Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Flying with Kids: The Backpack

We got to talk to our two little Ugandan boys via face time this morning. I use the word "talk" very loosely since we talked with the leader of the orphanage while they started at us and occasionally gave us half grins. But it was wonderful and excruciating and amazing and terrible all at the same time. It took me several hours to catch my breath from the whole thing, and I don't think the ache is going to leave until we get there and hold them in our arms.
So the process of getting there is very much on my mind pretty much ALL THE TIME. I am studying up on every facet of travel, plane flights, Uganda, adoption, etc. etc. etc. and duly recording everything on my Notability App on the iPad. My hobby these past few days has been planning for the air flight with three kids going and five kids coming back.
I have read blogs and articles and looked at pictures and shopped and I'm going to share with you what I've found, because who knows? You might want to pick up and take all of your children on a 20 hour plane ride someday! And it will be wonderful! And you can come back right here and check out what we were going to bring (and probably by then you can check out our after story of what actually got used and that will be even more useful!)
I'm not exactly sure what backpacks we will take on the plane--I didn't get the kids new ones for school this year, so that may be something we need to purchase before we go. I love the quality and the price of this Discovery Backpack from LL Bean, though their generic school backpack is nice too.
Find it HERE
$39.95
(Though, wow! $40 x 5!)

So now for the INSIDES. This is where it really gets interesting!
Of course the kids will have the ability to use the iPad and the Kindle Fire, though the hubby and I will be transporting those in our carry-ons. And I have heard that most flights have individual screens now with loads of choices for movies and shows. So the screen-time part of our trip is already taken care of. I am of course hoping that the kids will, at some point, sleep. So to help encourage them in this pursuit, each child will have a neck pillow, an eye mask and ear plugs.
1. 
$3.99

2. 
$1.75
I have discovered that kids and adults can often become dehydrated during plane travel and if there's one thing we DON'T need during our travel, it's another reason to feel fatigued and lethargic! So, I bought each child one of these water bottles and we will have the stewardess fill them with water when we can.
3. 
FIND THEM HERE
Amazon's Price: $31.99 (for three)
We got them at Costco for $17.99 (for three).
Somewhere I read something about how dark the plane could be when it's time to sleep and how kiddos don't necessarily sleep during this time. So I plan to make sure that each kid has a fun flashlight that will somehow magically keep them quiet while their plane neighbors are trying to sleep. I can dream, right?
4.
Find these HERE
These glow in the dark, which I think is very fun.
$7.69 for 2
I mentioned that the kids will have Kindle and iPad available. If, perchance, they all agreed on a movie or show to watch, I'm going to purchase this little device (plus, while we're waiting for 6 hours to see the Ugandan judge, this will be a marvel to keep them all quiet together.)
5.
Find it HERE
(It's a headphone splitter.) $12.07
And I think the little ones will be much more comfy wearing these headphones. (Notice that they are incredibly cheap: I don't expect them to last forever, and I don't want to be the lease bit worried if they get left behind somewhere.)

6.
Find them HERE
$3.76
Now for the TOYS! 
Some of these ideas are from those many blog posts and articles I read and some of them are spin-offs of those ideas:
I love the idea of being a little outside the box with what we bring to play with. So why not bring a block of this modeling clay? It might get played with on the plane and it'll be great to keep little hands busy during our weeks in Uganda.
7. 
You can buy this Modeling Clay in this 3.3 pound box for $23.99. The mom who suggested this says that she just grabs another square of individually-wrapped clay before she heads out the door. I think this is awesome! 
Along those same lines, I think Wiki Stix would be another fun and relatively painless plane activity.
8. 
A 48 piece box is $7.00 or I could MAKE MY OWN.
This next one is my most exciting find yet. I spent a lot of time looking at those cling and magnetic activity type books where you use the magnets to decorate a scene or dress a doll. My kids have had those before and they just don't keep them occupied. BUT one thing my kids will do play with is their pattern blocks.
(You can usually find one of these elaborate designs decorating the carpet in our family room.)
9. 
But for traveling, I found these Magnetic Foam Pattern Blocks. Yay! I'm hoping to find some very thin magnetic marker board for them to play with them on. Foam=not very heavy; Magnetic=able to play with in a car or plane. Hooray! 
$13.11 for 200 Pattern Blocks
10. and 11. Each kid will of course have crayons and/or colored pencils and/or skinny markers and a few little notebooks for the plane. I bought tiny spiral-bound notebooks and I think I will give them one for the trip there and one for the trip back.
12. And of course, you know our family! Each kid will have paper back books to read in their carry-on (including a Calvin and Hobbes that I've been saving for the boy to read on the plane.) The youngest will have a selection of BOB books that she can really read and some fun princess books to look at.
Maybe a book like this as well:
13.
FIND IT HERE
Don't worry about bulk or price! There's a Kindle Version for $6.12

It has pages like this:


14. Each kiddo will also have a bag of the ESSENTIAL gum, sucker or two, vitamin-C drops, craisins, granola bar, almonds, etc. I usually control when and how they get their snacks, so being able to have their own stash in their backpacks would be a big treat.
15. And we'll also each have one outfit and toothbrush and tooth paste just in case the checked bags get sent to another continent or something like that. (Just in case, right. That doesn't jinx us, does it?)
If you by chance think I am over thinking this plane trip with kids thing, you are probably right! But we also have 5 weeks in a guest house at the end of our flight. Any toys that don't get used on the plane will most definitely get played with while we are in Uganda. And there's always the trip back!
Happy Traveling!








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