Thursday, April 17, 2014

Two For One...Kids Entertained And Parents Sane

I have two weeks to the day till we jet off on our impromptu family vacation and my biggest stress creating thought is "How am I going to keep a four year old and a two year old entertained and happy for 18 hours of flying time and 6 hours in airport terminals?"

I needed a two for one deal... Activities to keep little minds busy while keeping big minds sane!

I've stumbled across some pretty good activities and ideas which should do the trick and the best bit is they were cheap!

Being budget friendly means I'm happy to share them with you as they aren't solely for plane trips. These activities can be used on long car trips also.

Firstly I knew without doing research that a colouring/activity book would give me an hour at least at a time of entertainment for Miss Four (and maybe five minutes for Mr Two).I decided to make my own, one for each child, so I could include pictures of their favourite characters without having to pay the extortionate prices that brand names attract.

The above links are all free and have a wide range of characters to choose from including Peppa Pig, Ben 10, Disney Princesses, Scooby Doo, Super Heroes and more.

The below link has colouring pages for the movie Frozen, they will be a big hit for both my kids.

Once I had printed out the pages I made little books using some metallic coloured cardstock - a pack of 50 sheets cost around $5 at Kmart and we had it in our craft supplies but you could use anything you have on hand - punched some holes and raided my sewing stuff for ribbon. I added some plain sheets of paper tied it altogether and now I have two activity books that didn't cost me a cent.

As unoriginal as it seems my daughter loves pink and my son asked for blue :)

Next up is paddle pop stick puzzles. You take any picture you want glue it to a bunch of paddle pop sticks let the glue dry and then cut it up. The result is a travel friendly puzzle.

I had the paddle pop sticks in our craft supplies also but Kmart have them for a couple of dollars. I also found a use for those very pricey kids magazines the husband loves to spoil the kids with. I scoured the pages and cut out pictures of the kids favourite characters before they went into the recycling bin.

You can make these for any age by just varying how you cut it up. I had smaller images for Mr Two so still cut each paddle pop separately however you can do every second or third stick to make them age appropriate for younger kids. If you have a rotary cutter or Stanley knife it's best to use that to cut with if not try one of your sharpest kitchen knives.

Due to the length of our trip I have also spoilt the kids with two new toys each which they will be surprised with at a random time mid flight. I made sure to put a limit on how much I spent on each child and was lucky enough to be in target while there was a sale on. My limit per kid was $20.

Another treat will be the games I've downloaded to both of our iPhones. They are usually off limits to the kids as is my iPad so I'm imagining two very excited children when we hand them over. Games I've downloaded include the Preschool App, Minion Rush and Disney's Fantasyland - all free!

I've written a snack list that should be able to sustain us should we crash and end up on some tropical island though thinking about it now with how my kids eat it may only last us to Dubai. Special treats they don't usually get as well as good old fashion vegemite sandwiches and apples, given my own dislike of aeroplane food I've made sure to include enough for myself too.

Lastly plenty of exercise to help wear them out. I've read over the past few weeks that the day before a big trip, be it plane or car, you should have a busy day heavy with physical activity. We have this planned. Miss Four will have Kindy and I'm thinking of sending the husband to the park with Mr Two while I give the house a clean. We'll also be taking them swimming after school and plan to let them stay up past their normal bed time.
At the airport we'll be walking laps of the international terminal until it's time to board and on the plane I expect to do laps up and down the aisles.
At this point I'm willing to completely tire myself out and miss a day sightseeing in London to sleep if it means the kids are pleasant during the flight.

Have you ever travelled with young children? If you have I'm open to hearing any suggestions on how to make the trip easier for all involved.


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