The thought of eight hours on a plane to Europe and then ten hours on the way back is enough to bore me to tears, so I was terrified as to how my toddler was going to react to a trip that long. But with a lot of preparation and some strategic seat placement on my part, I had nothing to fear.
So, what do you do with a toddler on a long trip? I asked my daughter what she would like to take with her on the airplane and she looked at me and said, â€œThe bear necessities, Mommy.â€ She has no idea what that means really and is only quoting one of her favorite books and movies right now, Jungle Book. I think we should probably take a little more than that so here is what I have packed:
- A portable dvd player (or video iPod) with her favorite movies. Obvious choice and the modern-day parentâ€™s lifesaver on long trips of the plane or car variety. We are packing this in our carry-on bag.
- A variety of familiar snacks and as much liquid as the FAA will allow us to bring on board. We packed extra snacks in our checked baggage just in case it takes us a bit of time to find food she will eat in Europe.
- Shrek coloring book and sticker book.
- An empty notebook with a Disney princess cover. Yes, everything is a lot more entertaining with a princess on it.
- Coloring page printouts from the internet. I Googled â€œfree Disney coloring pagesâ€ and turned up a ton of sites that offered free pages to print. She can color the images and then flip the paper over to do her stamping on the back.
- Assorted stamps with ink pads. I have never let her use stamps before so this will be a nice novelty for her.
- Crayons and washable markers. The markers have attached flip-top lids to prevent the inevitable losing of the top underneath the other seats. They now make triangular shaped crayons so they won’t roll off tables, too. I would definitely get those!
- Disney princess dolls with clothes and characters. These are small dolls that have rubbery clothes galore. I bought her all the princesses I could find. They either come in the large set that includes additional characters or just the doll with a couple of outfits. This will be a brand new toy for her once we are on the plane. She will love them and Mommy will have great fun tracking down all of those tiny little shoes! I was at least halfway smart and put the small shoes in a mini-Ziploc (with Princesses on the front) and the added characters in another one. I then used a large pencil bag to hold all the dolls, clothes and accessories.
- A Tinkerbell necklace-making kit. Itâ€™s basically an excuse to use a glue stick and there are lots of foam pieces and sparkles. That plane will never be the same!
- Yes, Play-Doh is messy but will entertain her for quite some time. We donâ€™t usually let her play with this at home and I will have to hide it once we arrive at our hosts’ home in Europe, but it will be great for the plane ride.
- Packs of cards, Sesame Street Uno, and Dr. Seuss Go Fish. She doesnâ€™t know how to play the games but she had fun on the way to Disneyland playing with a deck of Mickey cards, so I’m sure these will be fun for her.
- Ratatouille booklet. We just saw the movie and it is one of those books with the invisible ink treatment that is so fun.
- Velvet picture of Tinkerbell.
- Lollipops. These are great to give as the plane takes off and lands to help with the pressure changes.
- Pacifier. We decided we would be fools to try and break her of this habit before we went on the trip.
I stuffed all of this into her new L.L. Bean backpack that has her initials on it. These backpacks hold up really well so I am hoping she will get a lot of use out of hers for trips and for going to visit relatives.
One final note: I dressed her in a nightgown that looked like a knit dress. I found it at Land’s End so she was comfortable the entire trip and still looked dressed when we arrived!