Quiet Travel Kit for Kids

I decided a few weeks ago that since I was already overdue on Maggie’s birthday post, I should just go ahead and wait until after our mother-daughter trip to…Paris! Yes, thanks to good flight deals and Hotel.com points we were able to make Maggie’s dream trip come true: three days in the City of Light with just Mom, no sister, and as much time to run me ragged as she wanted. (At 30 weeks pregnant, it was a short run for me to get from OK to ragged, but I put on my game face and she never knew otherwise.) I will write about that trip in the context of the birthday post, but for now I wanted to share this little travel kit with you all.

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Quiet Travel Kit!

Bringing the iPad was key, not only because I needed it to check maps and things at the hotel, but I knew there would be some occasional down time that required a little mindless tuning out with the Doc McStuffins game app. That’s fine; a little mindless zoning out now and then is healthy. For other times, like at cafes or when she wasn’t feeling the iPad, I wanted to bring a few items that encouraged creativity or conversation, that wouldn’t disrupt other people, that wouldn’t take up much space, and I didn’t feel like spending money on new and novel items.

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Obviously, we had to bring paper and coloring materials. I happened to have a 5″x7″ Crayola drawing pad around the house, but if I hadn’t I would have cut regular paper into quarters and used a tiny binder clip to keep them organized. I prefer Crayola Twistables Colored Pencils for travel. They sharpen without mess, and don’t have the control problems of crayons or the ink bleed of markers.

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The pink pouch contains the Made By Joel Paper City Paris set! There are two sizes, so obviously we got the Travel Size. There are numerous other free scenes and printables, so you could get one to suit any taste. I printed it on photo paper so it would be more sturdy and tucked it into a pencil case we had around.

The Rory’s Story Cubes don’t exactly meet the criteria for not being disruptive–dropping the cubes got a little loud–but if you had a cloth napkin to blunt the sound at dinner it would be OK. These stimulate some fascinating story ideas and conversations! We’ve had them for years but they aren’t very expensive.

And finally…what’s in the Lego box?

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An Altoid Lego scene!! We got the idea from this Mommo Design post (so many fab ideas I want to make for future trips!), and Maggie helped me create a scene that fit our trip: the Parisian Park Picnic. I made the rule that we could only use pieces that were replaceable on Pick-A-Brick or of which we had multiples, like the two mini-figures she included. Nothing unique or set-specific that was essential to some building or couldn’t be replaced. I suggest using Krazy Glue (THE KRAGLE!!) to adhere the plates to the top. Hot glue was OK but one came off after yanking off a stubborn piece.

Best of all…everything fit into a Dollar Store pencil pouch I’ve had since God wore short pants. 30-week-pregnant belly included for scale.

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And that’s it!! It was truly all Maggie needed to stay happy on the plane, in cafes, and to decompress at the hotel. She ended up only using the iPad twice–on the train back from Versailles when *I* was too tapped for conversation, and waiting for our delayed plane leaving France (ditto). The iPad was truly more for me than for her (introverted Mom needs quiet Kindle time, dude). Hope this is useful for some of you!