Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Fun Bag (a.k.a. The Busy Bag)

Little ones and us just returned from a family vacation to New Zealand. It was certainly one awesome holiday for the whole family!

The flight took about 14 hours including transit, and as we planned to explore both North and South Islands on a rented car, long traveling was expected since most cities we plotted on the itinerary are quite some distance away. I knew if I want to avoid having cranky babies during the trip I had to be prepared for the long traveling, either flight, train, ferry or road trip.

I began by loading our iPad loaded with children friendly movies, that will be the ultimate fall back when everything else fails. Then I prepared a Fun Bag, or commonly known as Busy Bag, with loads of activities to keep the duo busy. 

The Fun Bag

It's a simple A5 clear zipped pouch that you can find from any stationery shop, can just chuck them into the luggage or store into the back pocket of the car seat.

The Fun Bag is consist of individual ziplock bags filled with different games, such as below:

From top to bottom, left to right:

1. Puzzles. Simple puzzles with 6 - 24 pieces, best for restaurant stop or bedtime.

2. Magnetic Fishing game. I got this set from Daiso, the RM5 store. It is super addictive for kids!

3. 4-in-1 color pen with notepad, some how most kids love to switch colors to watch the movement (doesn't we adult love doing that sometimes too?). You can get this from any stationery shop.

4. Doodling with stencil & coloring templates. I just brought along a small notebook and let the duo mess around on the book for all they want.

5. Travel Bingo cards. This is the best game for car ride. I got this some times back, but you can still find it in some toy shop like Toy 'R Us. Look for Melissa and Doug.

6. Paper Cutting book with blunt tip scissors. Offer some varieties of activities to keep them interested.

7. Sticker books. My girl (who was only 20 months then) had fun entertaining herself with all the stickers. Get a good quality one where they can stick & remove multiple times.

8. Short Story books. While travelling, we still insist on bedtime story book. So this is a must in our luggage. Just get shortest possible stories or the thinnest book possible. ;)

This is one of the sticker books. Can be removed and re-stick on multiple times (I got this from Daiso at RM5 each book).

The paper cutting was a fun challenge for my little 4 year old. I got a small tube of glue so he can glue his paper cut onto a notebook.

Note: Not recommended for children under 4 years old and at any time, supervision from adult is a must when using scissors.

This Fun Bag had successfully kept my duo entertained during our trip, be it during the long flight, boring wait at the airport, dining at the restaurants or winding down in hotel room. Everyday I just picked 2 different bags and kept them in my nappy bag wherever we go.  Rotating the games kept them interested.

On the other hand, I must admit the iPad was handy for the long road trip which took 3-5 hours. I designed a custom made iPad holder that can be easily strapped onto the driver or passenger head rest. It helped us to kept the duo quiet especially for the lengthy road trip. Although its just a prototype design, it's proven useful. *feeling proud*  

While driving in New Zealand was really scenic and enjoyable for the adults, it can be too tiring for the kiddos to remain seated for hours (unless of course you rent a caravan instead). 

Throughout the entire journey where we drove more than 1,500km, we had used the iPad in the car 3 times while most of the time we just sang songs, spot the objects with Travel Bingo cards or admired the views that we never had in our homeland. Old MacDonald and Marry Had A Little Lamb were sang so many times, and I'm sure you know why. *Statistically, New Zealand has more sheep than the human population..*

Before ending the post, below are some tips I would like to share when traveling with little ones:

• pick games that are light and best if doesn't take up too much storage space. You don't want to add on to your luggage weight.

avoid having SHARP OBJECTS or WOOD PRODUCTS as these may be prohibited in most airports. We brought along a blunt scissors for the paper cut and it passed all the security check after we explained it's usage.

• when having long road trip, try to have rest stop every 2-3 hours either for toilet break or to stretch the legs. It can bring unexpected fun too, for example we pulled aside by a stream to play throwing stones, picking pine cones in the woods, enjoyed a cup of warm drink at an antique cafe and had a brief picnic by the chilling seaside. These were all new experience for us and the little ones and for my elder who was 4yo then, I'm sure some of these memories will last for a long long time. 

• apart from the Fun Bag, I let the duo carried a small pouch each containing their snacks and our NAME CARDS with contact numbers (in event of emergency contact). Each day I just replenish with new snacks bought from the local stores so they can feed themselves whenever hungry or bored. 

Well, that's all folks. What I have above are just some reference, do change according to your little ones' preference. A visit to the stationery shop or toy store may gives you some ideas too.

I hope you find this post helpful and feel free to share your feedback or idea, I would love to hear from you!

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  1. Hi,
    May I know where to get the sticker book?
    Thank you

    1. I got these sticker books from daiso, pretty good quality.

    2. Thanks. Will visit Daiso soon.

  2. how about item 2,3,5 & 6? where to find?

  3. All items except the Bingo cards are sourced from book store,
    Daiso (RM5 store) or toy store. The Travel
    bingo is a complete set with wooden frames,
    I took out the cards for light traveling. You may be able to find that in mothersCare.