When you’re at a restaurant, in the car, or are on your way to the beach, do your kids drive you crazy when they’re fighting in the backseat or complaining about boredom every ten minutes?
I’ve got the perfect solution for you. I found several variations of “busy bags” on Pinterest, and I decided to create my own! My bags have adapted over the years to accommodate my kids and their changing tastes.
My Restaurant Bag contains:
* Paper that I keep in fun printed file folders
* Crayons that are neatly stored in a pencil case
* Coloring books
* Lacing boards that I keep in a large pencil case or utility bag
* Laminated road maps that we place in protective sleeves
* Matchbox cars that we store in a large pencil case or utility bag
* My Little Ponies
* Crayola Model Magic (similar to Play-Doh, but it doesn’t crumble as much!) that I store in plastic bags
* Laminated playdough mats that help with Model Magic clean up; you can store these in protective sleeves as well
* Stacking cups
* Colored pom-poms or colored popsicle sticks
When my kids were toddlers, I used to pack loads of board books, large Duplo blocks, finger puppets, Crayola dough, stacking cups, and Fisher-Price plastic animals.
For older kids, you can add Legos, playing cards, trivia questions, an Uno card game, books, Mad Libs, and maze books.
My Car bag contains everything from my restaurant bag, plus the following:
* Travel Bingo boards
* Small cupcake pans
* Magnetic alphabet letters
* An Etch-A-Sketch
* Superhero figurines (small items like this can be stored in an empty Wet Ones container)
* A clipboard with paper
* Small snack containers that are packed with dry cereal and pretzels
* Granola bars
* Sport bottles filled with water
* Books on CD from the local library
Looking for more fun ideas for those long-haul road rips? One time on a 10-hour trip to Myrtle Beach, we decided to buy baby links from the dollar store and connect them from one car hook to the other in the backseat. After every hour that passed, a superhero traveled from link to link! The kids really enjoyed it.
Once we arrive at the beach, we are prepared with a smaller version of our car bag, so we can keep things organized while we are out under the sun. This also helps to ensure that there are no meltdowns.
Taking a family of four to the beach is like a jigsaw puzzle! Everything needs to be organized, or else it will be covered in sand or forgotten.
My Beach Bag is a system of smaller bags that contain:
* My pocket tote which holds my cell phone, cash, my son’s EpiPen and inhalers, a sunscreen stick, baby powder, and a zinc stick for my son who fries in the sun.
* My large utility tote which holds hats, my long sleeve shirt, my kids’ extra rash guards, four beach towels, and my roll-up blanket.
* My large zipper pouch that holds my husband’s iPad and my Kindle.
* Another zipper pouch that’s filled with a small blank pad, small coloring books, mini markers, and a small My Little Pony. This pouch was added after we realized that the beach toys would not be enough to occupy my 3-year-old!
Staying organized, even on vacation, helps me keep my sanity. It also keeps my husband calm and collected, even when the ice cream man rings his bell and both kids start running towards the treats.
I hope I have inspired you to create your own “bags” for all of your big (and little) adventures. Have fun and safe travels this summer!
Before you head to the beach, Disney World, or a barbeque with the babies in tow, make sure to download my Diaper Bag Checklist, so you don’t miss a thing.
Annie Kilbride is the CEO of Life Simplified, LLC a professional organizing business. Visit www.lifesimplifiedpo.com for more information.