Thursday, November 6, 2014

Vacationing with a Toddler

Recently we went on a road trip with Panda. We planned for many months in advance what we would bring with to keep him happy and content the whole trip without packing to much. This post is picture heavy, but I hope it helps someone else getting ready for a trip. with a toddler or small child.
1. My friend had a small ballroom that was empty. We commandeered it for a play room. Most places admittedly wont have a ballroom, but having a place planned out ahead of time as a safe place for your child to play and blow off some steam (even if it's just a corner they can call their own while away) is a great stress reliever.
2. I picked out a basket.  All of his activities and toys had to fit into the basket. Once I knew how much space was allotted I started planning what to bring.
3.  I saw a lot of people using baking trays on Pinterest for car activities. I liked that this is made of foam so if we got into an accident it would collapse around him. The Snack & Play made a table to play on, have snacks on, and had sides to keep everything from falling to the floor. There are mesh pockets on the sides that held his books and his water bottle.
4. I have no picture for this, but we used disposable diapers on this trip. We are a cloth diaper family, but the space created and the peace of mind using disposables was worth it to us. While on the road we also put a disposable swim pants over his diaper creating a double layer.
5. I packed all of his activities separately in tiny bags to keep things from getting messy. These cars were just $1. a piece. I found them at the Dollar Tree, Panda loves them. 
6. We added a small spattering of blocks. It was just enough to built a few small towers.  
7. This is a fun little magnetic fishing set I made. I chose to use a ring instead of a stick just in case Panda put it in his mouth  and we had an accident while driving. I will post more detailed instructions later.
8. I packed a bag of loose items. I also had a pair of peg people, but could not find it for the photo. Random items are always fun for tots to sort through. 
 9. Books, books, books, and more books. Keeping it seasonal.. Panda loves his books. He happily looked through them on the road on his own. I also read them on the road and daily while we were away. We could never have brought enough books for this little Panda, but it was a good selection. 
 10. This was a fun little house, finger puppets, and gel board that I made for the trip.
11.  I made these knit farm animals using a pattern in "Toy Making for Children" by  Freya Jaffke. Panda likes to hold softies when he is tired and these were just the right size for comfort toys.
12. Panda is to young to grasp the concept of a calm down bottle (directions from My Crazy Blessed Life here), but loved watching it  in the car and when we got to my friend's  house he had fun rolling down the stairs.
13. A few toys that could be thrown safely was a nice touch when we got to our destination.
 14. Color crayons and a cardboard plate. The cardboard acted as both  canvas and a hard surface for drawing on. This was revisited every day while we were away.
15. I found this farm set made by 'ALEX' on sale at a local toy store. They acted as three activities; beading, stacking (laying sideways), and could be played with as wooden animals. Panda really really loves this set. I would recommend it to anyone looking for a good, small, multipurpose toy for a gift. 
16. Pom poms and a Tupperware box with a hole in it. I found this activity on Pinterest in multiple places. Panda loves to poke the pom poms into the box. This is another favorite.
17. This is anightlight that charges during the day and at night you remove the cord. It is a soft silicon toy that is safe for little hands and not so bright to be a distraction. This was great on the road at night, and in the room we were staying in.
18. Apple! This is Panda's lovey. I made her this past summer in preparation for this trip. I wanted Panda to have a car buddy. He took to her right away and the two of them are inseparable now. Apple even got a new spaceman outfit at a museum we visited while on vacation. 
All of these items fit into one small basket and proved to be just the right amount of activities for our needs.Thanks for reading. Hopefully this post has some helpful tips for someone.
Shine on!


  1. Great ideas! I find on our long road trip south each spring, that having a basket of goodies to keep the little man busy makes for a happy mama and a happy little man while traveling :)