About to embark on a trip with a toddler? Terrified? Before you panic and spend hours creating ‘sorry’ bags for all the other passengers, try planning a few easy of these travel activity ideas to help your little one stay busy.
1. Snacks. Naturally, pack all the favorites. I love these Planet Wise snack bags. We’ve used them for years!
2. Pull-out bag. This is literally just a little bag with strips of felt stuffed inside. It’s been played with as just pulling them out/stuffing them in, used as pretend wipes, matching the pairs, and for peek-a-boo. One also served as a rug in a doll house! Sometimes the simplest thing can be the most flexible. Also, it weighs nothing and isn’t important if it gets lost.
3. Photos. I made this little ring with family photos, but you could just make a little photo album too. It’s fun to flip through pages and look at photos. You can also include photos of where you are headed to help your child get familiar.
4. Small toys. A week or so before we left, I put away some of her favorite little toys so that they would be ‘fresh’ when she pulled them out on the plane. You don’t want to pack too many loved things that might get lost, so make sure it’s something you can keep track of during your trip. I tuck them inside of interesting bags to make it more fun to take out, put back in, take out…
5. Activity wallet. Scroll down for more details about what’s inside!
6. Sticker book. Since I got my son a sticker book, I thought I ought to get one for my little girl too. She always wants to be like her big brother! This one is perfect for the younger set: ABC Alphabet Sticker Book (My Little World) The graphics are precious and the stickers are easy to grasp. It’s small and thin so it’s not too much of a hassle to carry.
My daughter is 17 months and this is the bag that we took on our trip we are currently on. I snapped these photos before we left and everything got played with! I should also mention that we use a few other things on the plane that don’t need packing. There’s always in-flight magazines to look at and destroy, cups are great fun, and we always fly Southwest so they actually give little activity packs with a coloring book and pencil. I try to avoid using screens, but I do keep an app or two on there just in case of emergency.
Now for a few more details on the Activity Wallet. This is something she plays with at home, but I added a few bits for the trip. This is something I plan to continue to add to and give her age-appropriate items inside. It’s small and simple and can be used in and of itself for a shorter car trip or something like waiting at a restaurant.
The wallet itself is one of my old ones. It has a lot of space and a little strap she can carry it by. It’s fun for her to put it on her arm and unzip and zip the zippers too. Inside are old cards that don’t matter if they get lost. Things like expired ID cards, store cards, and used up gift cards are perfect. These are fun to pull out and put back.
I also added a few sticker sheets and cardstock. I trimmed them a bit to fit in the bill space. On the plane she made little scenes on the cardstock with the stickers. She actually made one with the animals drinking tea. Ha!
There’s also a set of three cards I quickly made. She likes saying “two” so I thought these might be fun to look at for a few minutes.
And lastly, I included a small stack of Post-It notes. I got this idea from a brilliant teacher I used to work with. These are prefect for sticking around, unsticking, scribbling on, ripping up. Anything. And again, they weigh nothing and it doesn’t matter if they get lost.
We had a great flight with my daughter! She’s definitely at a tricky age because she’s active but doesn’t have much of an attention span. She was occupied with her backpack for most of the three-hour flight.
What do you like to pack for your little travelers?