkins doll.  During the 10 day journey she picked up 2 pairs of sunglasses, a dog in an igloo, a purse and a car. 
Here are some of Miss Mega's activities. 
☆ Animals - The top bag has 3 zipper pockets so the big pocket held a animal-themed board book while each of the smaller pockets became the home of animal finger puppets from Ikea.  Mega had as much fun trying to figure out how to open the various pockets as she did playing with the puppets/book!
☆ The glove with animals on each finger also is a book for the song "Old McDonald". 
☆ Stickers and notepad -For Mega I put in some old, large stickers and a blank notepad on a small clipboard (for support).  She enjoyed this activity the most.
☆ Cloth book with pictures - Since the main purpose of our trip was to see family we brought along a cloth picture book with family pics in it.  It was good to look at them before we saw everyone so the kids could get a handle on names / faces and great to look at again on the way home as we talked about who we had seen and the time we spent together.
☆ The two sets on the right are reusable sticker books.  Zilla loves the train one. 
☆ A mini magnadoodle
☆ Work set - Zilla loves to pretend to be a worker so I put this together just for him.  It includes a note pad (the school bus), tape measure (smiley face), calculator (which he thinks can double as a phone) and a pen which lights up.  After opening this set he got really excited about measuring anything on the plane he could reach.  The light-up pen on a dark plane was great fun for Mega to play with too!

Here is our plane set - "Lisa's Plane Trip" talks about what the ride on the plane is like while "A Day at the Airport" can help to answer all the questions about what goes on outside the plane.  A little plane toy made a nice touch as the kids could fly along as we read.

☆ Coloring book and pencils in a tin
☆ Magnet backdrop with magnetic vehicles to drive around town (There are similar sets with a house or zoo theme too)
☆ Little wooden train set - a favorite for both kids

☆ A little coin purse with rubber bracelets inside - I don't know why but they both love this one too.
☆ Alaska Animals - Special for this trip, a few flashcards with their matching animal model and a field guide of animal tracks.  This came in handy on the days we were seeing the wildlife up close!

Here are the links to my other posts with travel activities:
Travel Activities
Plane Entertainment Toddler Style

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