Now that I have a two year old, gone are the days where I am able to go out for a meal or run errands sans toys. When she was really little, the simplest things would occupy her - the lights and people in the store, the buckle in the shopping cart, or a paper napkin at lunch. While she may still love playing with very simple things (leaves, straws, etc.) I can’t rely on those things to keep her fully occupied. Over the past few months I’ve made some changes as far as what I need in my ToteSavvy, specifically in the realm of entertaining my child. I’ve discovered a few things that I have found to be successful at keeping my daughter occupied and my sanity mostly intact.
I bought one of these for a 5 hour plane ride, hoping that it would keep my daughter occupied (and quiet). We do a lot of art at home, and telling her that she could do some painting really made her excited! I love how the water is self contained in the brush so that it won’t spill everywhere. The picture will appear when wet, and as it dries, it will fade away so it can be used again. She loved painting something and then pointing at it and saying what it was (A bee! A ladybug!).
Melissa and Doug also makes a Water Wow Alphabet Card set. This would be great for older kids! They use the same water pen to trace the letter. On the back, there are examples of words that start with that particular letter. It also comes with a clip, so you can hook on as many, or as few, letters as you like. As a former teacher, I love little ways to make learning fun.
Felt Quiet Books, Target ($3)
For whatever reason, I tend to only see felt books in the Dollar Spot during the summer. Maybe it’s because people are taking trips or need to occupy the kids who are home from school, but they really need to be stocked year round! You can find them elsewhere online, like Etsy, although they won’t be as cheap.
Felt books are great because they are silent. I love the imaginative aspect of these books. Children can do whatever they want with the toys, and they can act them out or fill in the pieces however they wish. It’s different every time, which I love. If you buy ones from Target, I do recommend opening it just to make sure the pages are sewn in properly. We got a book with a page upside down and it was a bummer. Although I have not personally purchased anything from here, I have been stalking this Etsy shop for years. I hope to have a felt board downstairs in our playroom, and one day I’ll be ordering a bunch of pieces for it.
We looooove us some animal figurines in our house! They’re so versatile. They’re so portable and you only need a couple to keep your child occupied. At the moment, a mommy leopard (who is scruffing her baby) and a tiger live in my purse. We bought our figurines at the local zoo, but they can be found online or at most toy stores.
Tegu blocks are so neat! They look like ordinary blocks, but they’re magnetic. This travel pouch is perfect to slip into your purse. Although my daughter can’t quite comprehend why or how the blocks stay together (or don’t, they are polarized!), she loves pulling them apart and putting them back together. Best of all, they all stick together in one larger (but still small) rectangle to go back into its pouch.
Window Clings, Target ($1)
Window clings are something I always pick up at the Dollar Spot at Target. They’re so great to have around. We used them on a plane trip over the summer and they were a h-u-g-e hit. Gel window clings do need to be monitored closely because they can stain certain surfaces, but in a confined space like an airplane, they’re great. You can find plastic ones at Michaels, and they are another fantastic option, too!
Sticker Books ($1)
We love stickers in our house! They can be used pretty much anywhere. I give them to my daughter when we’re in the car (she’s still rear facing, so she only puts the stickers on herself or her carseat. I will bring along a sheet or two if we go out to eat, and she can stick them on the kid’s menu. This is another great activity for the plane - just grab some paper and you’re good to go. I don’t like to spend a lot of money on stickers, so I typically buy them from the Dollar Tree, or Michael’s sometimes has them for $1. If your child is younger, peel off the background so your babe can have an easier time taking the stickers off.
I adore Wikki Stix because they're so versatile. Wikki Stix are bendable, waxy "sticks" that can be used flat or be made into freestanding objects. They come in a variety of colors and will easily unfold and flatten out to be packed away for next time. They're very space efficient and promote such creativity with kiddos - what's not to love?
Have you found any purse friendly toys for entertainment? What are your favorites?