In the months leading up to our last adoption trip, I spent a lot of time worrying and preparing for travel with a 2 year old. Ruby Mei had only been in our family for 1 year by the time we left for her new brother and she had yet to spend even 5 minutes without Mama or Baba. There was just no way we could not bring her with us unless one of us stayed home too. We decided that we were not comfortable with this option. In hindsight it was the smartest decision we could have made because our new son's transition in China was very difficult and I can't even imagine not having both of us there. But...I digress. :)
I thought I would put together a blog post including all the things we packed for Ruby and also for Junyu in China and on the flight back. Most everything can be bought on Amazon which I LOVE because Amazon means I don't have to drive around town trying to find stuff and wasting precious time. I provided links to the ones that are. I hope some of this helps!
And if you are wondering how the flights and trip turned out for Ruby- it was just fine! All that worry beforehand for nothing. Sure, if I had my choice I would not sign up to fly for a zillion hours cramped on an airplane with the busiest toddler in the planet. But it wasn't nearly as hard as I thought it would be. She ended up sleeping for a large portion of each leg and played pretty nicely the rest of the time. We had the 3 big kids with us too so they helped entertain her a little bit. Mostly it was Mama and Baba though. She did have a couple crying episodes but they were fast and she was just uncomfortable, cranky and tired. She just did what we all felt like doing- ha!
Pencil Pouches- Asst. Colors
I purchased this set and then made them into a book of sorts with binder rings. Each pouch contained a different activity. I will list the contents below.
Attach these together with binder rings.
1. One of them had a bunch of stickers that I had bought at Walmart for about a buck a book- they are in the party supply section I think. I can't find a picture of them online. You could always just grab a bunch of random stickers you have around the house too. I got puppies and kittens, Veggie Tales, and Sesame Street.
2. The next pouch contained these:
Jumbo Colored Craft Sticks -I attached velcro circles at the ends of these sticks and then we built different shapes with them on the plane.velcro circles
3. A pill box with 21 compartments.
I bought this exact pill organizer at the dollar store. There are some on Amazon though for a bit more money. Inside each compartment I put a tiny item that the big kids and I gathered from around the house. Some examples include: a button, a jingle bell, Pet Shop Teensies, Safari Minis, ect. There are so many possibilities. We would take out each item, one at a time and talk about what it was, the sound it makes, play hide and seek with it, pretend play... because there were 21 different objects it kept Ruby busy for quite awhile.
Painter's Tape Believe you me... this can keep little ones occupied for a long time. What kids don't like tape? You can also bring little "guys" (animals, figurines, ect) to tape to the seats and trays in silly situations, you can make sculptures, designs, balls, tape things together, on and on.
mini photo album (we grabbed one at Target and filled it with pictures of our family members(including lots of Ruby!) She had a blast looking at everyone and we talked about what was happening in the pictures.
Melissa and Doug safety scissors (Ruby was only 2 and hadn't used regular scissors yet so I brought these- plus I'm pretty sure you can't bring real scissors on an airplane now that I think of it!)
Crayola Triangular Crayons Why triangles? They don't roll off airplane trays. Enough said. :) We threw in a small coloring book and a small tablet of plain white paper with these.
In a separate travel cube I brought some extra items. I knew 2 year olds have a very short attention span so I wasn't taking any chances. Our flight to Chengdu from San Francisco was 14 hours people. Not cool.
Here is what I put in my back up stash:
EcoKids play-dough -we just brought one of these little containers. Of course you can make your own or just bring regular old Play-do brand. We had 2 of these from a sample box we got in the mail so that's what I used.Melissa and Doug play-dough tools (we didn't bring these but it would be neat to bring a couple of them to use with the play dough... we just made freestyle shapes). You can also use utensils from the airplane meals.
The Melissa and Doug Water Wow Books These are awesome. They come with a little pen that you fill with water and the images appear once wet. After the pages dry you can do it again!
