Saturday, March 26, 2011

This is How We Roll (Part Four: What to Pack--Amusements)

And now the fun part:  Amusement Bags!

Oh, where to begin... This is my favorite part of packing.  More fun than the trip itself, sometimes... I try to pack at least one toy I know they love, and a whole bunch of new stuff they've never/rarely seen.  I keep the new toys for the next trip put a way in a closet so they're fresh for next time.

Ol' Standbys for Littles:
  • Crayola Color Wonder markers and paper
  • Aquadoodle travel pad
  • (1-5 years) books (i spy and waldo books take forever to finish)
  • (18 mos+) small cars
  • (2+) static cling sticker books
  • kaleidoscopes, binoculars (around 3 Little 1 went through a phase of wanting to look through things)
  • (18 mos+)spinning wands*
*Please allow me a moment here to discuss the greatest airline toy of all time.  It's called a spinning wand.  It has lights.  It spins around.  It vibrates a tiny bit.  When Little 1 saw it on the plane the first time, it was love at first sight.  They are super fun on a night flight or when you pull the shade.  Sometimes they do have sounds so make sure the one you get doesn't make annoying noises.  Also, try to test them in the store.  They're pretty fragile and often don't even make the trip to the store.  They're also cheap so when they spin themselves into oblivion, you can replace it easily.

And for Tinies:
  • (12-18 mos) two or three mega blocks to put together and take apart
  • (12-18 mos) an empty CD case or small bag to practice zippers
  • (6mos-5years) plastic slinky springs
  • (6-18 mos) empty mint boxes to open and close
  • (0-12 mos) rattles or other "noise makers" for distracting purposes
  • (0-5) party blow-outs that don't make noise
  • (3 mos-4 years) puppets
  • (0-3 years)toe games*
*I accidentally found out that Little 1 loved toe games as we were landing late one night.  We were coming down, he had to be put back in his car seat, and most of the cabin was fast asleep.  He was getting cranky and wasn't having any toy as a distraction.  Out of desperation, I grabbed his foot and bonked his nose with it.  It surprised him and he laughed.  He laughed the whole rest of landing.  It still works on Little 2 who's three! 

Surprise Favorites:
  • flapping fish (A little fish with a pull string meant for the bath.  Pull the string and the tail flaps.  Little 1 said it was his favorite toy that trip.)
  • I Spy Bag (A bag filled with plastic pellets and small shapes.  It's really meant for babies, but my then two year old loved it and still does at three.)
  • brush/mirror compact (They fought over these.  It's a little compact size mirror with a brush that pops out.  Good grief you never saw such a fuss!  Come to think of broke.  I'd better find a replacement quick!)

Disappointments, but might be great for your kids:
  • lacing cards
  • stencils
Trying this time:
  • card games (The Sandwich Game for both, Go Fish for Little 1)
  • regular coloring books/crayons
  • basketball game
  • pinwheels
  • felt book (Modified.  The book itself is too big, but I'm using some of the pieces and rolling them up in a piece of felt.  If I get super crafty and find the time I might make a little scene.)
  • dry erase puzzles

Stuff to stay away from:
  • Balls (They get thrown.  Like, across the plane.)
  • Things with lots of little parts
  • Gel clings (I learned this the hard way.  Little 1 eats them.)
  • Stickers
  • Markers that leave marks
  • Play doh (maybe, depends on the kid)

Here is a pic of most of the stuff in my amusement closet....

color wonder paper and markers, puppet, pinwheels, stencil, felt book, coloring/activity books, travel aquadoodle, spinning wand, lacing card, wipeable activity cards, no noise party blow out, playing cards, wooly willy, I spy bag, rainbow disk, sunglasses, kaleidoscopes, magna doodle, brush/mirror compact set, stretchy bracelet keyrings, ball maze, paper fan, Jacob's ladder, wind up toys, slinkys, carabiners, tiny keychain flashlight, matchbox cars.  (in the original display, but not in this picture: Mardi Gras beads, static-cling sticker books)


This has been really fun for me.  I hope I've given you some ideas you can use.  I'm always on the lookout for better ways to pack, new snack products, and quiet toys.  I'll be sure to update you with what I find!

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