If you have travelled with young children then you know that preparation is essential for a relaxing holiday. While we don’t want to take a truckload of toys and activities, some are certainly necessary for those long car or plane rides or to pull out for quiet time in the afternoon to give everyone some down time.
Before our recent holiday involving quite a few hours of flying and driving, I spent some focus time with each child sewing up these simple drawstring backpack bags. We added pockets to the front and as a surprise I also added matching pencil cases and smaller drawstring bags for activities inside. The kids chose their own material and learnt some valuable sewing skills at the same time. They really enjoyed the project and it helped build some excitement and anticipation for the holiday to come. I filled the bags with activities but kept them secret and by the time we left they were looking forward to seeing the contents as much as the holiday itself!
The 9 to 12 year olds received:
- a visual diary with their initial on the front in stick-on jewels, with a mechanical pencil.
- a lined notebook (again with their initial in jewels) with a pencil, 4 colour pen and sharpener. (The notebook was the girl’s favourite item.)
- some new books
- travel game set
- modelling clay
- an open-ended puzzle. This puzzle can fit together in multiple patterns and be used to make picture scenes as well. It was more for the middle ages but all of the children had a go at some stage or other.
- a roll of alfoil. There are heaps of things you can sculpt in aluminium foil and you will be surprised at how long it will keep the kids going; have a google for ideas before you go and perhaps include a couple of pictures to get the ideas flowing.
- a matching pencil case with textas.
The 4 t0 8 year olds received:
- modelling clay
- sticker activity books
- some new reading books
- colouring-in books
- a mosaic sticker activity
- pencil case with pens, pencils, textas, sharpener
The 2 1/2 year old received:
- some new books
- sticker books
- water drawing book. (These come with a pen that you fill with water and as you draw on the card pages the colours come out. Later, as the pages dry, the colours fade away and they can be re-used. I can see that these will wear out with a few weeks of use but they were loved by all the children up to the second eldest. In fact a couple of the older kids spent a long time doing it on several different occasions.)
- crayons and paper. (Good quality crayons are a must. Cheap crayons don’t make a dark, vibrant mark on the paper and frustrate little ones who can’t press hard enough to make a good line. My little one loves textas because they are so easy to draw with but keeps ruining them by pressing too hard, banging them to make dots or leaving the lids off. She doesn’t enjoy coloured pencils for the reason above. She did however love using these as they left a nice dark line and the $10 investment was worth it.)
- mini magnetic drawing board.
- magnetic pictures and metal tin. (This turned out to be her favourite activity and she went back to it over and over again. Not what I would have guessed!)
- velcro balls. (I can’t remember the brand name of these but they are sticky all over with velcro style hooks and can be pulled apart and molded. Not a big hit though.)
If you are travelling with children younger than this, take a look at these posts for more ideas: