Okay. So 23 hours of travel isn’t a delightful proposition for anyone. However, as an adult, there are a few things that get me through.
For a start, I understand the concept of time, and the end is in sight for me. I also know I am embarking on an incredible adventure- in this particular trip ahead of us, I know that we have our wonderful family waiting at the other side.
And the flight- well yeah it’s not totally appealing to sit still for a whole day of my life. But last time, I got through by bingeing on all the movies from the in flight entertainment, doing crosswords, reading a book, having strategically times snacks, and napping.
But travelling with a toddler…
That’s going to be different.
Now it’s not Izzy’s first time in a plane- she has done four flights… But the longest was still under three hours. We are talking thirteen, followed by a quick terminal change and a short chance to run around and stretch for two hours, followed by another 8. Not to mention then two hours in the car at the other end!
Well, this Mamma has been preparing.
I’m an over thinker. And a planner. But if there’s one thing life as a Mamma has taught me for sure, it’s that you can’t always plan. You can rarely plan. You can have an idea! But you can’t have a specific minute by minute itinerary!
I’ve been doing lots of reading and researching to compile a collection of activities that I feel best suit our family, and our daughter. And I’ve read some really bizzare, really amazing, really surprising, really interesting and really WOW things along the way.
I read one article via Pinterest (which has really been an amazing tool by the way!) that said it was essential to take one activity per fifteen minutes. For us, that would be 92 activities! Hahahahahaha. I totally get where the advice is coming from, little people don’t often focus on one particular activity for any extended period of time. But I think packing 92 activities might push us over on our luggage allowance for the cabin, and I’ll be honest it’s a little excessive.
Then there’s everyone telling us ‘but there’s movies’. Yeah we know that. But in our general day to day life, screen time is not something that is available to Isabella. It’s rare that she would watch any television. And yes- we are going to let her on the plane- for a little bit! But in small increments and only a few times- not for 23 hours! Despite the fact it might be a ‘secret weapon’, we don’t plan to throw all of our parenting principles out the window.
And no, despite how many times I’ve read it and amazingly how many people have suggested it, we are NOT going to drug her!
So what ARE we going to do then? Well. I’m glad you asked. With the help of Pintetest, Google, my creative Mamma mind and a few very helpful and insightful friends, I bring to you-
‘Isabella’s In Flight Entertainment’
1. Felt boards
I’ve made some felt boards! Now normally we only use high quality natural wool felt for our crafting- I must admit that on this occasion I have used the cheaper synthetic felt from spotlight. For two reasons. If it gets destroyed on the plane, then so be it. And I didn’t want to sacrifice my good felt for this project because my stash is running low!
I started out only intending to make one felt board. A plate, knife, fork and food collection. And then I thought, why not a garden too? And then I thought- why not just cut up some shapes to go on there too? Isabella helped me to make them and I can already see they are a huge hit! And the options are ongoing! I’ve kept our really basic and simply cut the felt freehand with my fabric scissors, mainly because I only started them yesterday and I am a little pressed for time. But with a few alterations seeing a few bits here and there these could go to the next level. I think I’ll do that when I get home!
2. Magnetic Fairy Play Board
We bought this one before our flight to Cairns- and have used it a few times when out for a meal. It is a hit! Isabella loves moving all the little fairies and creatures around their play space. We got ours from ‘Tall Poppy’ in Willunga.
3. Finger Puppets
These little gems were a Christmas present from my wonderful cousin for Miss Izzy. I bring them into our toy rotation from time to time and we always have so much fun creating stories with them. Though Isabella tends to laugh at me a lot- I will have to let you know whether the surrounding passengers are just as fond of my performances!
4. Popsicle stick stacker
Genius right? I saw this idea on Pinterest and thought- brilliant. It doesn’t take up much space, and it inspires creativity! I simply placed Velcro stickers on the paddle sticks so that they can be attached together in a variety of ways!
5. Colouring in
I feel like it goes without saying that we will take paper and crayons for the plane. Our Stockmar crayons will be perfect on the plane, because of their shape they won’t roll off the tray table! Amazing! We also got a little clipboard so that even if the tray table ends up in an awkward spot or we have to stow it away, the colouring can continue! And I found this cute mini colouring in book to take along as well.
6. Spinning top
We borrowed a spinning top from a friend for our flight to Cairns and Isabella just loved it! She had never seen one when we boarded and by the time we arrived at the other end she had the expert flick downpat. The other day I realised I had conveniently forgotten to return it, so I think we will sneak it across the world for a few weeks before we send it back home (sorry Ewa!) hehe.
Isabella loves stickers. She loves them. If I allowed her to run free with stickers, she would decorate the world with them. Every. Last. Centimetre. However- I’d like to think that we are a relatively environmentally conscious family, and stickers- well they aren’t so environmentally friendly. So we limit how much we use them generally. But on the plane- have ALL the stickers! Do you know how many different types of stickers you can get? It’s ridiculous. I took Isabella with me to pick out some. We got some great ones of animals and fairies and flowers. But I draw the line at ‘Cat Selfies’. In a sticker? I’m so confused.
I’ll be honest. I haven’t decided which books to take just yet. Isabella loves to read and she enjoys listening to the stories or simply exploring the pictures. But we can only take so many with us. Let’s not forget storytelling. I’ll be able to share stories with Isabella from memory, or make something up along the way, to help her transition to this new experience on the plane. So I will choose the physical books we take along with us wisely!
I WILL take a collection of short stories of Tip Tap the Gnome, The Very Cranky Bear and The Very Hungry Caterpillar, but hopefully I can squeeze in a few more titles!
Baby will be coming with us on this adventure. Nanna got her as a gift and Isabella would never leave her behind while she travels to the other side of the world! I imagine baby will need several nappy changes, some food and lots of wrapping and snuggles.
10. Magnetic fishing
What is there to say. A felt mat, things you find in the sea with magnets. LET ME JUST SAY- I am totally not in support of ACTUAL fishing (why you say? Well that’s for another blog post, another time) however I am in support of developing fine motor skills so we play with this. However I’m always reminding Isabella this is the only way we fish in our family.
One small boards and some fruit and veggies and a sunflower! So we can learn and play garden even though we are stuck in a plane! Miss loves to build towers so it’s a great way for her to keep her little hands busy.
12. Flash cards
These flash cards were a gift from a lovely friend for us to take on this trip. We haven’t used anything like this before. And we certainly aren’t planning to try and make Isabella memorise them! But what a versatile item to take. We can use them to inspire a story, talk about the animals and colours on the card, AND because they are brand new Isabella will be interested in what they are.
So there you have it.
One dozen ‘activities’ packed, with far more than a dozen opportunities for play and exploration.
I’ve packed the activities seperately within a brown paper bag, or in a canvas bag. The reason I have done this is so that when we open up the bag of activities, one can be removed at a time, without the obvious temptation of so much to choose from. This will also help stop Isabella from becoming too overwhelmed trying to choose what to do next next.
Three more sleeps!