Have a busy, constantly moving ping-pong ball.. I mean… toddler on your hands? Do they make you second guess any and all outings with them because of their constant, and I mean CONSTANT, busy behavior? Don’t! They are kids. They will scream, they will cry, they will keep you on your toes. With that said however, you cannot let them keep you indoors and hiding until they morph into more socially acceptable tiny human beings; and if you are SO worried about how they will behave, schedule a babysitter. Do not view having someone else care for your child as pawning them off on an unsuspecting adult, but more as peace of mind for you AND them. It will make your outing more enjoyable and relaxing, and it will allow your child the time to decompress and exert their bottomless energy in perhaps a more appropriate place. Of course there will be times you can’t get someone to watch your children, and that is when you pack and plan as if you are going on a trip to the moon.
First, think of your child. What types of things do they like to do normally that are portable and can fit in a diaper or over the shoulder bag? Can they spend HOURS looking at books? Or do they have the attention span of a gnat and will need multiple things to occupy their minds?
Next, think of where you are going and how long you will be gone. We like to time our outings with our LO around nap and snack times. A lot of times, she will eat a cheese stick en route to our destination so that she isn’t breaking into my stash of snacks as soon as we arrive.
Finally, bring more than you think you’ll need. Perhaps your outing takes on a spontaneous twist and you end up being gone longer than anticipated. Maybe you hit a major traffic jam on your way home. Whatever the reason, trust me when I say that more is better.
Whenever we go out, we like to pack a variety of the following items.
- Munckin Snack Catcher / 2 pack $4.50 / Target – Great for tiny little hands and to help teach self-feeding.
- Plum Organics Mighty 4 snack pouch / $1.79 each / Target – H LOVES these snacks. We love giving them to her because they do not require refrigeration (they do once they have been open however), and they give her a serving of fruits and veggies, as well as packed with vitamins and nutrients.
- First 100 Words by Roger Priddy / $3.99 / Barnes & Noble – These board books (as well as other small books) are great for travel and outings. They are small enough to tuck into my bag or keep in the car for on the road entertainment.
- Contigo Striker Kids Water Bottle 14 oz. / $24.87 / Amazon.com – I found a much cheaper version of this same bottle at Target awhile ago. Honestly, I was surprised when she was able to hold it all on her own. It has a lock to prevent leaking while transporting it, and is easy for little ones to sip from while you are out and about.
- Colorforms Brand Disney Princess On the Go Restickable Set / $4.99 / Amazon.com – We don’t have this same set, but did find similar at the Dollar Store. H LOVES sticking and resticking the stickers on the little board that they come with. Read: endless fun.
I also bring a little felt pouch that I found in the $1 section of Target filled with blank paper and crayons that I keep from restaurants we visit. In the car, I keep a small bag of small toys like a toy airplane, small inflatable ball, plastic “cell phone”, small tube of bubbles, extra pack of diapers and wipes, etc. By keeping these in the car, I can be assured that even if I forget to pack a bag, there is plenty in the car to keep her occupied.
What types of activities do you like to with your toddlers so that they are well taken care of on your family outings and other family activities?