See Jane Fly’s resident Mommy Travel Expert, Kena Frank, shares her favorite travel toys for tots.
As a parent, I’ve resigned myself to be a pack mule and an entertainer when I fly with my daughter. Long gone are the days of stylish pick-up-and-go travel, when my belongings fit just fine into a little carry on, and any books or magazines that I’d bring with me on a flight would actually get read. Now, entertainment for my toddler has become one of the key staples in my bag—after all, if she’s having fun, she’s happy, and that can mean a headache-free trip for me.
Here are ten things that have successfully kept my daughter busy on cross-country flights. They’re small and lightweight, so you can pack a lot of them without weighing yourself down.
- Travel-size Magna Doodle—My daughter loves this thing. Kind of like an Etch-A-Sketch, only it has a stylus to draw with.
- Animal Toobs—Tubes filled with sets of safari animals and sea life figurines.
- Colorwonder—Mess free markers by Crayola (color shows up only on Colorwonder paper, clear on everything else.)
- Colorforms—Remember these from when you were little? Kids still love them. Reusable vinyl geometric shapes that you can stick and restick to any shiny surface—like windows and tray tables.
- Felt or Magnetic Boards—There are a ton out there to choose from. We like the Eric Carle Very Hungry Caterpillar magnetic board.
- Travel-Size Soft Cover Books—Again, there are lots to choose from. We’re fans of Lauren Child’s Charlie and Lola series.
- iPhone—I love my iPhone, but sometimes I think my daughter loves it more. I loaded it with a few applications for her, along with kid-friendly movies and podcasts rather than lugging a DVD player with me. Check out apps like Wheels on the Bus and Old MacDonald, and podcasts like Sesame Street.
Okay, here’s where the list strays a little. We all know that if you give a toddler a gift, they’re likely to spend twice as much time playing with the wrapping paper it came in. That said, some of the things that have engaged my daughter the most on the road are non-toy items from around the house.
- Post-it notes—My daughter has spent hours filling them up with drawings, handing them out and sticking them all over the place.
- Pipe cleaners—These can be twisted into endless shapes—try making little animals or something wearable (I promise that turning them into sunglasses will leave you all looking ridiculous but laughing.)
- Blue painter’s tape—We actually haven’t tried this one yet, but came across the idea on Delicious Baby. It can be stuck on anything and removed quickly, and can even be used to outline games like hop scotch on the floor. (And, if your kid is acting up and all else fails, you might consider fashioning a straight jacket out of it.)
Originally published on SeeJaneFly
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