Many of you might have heard about this little trick for travelling with youngsters, but for those of you who are still struggling with "something to do" on a trip, here's my secret to success: Pack Presents.
I know there are cars with DVD players in them, there are Gameboys, Leapsters, mp3 players, ipads, kindles, and a myriad of other devices created to keep your kids content. They have their place, and are good for a while, but they don't allow for connection, or interaction. I enjoy giving small gifts on the plane rides we take together because it gives Carrick and me a time to come together, to experience something as mother and son other than a flashing screen. He gets his "zone out"
time, and so do I, but not for the entirety of the trip.
I started giving him travel presents about two years ago, after hearing about the idea from a friend. She explained that the opening of a wrapped present takes extra time. It build anticipation and curiosity. It's different than just pulling a book or a dinosaur from a bag. They know what's in there, they play with it, then they get bored. (Then you have to resort to "here, play with my ipad..." or whatever device.)
But when you make the contents of their travel bags a mystery, even old toys that they have forgotten about become new and awesome. "Oh yeah! I forgot about that book/toy/etc.!" This method of regifting comes in handy, especially when you have more than one child, and budgets are on the line. If you're already spending money on plane tickets, food, checked bags, not to mention time off from work, you're probably not going to want to drop a fortune on goodies.
So, places like Goodwill and the Dollar Tree become treasure troves of inexpensive treats to wrap up for the kids. I made a trip to the Dollar Tree to proactively get some travel goodies for the kids, and only spent $10.00 on each kid. They each received a new toothbrush, an animal travel cover for their toothbrush, a pack of travel tissues (Lily got Tinkerbell, Carrick got Lightning McQueen), a bath loofah (Lily picked out a pink piggy one, Carrick chose a blue bear one), a pack of stickers, a castle board book to put the stickers on (they had a "boys" castle and a "girl's castle" book. Carrick saw Lily's play castle that I bought her at Goodwill a few weeks ago and said he wanted his own "blue castle", so that's why I got them each their own.), and chap stick for Carrick and lip gloss for Lily. I managed to sneak in the basket a small plastic rhino toy (to go with the bigger rhino he already has. It will be a "regift" because it got lost in the move.) I also was able to put in a small plastic triceratops dinosaur when he wasn't looking. (Triceratops is like the one dino figure he doesn't have. I'll pack another one of his dinos to play with the triceratops. Another "regift".) For Lily, I also found a small doll and a My Little Pony.
I bought all of these items at the beginning of this pay cycle, which was a good 3 1/2 weeks before we actually fly out. That way, whatever toys and treats they did see will have already been forgotten, thus making it a surprise. If you buy the goodies when you're with the kids, make sure it's not like the day before. Otherwise the surprise and curiosity factor is lost. (Or just make sure you don't go shopping with the kids. But if you're like me, shopping without the kids is a rare occasion, and best not left to chance.)
I already have all of these items wrapped up in fun wrapping paper from my gift stash. I used pink tissue for Lily and Cars Christmas paper for Carrick. All I have to do is sneak the goodies in their suitcases the night before we travel. Kinda makes me feel like Santa Claus in July.
Fun Travel things for the kids at Dollar Tree- $20.00
Balance this pay cycle- $22.00