It’s happened to us all before. We find ourselves dashing out the door with our kiddos in hand to a destination that wasn’t exactly part of the plan for the day and sometimes this said destination is not kid-friendly. *I know, gasp!* Of course, as prepared mamas we usually have a diaper bag packed and ready anytime but one thing that I’ve found to be amazingly helpful is having a toddler on the go activity bag ready to go.
Often with my two boys, most of the places we plan to go are kid-friendly because we all know, that just makes life easier. But, life happens. There have been times, my toddler wakes up from a nap, says “ow, mommy my ear hurts” and I think about putting it on hold because I know the dreaded wait with two boys in a doctor’s office is well…dreadful. They are touching everything (potentially catching something worse than what we went in for) but I also realize that after many ear infections if I wait, the night could be a very l o n g, sleepless night.
So off we go to the appointment where there is always a wait. I could chase both boys around the office, pulling them down off the nicely arranged chairs, swiping their hands away from the nice fish tank display, and swooping in when they want to play with that *ulgh* trash can lid! By the way, does this place have automatic sliding doors? Oh forget it, they will practice their superhero powers until the doors malfunction … ok so just maybe I’ve fallen into the trap before of being the exhausted, disciplining momma attempting to distract them with the *boring* nursery rhyme quilt hanging on the wall or entice them with looking out the window at the squirrels running by. But, those tactics only buy me so much time.
I quickly learned that having a bag packed and ready for these types of destinations makes life easier for mama and more entertaining for the kiddos. I’ve used our toddler on the go activity bag at restaurants, doctor’s appointments, and even for lengthy car trips.
What goes in the toddler on the go activity bag?
So there is total flexibility to put activities that are perfect for your kiddos but here are some ideas to get those gears turning. I find putting things that my boys don’t normally have access to until these mommy emergency situations works the best because the materials are “new” and exciting.
Some of my go-to items are:
- Stuffed animals
- Activity books
- Magnetic blocks
- Card games
- Fruit snacks – I’m just going to admit it, fruit snacks are such a powerful snack (bribe) in our house. So, I keep a couple packs for when the going really gets tough. ;)
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My boys love *what we call* squishies. I browse for inexpensive toys at the Dollar Tree or Target Spot that are stretchy and squishy. I’ve referenced squishes before since we keep them in our sensory basket. When they get yucky or left behind, it’s not a big deal. Soft toys are great for in the car or in other places because when the inevitable toy toss happens, well they are soft and can’t cause harm and it avoids the loud bang that happens when almost any other toy we own gets tossed accoss the room.
This is a Mickey Mouse Dri-Erase Activity Book comes with the dry erase marker and my toddler thinks it’s a blast to use. He considers this a “big boy” game so he loves it. It’s also a great item to keep in the activity bag because it’s reusable again and again.
Reusable Sticker Pads
This Melissa & Doug Reusable Sticker Pad is a lot of fun. We just stumbled past it one day and I thought about the learning opportunities. Well, it ended up in our on the go tote bag since it’s reusable and provides quiet time entertainment. The stickers can be matched to the different habitats and repositioned over and over. Lots of opportunities for learning and independent play so it’s a great stash in the activity bag.
Paper and Crayons
This Crayola Sketchbook with the Crayola Twistables Crayons are perfect for on the go. For some reason, these twistable crayons seem to be a home run hit when I pull them out! The sketchbook is great for drawings or even sticking stickers.
Books are a great resource in the activity bag. Such a great way to emphasize the importance of literacy by reinforcing those skills even on the go. This My First Counting Book and My First Shapes Book are interactive books. My boys love to use the animal counters when we read the books and we even extend it to a game of finding shapes or counting wherever we may be.
I love these activity books from the Dollar Tree. There are pages of stickers that we can match to the shapes in the book. Provides more than 5 minutes of entertainment which is always a win-win with a toddler and they are only $1 a book!
I’ve found rotating the items in and out every once in awhile is helpful – keeps the surprise element of exploring with our on the go activity bag!
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What’s your favorite on the go past-time activity with kids?