The Melissa and Doug Splash Cards- Alphabet Same concept as above but these are cards that come with a ring. There are number ones also.
Toy airplane. They make these for all the major airlines. I chose United because that is what we were flying. Ruby thought this was pretty cool and played with it a lot on the plane- and loved showing it to everyone around us. They all thought it was pretty cool too. I wish I had bought 2 of these because our new 6 year old loved it too on the way home and they both wanted to hold it at the same time. It still is a favorite 6 months later at home... they talk about how that plane took us to China and home. :)
Mini music box- Ruby loved this. It comes in many different tunes. I got ours at a local teacher materials store but they have them on Amazon.
A Quiet Book/Busy Book This seller on Etsy has many pages and activities to choose from. And boy, are they adorable. Kids LOVE quiet books. I have so many memories of playing with mine when I was a little girl. I have been working on making Ruby more pages myself but when getting ready for an upcoming adoption trip, it is nice to have the option of just buying them already completed. Time is precious at that point and the months and weeks leading up to the trip go by SO FAST!!
SO Awesome Wallet Cards- you guys... these are truly awesome. There are many options and bundles you can choose from. One of Ruby's favorite pastime is emptying my wallet and looking through everything. When I saw these on IG one day I knew they would be perfect for travel with her. I found one of my old wallets and bought a bundle set of cards along with some money, ect. I packed the wallet full of the cards and accessories. This was a big hit. The quality of these cards are wonderful and they come with the ring to keep them together if you want to go that route. Go check out their site- you will love it!
Kids Headphones Ruby didn't use much technology on the plane but she did watch a few Veggie Tales and Sesame Street videos here and there. These were nice because it comes with a removable piece at the top to help fit little heads. Junyu used them on the trip home as well.
Wind up toys. We already had some but they carry them on Amazon and various toy shops.
OTHER RANDOM THINGS WE BROUGHT ON THE TRIP:
Melissa and Doug Reusable Sticker Pad (these are kind of large so I packed them in a suitcase to use in China during down times in the hotel).
Melissa and Doug Make a Face - so fun!
At the Airport Sticker Book Our new 6 year old son was in love with airplanes. And stickers. He really enjoyed playing with this.
Magnetic Fun These come in many themes. I bought this one for our son and he liked it a lot. He still brings it on long car rides.
Glow sticks. Always a kid favorite. We played around with these on the plane when it was dark and also in the hotel at night with our new guy. They all loved them. Target usually has glow sticks in their dollar spot.
Light up ball. These are a lot of fun in the hotel at night- or anywhere really!
Inflatable Globe. We packed this and played with it in China. It was nice because it packed flat and we could also show the kids where we were and where we were traveling to.
Tattoos. These come in about a million themes and are really inexpensive. These were a HUGE hit with our new son and was a big help in bonding on our first day together. He wanted all 7 of us to put tattoos on and thought it was about the best thing he had ever seen. To this day he loves them.
bubble gun- we bought one there and it provided endless hours of fun and bonding time with our new son. Ruby really enjoyed it too.
Window Markers- we used these in our hotel room with our new son and Ruby- they really liked it!
Airplane Travel Harness - we didn't end up using this but we brought it. It would be great for kids that sit really nice in a car seat(and you aren't bring yours... which I'm pretty sure no one does) because then they will stay put.
Packing Cubes. This trip we bought a set of these for each family member. That was 7 sets(in 7 different colors). They literally changed. our. life. I cannot recommend them enough for so many reasons. It made it so easy to spot where everyone's belongings were right away. As soon as we got to our new hotel we opened up the suitcases and each person grabbed their 3 cubes and brought them to their room. We kept everything right where it was supposed to be this way. I purchased some extra cubes from TJ Max and Marshalls to pack our meds, snacks, ect. in. Nothing was floating around in the suitcases- everything had a home. It was so easy to find everything and the suitcases were always neat and tidy. Yes they were expensive since I had to buy 7 sets but we didn't regret the purchase for one second. And they will be used on trips the rest of our life. :)