Under the Sea

School’s out! Time for some summer fun!

How about some sea life cards to play a small game of memory? Or practice numbers?

Print out the cards on card stock (so you can’t see through the paper when it’s turned over!) and laminate them for longer use. You can download them here:

I also found small objects from a craft store to go along with the six words. I popped them into a busy bag with the cards and made a matching game out of it.

Viel Spaß in den Sommerferien!

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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