Traveling Abroad, Part I: On the Plane

Not only are we traveling by plane to Europe, but we have a 4 to 5-hour drive once we arrive. So I pack the kids’ backpacks with activities to keep them busy on the plane. And then I pack another set of things in one of the suitcases. It takes a lot of organization!

I try to sneak in German where I can. But there is a mix of English and German materials. I didn’t actually create any of the things below. But there are still some good resources!

Some of the things in the boys’ backpacks are the same:

  • a set of headphones in the backpack (We got these headphones that are meant for kids.)
  • a couple of snacks
  • a set of pajamas and nighttime diaper/pull-up
  • an extra set of clothes

But then they have different things to keep them busy. Here’s what’s in Hippo’s backpack:

  • a folder with coloring pages that I printed (some with Van Gogh images, since we might go to the museum in Amsterdam; some German ones I found here)
  • books – Hippo chose two (Bist du meine Mama? and Das kleine Glühwürmschen)
  • a drawing pad with plain paper
  • a foam giraffe sticker kit (from AC Moore)
  • an activity pad
  • 2 Dover Little Activity Books
  • 2 busy bags
  • box of crayons
  • pencil case with colored pencils (the case is personalized, but I wiped out the name on the picture)
  • a pencil case with a pencil, sharpener, and eraser

He has two busy bags:

  • a dinosaur puzzle (This is from the Melissa & Doug set that comes with 4 puzzles. I made a colored photocopy of the finished puzzle, so he would know what it was supposed to look like.)
  • stickers (I cut up some card stock and folded it, so he has something to put the stickers on. There are also several Dover Little Sticker Books.)

Froggy’s backpack is a bit bigger and so it is stuffed with a bit more!

  • a folder with coloring pages that I printed (some with Van Gogh images, since we might go to the museum in Amsterdam; some German ones I found here)
  • a drawing pad with plain paper
  • a foam giraffe sticker kit (from AC Moore)
  • 2 puzzles: alphabet & the US (in a 2-gallon Ziploc bag)
  • a magnetic game similar to Chutes & Ladders (also in a large Ziploc bag)
  • a sticker book – World Atlas
  • mini pinball game
  • 3 books (Mars, Planes, & Die kleine Raupe Nimmersatt)
  • Dover Little Activity Books
  • Carlsen Sticker-Malbücher (I found these at a bookstore in Frankfurt last year)
  • 2 busy bags
  • box of colored pencils
  • pencil case filled with markers (we had to really pare these down – he wanted to take every color!)

He also has 2 busy bags:

  • stickers (Again, I cut up some card stock and folded it, so he has something to put the stickers on.)
  • a set of strip puzzles – you have to first figure out which pieces go together, but they are color-coded and numbered at the bottom (I found them in the red dot section of Target)

Are you familiar with busy bags? Do a quick search on Google or Pintrest and you’ll find innumerable ideas from a whole variety of mommy blogs. Last year, I ordered a case of 24 pencil cases with mesh windows and zipper closures for about $29 on Amazon. (I had bought a bunch at a dollar store the year before, and the zippers broke almost immediately, so I thought this was a pretty good deal!) One activity goes into each busy bag to help keep things organized. I keep them in a small closet near the mud room, and we only use them on our travels.

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