Wednesday, February 8, 2017

What's In My Preschool Aged Daughters' Carry Ons

On my old blog, I used to blog semi frequently about traveling with children. We do a fair amount of travel, and have done the whole range-short car trips, long car trips (18+ hours), airplanes, lay overs, me flying solo with 2 under 2, flying solo with an infant, driving over night, entertaining kids in the car all day, driving with a baby, with 2 toddlers, with 4 kids, and more! So I'd like to think we are pretty seasoned at traveling with kiddos! The last few years, we have basically only driven with our kids. Even when we have a 16 hour drive down to Texas. Once you have to start buying 4 (and now 6) plane tickets, it's just not even a question for us. Spend $3,000 on plane tickets for all 6 of us (literally, that's truly what it would cost us to fly to Houston), or spend a few hundred to drive. Well, we are getting ready to travel by plane for the first time in several years, with our two daughters, ages almost 4 and 5. Since the last time we flew with them was when they were about 8 months and 2 years, I definitely had to think about what I should pack for them. I am your classic over packer. It's definitely something I have to be careful about, and especially now that we have so many people. This trip, I am trying to do it all in carry ons so we don't have to pay luggage fees, and because we have layovers, and I feel like every time I check a bag and have a layover, the bag gets lost/delayed. So, for the purpose of clarity on this post, my girls will both be taking an actual carry on suitcase with their clothes and toiletries and such, and then also carrying on a backpack, and this post is about what I'm packing in their backpacks. 

Because we will be doing layovers, and my husband and I will each have our own carry on bag, backpacks, and the girls' car seats, I want to make sure the girls' backpacks aren't too heavy, since they will really need to be in charge of them since we will have our hands full with the rest of the stuff. So that already eliminates a lot of the things I typically pack on trips (magna doodles, sets of Me Reader books, etc.) 
First up, you have to have a coloring book. This will work out perfectly this trip because my girls have been so busy with imaginative play lately, they have hardly been doing any kind of art. Although they have gobs of coloring books, I did pick them up these little ones from the Target dollar spot because a) they're small which = very lightweight, and b) I love holiday themed things, and so do my girls. Of course, if you have coloring books you need to have something to color with. I like twistable crayons, because they won't get broken in the backpack from smushing it under the airplane seat and such. I also had to grab these stacking crayons when I saw them at Target. These made me so nostalgic! Didn't everyone have some kind of writing utensil where you could pull the bottom color out and stick it in the top to change the color?! I'm pretty sure my girls will think they are awesome, and for $1 a piece, it's money well spent. Easy entertainment. I also got these 6 color pens, because again...nostalgia. 
I am putting a journal in each  of the girls' backpacks so they can doodle or put stickers on the pages, etc.
I'll also pack them a color or two of play doh. It's so easy, small, and fun for them to just do on the airplane tray. 
I told both girls they can each pick a "read aloud" book and whichever parent they sit by will read it to them during one of the flights. My guess is that they'll each pick out a Mercy Watson book from our set, but we will see! They might surprise me. That should take up a decent chunk of a flight.
I also got them each 2 new books for the trip. I love the Step Into Reading books because they are inexpensive, small/lightweight, easy to find, and they are always coming out with new stories of favorite characters. The girls love always having new books for trips. 
The girls each have a Kindle Fire tablet. These are fairly small, so pretty lightweight. We are planning to load some new learning apps, games, books, and download some shows from Netflix (LOVE that you can do that now!) to the tablets before we go, so everything on it will be new and exciting for them.  They also have these cases (which make them really easy to hold!) and these headphones. Love both. 

I'll pack them both an empty water bottle to go through security, and fill it up with water from the drink service on the plane (we have these, which will keep their drinks nice and cold all day!) And a few snacks. Our departing flight leaves super early in the morning, so we will probably eat breakfast on our layover, but the next flight is a little long so they will probably get hungry during it. Plus, snacks keep kids busy. 
Puzzles are lightweight and easy to pack. The dollar tree always has TONS of puzzles in just about every character you could want. I'll probably pack one or two for each girl to do on their tray table. I just throw all the pieces into a ziploc bag and voila! 
I am also packing a couple of card games to kill some time on layovers.
I got them each a little hand sanitizer holder for their bags so we can hopefully ward off germs in the airports and airplanes. 
It was a little bit of a challenge trying to come up with enough lightweight things that will keep them busy for about 5-6 hours on the airplanes each way, but hopefully this will be plenty for them to do! 
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