In a complete exercise of self-torture, my husband and I have been in the process of moving from France to Italy for the last four months. Yes, four months! (It's an issue of getting residence visas and apartments set up, etc.) In the meantime I've only been able to entertain Love Bug with what I could carry in our five suitcases and three carry-ons. Here are some great tips for surviving trips of any length with a baby. Or just ideas if you want some new playthings and don't want to spend a lot of money. Most things I just made and left behind as our suitcase got packed again.
- We made different noise makers. I let a few water bottles dry out really well and added things from the kitchen to make noise- rice, cereal, pasta. Rice so far is her favorite and she still carries this particular bottle around.
- I also filled some bottles with water and either added food coloring or fun objects. One person we were staying with had glitter, and that was entertaining for hours.
- Love Bug loves paper, but she often chews it and swallows pieces, which I don't like. But after she got a hold of a few Christmas photo cards, I noticed that she just liked to carry them around and look at them. She didn't chew them and probably couldn't tear off any pieces if she tried. So, try some pictures that you don't care about or photo paper that printed incorrectly.
- I filled one of these small CD cases with some of her favorite music. Most of our rental cars had CD players and they were great entertainment in people's homes as well. We don't plan to let her watch TV until she's a bit older, but you could also fill it with DVDs as well.
- Babies around Love Bug's age (turning one year) love to put things in containers and take them out. Since her favorite blocks set was way too big to put in a suitcase, we made our own. Using a bowl or a tin with a lid, we added small jewelry boxes, empty spools of thread, and other small objects (obviously make sure they are too big to fit through an empty paper towel roll, to prevent choking).
- During our stay in a hotel room, a favorite thing was to let Love Bug jump on the bed, holding onto my hands. She loved it and since it was a "special treat at the hotel" she's never tried it again, and my back thanks her for it.
- We went to the mall a few times just to play in the play areas and watch people. The socialization and entertainment was worth it, and being breastfed, the colds she got were minimal.
- If you don't have Internet on your trip, search beforehand for things to do in the area. We found lots Christmas light displays since it was the holidays, but we also saw lots of year round activities. Also search for playgrounds in the area or ask your family. Most of the time they'll have a baby swing or two for you to use... and of course they can run around and get your assistance in going down the slide.
Wants some other great ideas? Visit Works-for-me-Wednesday, hosted by Shannon at Rocks in my Dryer.