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Tell me what you packed for kids to play with
I know this will vary depending on age of child etc..... but was wondering how much or how little people packed to entertain their kids during those long flights or other forms of transport.
Also seeing as we plan to travel at a slower pace and stay in areas for about a month at a time, a few familiar toys would be nice I think.
Our draft list is: All things need to be contained with one small kids backpack that the 4yo can carry when needed.
Ipad (for kids with ample apps,movies etc), colouring pencils and one book each, 2 x those write on wipe off educational books for abc's and writing skills. About 4 bedtime books, this is a huge part of our nightly rountine and can not think how it would be without or 30 mins of reading before bed but books are heavy ?
So what did/have you have to entertain your kids ?
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The easiest and lightest way to carry the books is to just have them on the Ipad. We have loads on there and can delete them and get more whenever we want. We have a couple favorites that we carry but mostly they are on the reader. Just get the kindle app. You will find there are all kinds of puzzles and games that are really great on the ipad, even yahtzee and life, all our classic board games we play on the ipad. It saves so much space. As for toys, your list is great. We also have a bag of legos that gets used a LOT. And for my 4 year old a small bag of little guys, dinos, animals, etc. He loves these and plays for hours setting them up, making them fight, sorting them etc.
We've found that a small stuffed animal and pad of paper and some colored pencils work wonders. When they kid tired of coloring, drawing, or writing, they can make paper airplanes or origami. There is so much you can do with paper, and you can find it anywhere.
At airports and on ferries I get the kids a new kids magazine each, we'd then read it to them until it looked like a piece of crumpled rubbish and they were bored of it, and then by a new one. Many of them came with little toys, also disposable, and activities, stories to read, colouring in, dot to dot, spelling games etc... so they got some good usage.
we backpacked for 12 months with our then 3.5yr old and 5yr olds. we traveled slow and we traveled light, with 2 main backpacks and a day bag each including the kids. make sure you get properly fitting bags for them, relative to their size too. in australia, kathmandu has good ones. we were lucky and our kids were really good and carried their own bags all the time. we've got 2 girls, so at first we brought a couple of polly pockets each and a couple of die cast cars each. but we found that aside from the first day or 2 after we left, these new toys lost their novelty. instead the crayola 'twistable' crayons were one of the best things, and they didn't melt nor wear down too easily. and along the way, we'd stock up on pads of drawing paper. and also glue sticks, scotch tape, and scissors, but remember to remove those prior to going on flights! these were the BEST entertainment we found. we too were very fond of our bedtime routine of reading prior to the trip, but found that even though we brought a few favourite books with us, we rarely had the time nor the inclination to read. the kids were either too tired by the end of the day or the end of the day was filled with other fun stuff to do and it then got too late to read. the kids did enjoy audio books with ear phones while on buses, etc. and the iPod was terrific for both educational as well as downtime fun. make sure you get ear phones that fit the kids ears though before you leave and if you have more than i kid, maybe a jack splitter so that they can listen to music/story together. (we found the kind that hook over their ears worked best for them.) in any case, the first thing the kids have gravitated to once we've returned home are their books, so i think the early 'foundation' and routine we had instilled were still there and our 6yr old is a very proficient reader. we found all in all, the new environments provided enough novelty, and when that failed, the ipod and portable DVD player filled in the gaps. depending on the ages of the kids, UNO was also a big hit as well as travel games. anyway, you can always pick up toys along the way, both 'cheap' ones as well as quality ones in the many malls that exist virtually everywhere! good luck, and remember--more is less!
Our kids are older (youngest is 9) but just wanted to say that in the 8 months we've been traveling in Asia we have always found english language books in even the smallest town. In a medium to big size town there are excellent english bookstores. You will never have to worry about finding new bedtime time books to replace the ones you or the kids tire of. On another note in every single town there is also a market with at least 5 stalls filled with cheap Chinese plastic toys so you can always stock up on a few novelty toys right before a long train or bus ride for just a dollar or two.
You could take a Kindle and download as many books as you like onto it.