The holidays are here and with that comes lots of traveling. I have blogged about helpful tips and tricks when traveling with kids before, but this guest post will really help you to be prepared when traveling with toddlers.
I am so excited to introduce a very good friend of mine, Amanda Perez-Morris, who is an amazing mama and business owner of Bums and Beans, an online children’s boutique. She is also a frequent traveler with her beautiful toddler, Hazel.
As a parent, you know how difficult air travel can be with your child, especially if they are in the midst of learning to walk, teething, or even crawling. Their little bodies want so bad to be able to move and explore and the plane seat can be extremely confining. Not to mention, a cesspool of germs this time of year. So before you go on your next flight I challenge you to go prepared. Here is a quick and easy DIY Travel Kit For Toddlers that I put together for my little one when she was 16 months old.
We were only going to be in the air for one and a half hours but you never know when flights will be delayed. My brain immediately goes into what is small enough to take with me but will have a huge impact and give plenty of opportunity to explore different textures, sizes, colors, numbers, etc.
- Sandwich bags
- Stickers –The Dollar Store is great for this, plenty of small and large options.
- Coloring Book-Again use The Dollar Store for these.
- Rigatoni -Uncooked
- Ribbon –recycle something from a gift. It doesn’t have to be nice
- Small recycled container with a lid
- Small rubber or plastic toy(s) that can fit in the container you choose
I used to love felt storyboards as a kid. My parents were super religious so I remember mine involving a Noah’s Arc scene and I believe their was even one with the nativity that I used to enjoy. For my little lady I decided on a couple of different options such as shapes, a flower and sunscape, and a pirate ship. I had some leftover red and white striped fabric so I went with it. Argh!!
Materials: Felt in 5-8 colors, scissors, 2 or 3 sandwich size plastic bags, Sharpie and imagination.
Flower and Sunscape
Step 1: Cut a rectangle about half the size of your larger rectangle.
Step 2: Cut 5 to 7 petals in different colors, the grass or a flower pot. Then cut a skinny stem, a sun and a moon if you want to discuss night and day during play.
Step 3: When all items are cut place item in your next sandwich bag and label it with a Sharpie.
Discuss the colors with your little one. Even if they are small starting that conversation early has been proven to make a difference in their cognitive and recognition abilities later. In my Educator opinion, it’s never too early! Have them play with the different colors and feel the different shapes. See if they will feel the edges of the shape. This can be sometimes difficult at a young age. My little one basically wants to scrunch up everything in her hand and either throw it back at me or put it in her mouth, so do what you can and see what your child naturally wants to do with the shape. Count each item as you have them place them onto the felt board. Ask questions such as; what do you think happens when the sun goes down? Where do the flowers sleep? I know this may seem silly to do with a 16-24 month old, but believe me this will not be by far the silliest thing you ever do with your kid. Teaching questioning and problem solving skills is a huge part of the Common Core Curriculum. The earlier you start posing questions and even if they can’t answer but start to recognize the inflection in your tone when you ask a question, that helps them get one step closer.
This has become my little ones favorite activity. We do this on days when Mommy needs to mop the floors and I don’t need that added help of having a toddler trying to take a dip in the dog bowl while I mop. This also works on the plane. I love this activity because we can practice our counting and fine motor skills. Fine motor skills are defined as the small actions we make with our hands such as, grasping an object using our pincer finger and thumb. This skill becomes extremely handy when your child needs to start writing at school. Yes, they still do ask your child to write with an actual pencil at school. Gasp!
Materials: Large Rigatoni or any large pasta with a hole at each end, 18-20 inches of ribbon, scissors.
Step 1: Pre-cut your ribbon to 18-20 inches. Tie a knot or two or three on one end.
Step 2: String your rigatoni onto the necklace. I like to start with 5 then eventually we work our way up to 10. Eventually it will be like Mardi Gras in this house and she’ll be able to count only using rigatoni to 50. But baby steps overachievers, baby steps!
Step 3: Place all of your pasta and ribbon into your sandwich bag and label it.
Play Suggestions: Rigatoni can come with ridges. Great for the tactile learner! Have them feel the pasta. Start by stringing the pasta onto the necklace then showing them how to pull one at a time off using their pincer finger and thumb. Make sure to count as you go. Next, try seeing if they can thread the ribbon through the pasta and put as many as possible onto the ribbon. Once again help them count as you go. Repetition is a huge piece of learning so try to do and show this skill as many times as needed until they are doing it on their own.
Coloring Pages & Stickers
Again this is another one that can help with the development and strengthening of fine motor skills. Picking up small objects (in this case a sticker) and placing it on another object (the coloring page) provides plenty of practice for strengthening those muscles.
Materials: 2 to 4 coloring pages, scissors, stickers of varying sizes
Step 1: Cut your coloring pages in fourths. Don’t worry about the image. This activity is more about teaching them how to peel and stick.
Step 2: My stickers came in a package of 200 from the dollar store so I cut them into strips so she wouldn’t go crazy ripping all of the stickers off of a single page all at once. This activity can also teach self-control if you have an impatient little one like me.
Step 3: Place your stickers and the cut up coloring pages into your sandwich bag and label.
Play Suggestions: This activity helps with those fine motor skills. They will use the pincer finger and thumb grip to remove the sticker and place it on the coloring page. Once again this helps them strengthen that muscle for when they need to hold a pencil. You can also count as you have them pull off the sticker and place it on the coloring page. If you pick stickers that are primary colors you can also use this activity to reinforce color comprehension.
Amanda Perez-Morris is the Owner and Designer for Bums and Beans an online children’s boutique specializing in limited edition handmade gifts for little ones. Bums and Beans makes everything from cuddle toys, pillows and dolls, bibs, teething blankets, and mobiles. Everything is made in a limited edition format normally 25 or less so you know you are not getting the run of the mill baby gift or décor for your nursery.