How many of you bring extra toys and things when you’re going to places where your kids need to be quiet or still? You know, like at the Dr.’s office or a restaurant or church. I know it can be a hassle and they usually end up not using what you bring because they’re too familiar with it. So maybe you go out and buy new toys just for the occasion, which usually works, but doing that every time can get costly. What about bringing an on-the-go activity pack with the usual staples except switching out the small things every once and while to maintain their interest and keep your costs down. Like switching out stickers, puzzles, coloring books, pens etc. Small things that you can easily find an array of options for at an affordable price.
I wanted to share our own on-the-go activity packs with you in hopes to make those family dinner dates, church services, appointments and other things, run a little more smoothly. If you already do this, keep reading, maybe you’ll find something you never considered or be inspired!
Everything I bought came from the Dollar Tree. My oldest calls The Dollar Tree, “Mom’s Wal-Mart” because I practically live there. I have this silly notion that I can walk out of there only buying the two things I came for but that never happens. Any other Dollar Tree “addicts” out there?
I have 3 boys but only bought enough for the 2 older ones because the youngest is content (for the time being) with anything I choose to bring. It’s important that the bag, box, or whatever you choose to hold all of their goodies in, is something they can carry themselves. Keep their packs in your car and allow them to be responsible for bringing them in. This will give them a confidence boost because they feel like they’ve done something good and helped you. It’s never too early to teach your child to help. A simple, “good job!” makes their faces beam and they’ll be sure to repeat the behavior again. I found small, blue canvas bags that came in a pack of 2 and they were just the right size for all of the goodies and their little hands to carry.
For my 9-year-old, I bought a set of dominoes, a golf peg board game, a tissue paper craft kit, a jumbo play pad with puzzles and activities perfect for the older kids and “singing” magnets. They don’t sing, by the way, they’re just magnets. But magnets can be really fun due to their simplicity. Kind of like bubbles-before you know it, you can’t stop blowing them and you’re smiling like a kid again. I really like the tissue paper craft kit and am thinking about doing this myself on a larger scale. The one we got is a parrot and has small 1 inch squares of tissue paper that you just poke into the styrofoam board shaped like a parrot. It’s numbered like with color by number pages. The peg board came with small pieces and those are usually hard for kids to keep up with so I re-used this small Altoids tin to help my son keep up with them.
For my 2-year-old, I bought a sticker by number activity, a pack of 8 triangular crayons (perfect for little hands), 3 packs of stickers, a mickey mouse clubhouse doodle book, a farm eraser puzzle, an Elmo tin and a 4×6 photo album that holds 48 photos. I disassembled the eraser puzzle and stored the pieces in the Elmo tin. They already have little puzzles that come in small tins but I thought this was a different puzzle experience for him and it would be a good item to switch out in the future when he’s bored with the eraser one. I bought the album to use as a sticker scene book. I googled different images I thought would make a great sticker scene and printed them out as 4×6’s and added them to the photo album. In this album he has scenes like the jungle, space, the farm, a construction site, an underwater scene, a giant pumpkin, a winter wonderland and a castle. All he has to do is create imaginary scenes with the stickers and they can come right off when he’s done! The Dollar Tree has a TON of stickers so you can really do just about any kind of sticker scene you can think of!
I hope you enjoyed this post and it inspired you to get creative with your kids. It’s so much fun to see them use their packs and everyone compliments how “well-behaved” my boys are when we go out. It’s a better experience for all of us. Let me know if you have any on-the-go activity pack ideas you’d like to share, I would love to hear them! 🙂