Monday, June 4, 2012

Traveling with a preschooler

Love Bug and I recently took a trip to Disney World with a friend and her daughter.
We flew there and I knew I'd have to keep her happy for our flight. Happily our flight there was a direct flight and we were only on the plane for a few hours. The trip home had a layover (which was delayed) and I was really glad we had a lot packed to do to keep her busy.

Love Bug is the youngest of after flying with a small fry a time or two I've learned a few things.  
Part of making travel with kids easier, especially young kids, is having lots of little things to do, and having them easy to get to. The other part is having enough to munch on- and keeping your cool.

Currently, you can have one carry-on item and one personal item (purse, small backpack, computer bag, etc) per person on most airlines. I pack a roller bag with my computer, dvd player, extra snacks and activities, a change of clothes for Love Bug (pajamas if it's an evening flight), and any items I need for myself. 
In a backpack, I have snacks, activities, head phones, etc. I put Love Bugs activities in a small bag which I place inside my backpack.  Before we board the plane, I pull the DVD player out of its case, put in the movie that we plan to watch, and put that in my backpack. We make sure anything we need to get to easily is in the backpack. Love Bug carries her own little backpack with some comfort items and a snack or two. Her backpack is really light, and has wheels on it so she isn't over burdened getting on and off the plane. 

When we get on the plane, we pull out the activity bag and put it under the seat in front of Love Bug's seat. We put the snack pack, and drinks in the seat pocket so they are ready to use. We also choose an activity to pull out that won't be a problem while the plane takes off (nothing that will "get away"). 

In preparation for the trips we have planned for the summer, I participated in a travel busy bag exchange. Busy bags are super popular right now...just google or pinterest "busy bags" or "activity bags" and you'll see tons of ideas!

We love busy bags, but I wanted some that were geared specifically for traveling with ease.
This is the bag we used this trip to put our activities in. It fit very well in my back pack and had enough space for lots of compact activities.

 Here is what was inside.
 A small magnetic whiteboard. This doubles as a drawing tool and a place to play with anything magnetic. I included Dry erase pens, erasers, and mini magnets. The board is only a few dollars at Walmart. 

 TIP: the pens that come with anything dry erase are usually not a very good quality and not only have high odor, but also don't erase well. We LOVE Expo dry erase pens. 

This alphabet board was used with Newman's Own ABC cookies and can also be used with other ABC cookies and crackers- such as Earth's Best Letter of the Day cookies. We printed it from here.
We also had a pouch with pipe cleaners- just for making fun things with and a pouch with Popsicle sticks that have velcro on them-- to make shapes, letters, etc. 
I printed coloring pages and had some crayons in a soap dish. I also made a "Woody's Round-up" game (we're are headed to Disney after all). I used a plastic plate found at the $ zone a Michael's to use as the "pasture",  and drew a fence on it.  I bought cube magnets at Staples and printed a picture of Woody riding Bullseye- which I laminated. Tape it to one cube, use the other on the bottom of the plate to move Woody and herd the white pom pom sheep around. 
More magnet fun. Nemo playset and a Robot Hang man game. Love Bug just played with the letters. 
The pouch on the left has a retractable measuring tape, calculator, water snake game and a few strips of bubble wrap. These are just fun to play with. The right pouch has scissors and paper. Lots of cutting went on!! Bring a ziploc to put the clippings in for easy clean up!
These are a princess memory game and then the green pouch has two collapsible cups, plastic tongs, mini pom poms and a little spoon. I included a paint pallet too. Love Bug poured the pom poms into the center of the paint pallet then used the tongs to move the pom poms around the pallet and into the cups.
Stickers are always a huge hit. We also love the play packs you can find pretty much anywhere now. They come with crayons and a small activity book and are less than a dollar. 
Lacing cards and beads. I printed and laminated Disney themed characters. Love Bug did this activity for a long time. 
Popsicle color matching game. Its made with felt and the sticks. One side has a color dot, the other side has the color spelled out. 

Peter pan and Wendy puzzle from here. I put magnets on the back of each piece to keep them from slipping around. 

In the same pouch were these cute Neverland clip cards from the same website. 
Pom Poms in action.

The sticker books had pages in the center to put the stickers on.

Using the cookie cards during our layover. :)

And our snack pack! We've used this lots of times. Its a simple craft container (like a tackle box) filled with little treats. Love Bug has her own buffet of treats and it makes it easier than having lots of little containers.

On the way up and down in a flight, it helps if your little one is chewing or sucking on something to help their ears with the pressure changes. Love Bug doesn't like drinking a lot- it can sometimes be a while getting up to altitude- and I found that sucking on other things works best. Love Bug enjoys these applesauce packs.

They did the trick and her ears were fine the whole trip.
My friend brought a package of wipes with her and they were something I missed having (now that we are past the diaper phase). So as she pointed out, wipes are great for lots of things. We used them for hands, spills on shirts, wiping off the trays, etc. Bring some diapers wipes along. Travel packs are perfect for that.

Hope your summer is filled with easy travels!!