Thursday, September 09, 2010

Transition and Plane Activities

This morning is overcast and cool. Silas has been in the bathroom for about 20 minutes, as he often is, and I just caught Eden spitting into a play tea cup "making tea." At least it's quiet. I am sitting at the table with my hair unbrushed, wearing a hoodie, drinking tea. At 8:26, we have been up, at least mostly up, for about 4 hours. Oh, transition.

It is a good week to transition, though -- the last week of summer before the flurry of new routine. We flew home on Labor Day Sunday -- a day, it turns out, when no one flies. Out of the blue on the first leg, Ben upgraded me to first class alone (glory!), and on the second leg we had 6 seats to ourselves. Back in Costa Mesa, friends invited us over for a burgers with guacamole and jalapenos -- I felt quite cared for.

We traveled so much this summer, in car and plane, so here are some of my favorite tricks/activities:

*my recent favorite: a little pair of plastic scissors, a glue stick and a small notebook (or printer paper folded or any paper) -- Eden and I cut up the airline magazines and glue pictures for a long time

*a roll of colored tape -- I cut shapes and strips for a long time, while Silas and Eden made designs in their books. We even cut a little triangles for each fingertip to make scary claws (my mom's idea) -- funny.

*a pack of gum each -- a treat, and Eden will seriously watch me blow bubbles for 20 minutes

*a box of band aids apiece -- Eden sits and opens band aid after band aid and puts them on her legs and in her notebook (and, of course, on me). Silas mostly loves the possession of a box of toy story band aids and opens them to see who is on the next one -- wasteful but time consuming.

*Silas is a movie-watcher for at least part of the flight, which, of course, is easy. Scholastic has a box set of movies at Costco that are the old library films of books (essentially the book read aloud) that are nice to weave in with Pixar films...

*a zipper pouch of odds and ends in my bag -- a mirror, a comb, some matchbox cars, measuring spoons -- whatever I can grab as I pack. The randomness interests them, the cars make a game etc.

*on our last three road trips, I had gallon-sized, themed ziplock bags (Annemarie's advice)-- a kitchen bag with plates and whisks and toy pots, an art bag with a roll of colored tape, a vehicle bag, a little animal/doll bag, a lego bag. Separate bags = slow release

*legos and markers both tend to pose problems on planes or in cars because of the little pieces and rolling factor, I brought little trays -- anything will work for this, the lid of a lego box, a shoebox lid, a toaster oven pan -- which they both settled on their laps and used a lot.

*I also always have a little emergency pocket -- mints or chocolate or lolly pops or some surprise to distract in the midst of a loud tantrum. magical.

*a little magna-doodle

What didn't work: -the crayola markers that write only on special paper -- not very juicy or fun to use
-same story with the old school activity books with the magic pen -- Silas really likes these but can't quite do them himself yet.
-triangular crayons -- thought this would be a good idea because they wouldn't roll, but they seemed to break a bit more easily and we lost them just as readily as a normal crayon
-ear buds fall out of their ears constantly, but headphones work, even adult size, if I fold a blanket on the top of their heads or put a little stuffed animal there (always funny). We also found child-sized headphones at Target.

I would love to hear your ideas, too -- please post!


buzzyandzippy said...

I love all these ideas. I don't know how you do it so well and so much. You are a pro! My suggestions are few:
I started this when Ruby was about Eden's age, I take a little plastic shot glass or any plastic cup and put about an inch of water in it and let Ruby do watercolors. She can make up to 20 paintings for grandma and grandpa on a flight. I have found that I MUST hold the cup the entire time.
I also make sure to get a child's drink cup for myself too. I don't want to worry about my drink spilling while I am reaching around on the gross ground for a Polly Pocket shoe.
Can't wait to see you soon.

Hollie Shannon said...

you are a genius mother... and you inspire me so much!!!
love you,

Linda said...

B - this is a TREASURE TROVE of great information for those of us who are newer to traveling with little people. Thanks for taking the time to jot it down!

lindsay said...

I LOVE all of these! Especially the theme bags. Slow release is wonderful. I do the same with itty bitty bags so they just get a few at a time. Also love the scissors and glue stick. Ben would love this also. And the tape. We have an excess of blue painters tape in the garage and Ben and I used an entire roll a few weeks ago decorating everything we could find. The floor, walls, paper. It was great. And not very sticky. Love you!