and a 4 year old with an affinity for whining… begs the question: Why are we not flying this time? I’ve been asking myself the same thing daily.
Eli may hate his car seat, but he also hates to sit still and be restrained. We vowed after the last flight that it would be less stressful to deal with 17 hours of misery by ourselves than 3 hours of it with a plane full of testy strangers.
Before we embark on our northward journey, I’ve been preparing some things for the kids in the car. Last time we drove, I wrapped (2 year old) Lily a million little gifts to open along the way. Not this time.
Can I just say that in all of the vastness of the interwebs… we are sorely lacking in traveling with toddler ideas. Lily was not hard at all… but I found NO decent help for traveling with a one year old.
So I had to come up with some of my own …. I tried to think of it as like a ‘road trip’ themed party to keep it less daunting for me.
Mini car lap track:
materials: binder, textured stuff, packing tape
The idea is for a sturdy surface for E to drive his little cars in his lap. Nice because the whole thing folds up and puts away nicely. I made it a little more interesting with a toilet paper roll hill and a couple of straw rumble strips and streets made of tulle for the sound effects.
materials: any round cereal (preferably Kellogg’s), pipe cleaners
Lily can work on patterns and dexterity while she slides the loops onto the pipe cleaners… then she can hand them to Eli, who will work on his fine motor skills while he pulls them off to eat them.
See. Fun and learning for both ages, eh. I work wonders with a pantry full of Kellogg’s samples. We should be on a commercial.
Household items turned toys:
At 15 months, Eli loves to pull things apart, put things together, put things inside other things…. oh, and anything ball related.
so I came up with these free ideas:
*pulling ‘credit cards’ and money out of a wallet.
*toothbrush holder with straws in it to put together, take apart, dump out, and refill
*bristled hair curlers that fit inside each other
*to go cup with extra straw holes to pull out and put back in
*cool whip container turned ball receptacle
When these get old, or in a pinch, I have a brand new box of kleenex and baby wipes and will let him pull out every single one, if need be.
Homemade picture books:
“Photo albums” filled with people he knows and loves and another with cutouts of real animals. Last time with Lily, I let her look through magazines and cut out pictures of babies and dogs (based on her interests and skill level at the time) and we filled the albums together. Eli’s will be pre-made.
Do it yourself book illustrations:
Materials needed: scissors, glue, paper
Bug is way into Bindi Irwin, the Crocodile Hunter’s daughter, for some reason. We now own Free Willy 3 and she will most likely be receiving the dolls for Christmas. So I compiled a page of google images, printed out a blurb about her I found on a website ( one sentence per page), and will let Lily cut out the pictures and glue them on to illustrate her own book about Bindi.
Store bought sanity savers:
I was trying to find things that fit Eli’s current interests and skill set at 15 months.
stuff with buttons to push…. toy remote , electric toothbrush(preferably equate brand… because the button makes a cool noise that could only come from a generic)
something to try to master… harmonica (<5$ at World Market)
stuff with funny noises… bead stick thing ($1 at WalMart), electric toothbrush, harmonica
dogs, animals, songs, books… board books and animal song dvd
For Lily… I had a blast picking out random girly movies that I thought she might like. (like how I snuck in Troop Beverly Hills, one of my childhood faves.) I know she’s only 4… but she prefers live action movies about teenagers. I have to make sure that they they don’t have any subject matters that I don’t want to get stuck explaining to her first. Praise Jesus that the Routan has 2 DIFFERENT dvd capabilities… I ‘d go crazy with only Baby Genius sing a long movies…. teeny movies I can handle.
Mrs. Olson (recently discovered) money- saving travel tips:
#1= buying used dvds for as low as 25 cents (plus 3$ shipping) on amazon.com. The grand total for all of these was only like 25$… pretty much the cost of one new disney dvd.
#2= stocking up during school supply season. Glue sticks, crayons, folders etc. for a trip are so much more fun when they are cheap.
#3= setting back a few ‘car friendly’ items from the onslaught of gifts at a birthday party to reserve for a trip. Lily will be psyched to remember the magnetic fairy set, Old Maid game, lift flap princess book, and 3D Taylor Swift tour book from hers that mysteriously ended up out of reach and view on the top shelf of her closet.
#4= Marshall’s or TJ Maxx usually have a good selection of discounted books. I found an awesome Tangled reusable peel sticker book for 6$ and 3$ board books.
I did the best I could… but please pray for us anyway.
Any travel tips, non-messy snacks, car friendly crafts or games or things your kids like to do in the car?
Please send them my way… QUICK!