Continuing with our series of “Play is the work of childhood” we wanted to suggest items that you can carry in your bag to help your child Play on the GO. Now we know your purse/diaper bag already weighs 10 lbs, easily, so all of our suggestions our light weight so that we don’t cause any more back pain/strain than you already have 🙂
1. Crayons…the old standby. I can’t remember a time when my mom hasn’t had crayons in her purse. Even today, because she is a grandmother of 7, she has a tin of crayons (and has learned not to leave them in the car b/c they melt). Coloring is a nice quiet activity that your kids can do almost anywhere. Have a pocket sized coloring book (or activity book for older children) and a sheet of stickers in your bag to entertain and keep your child quiet in the restaurant, in church or in the car.
2. Small can of Play-doh or Silly putty. What a great idea! I learned this from a friend…and it helps occupy my kids while we are waiting for our food at restaurants.
3. Small bottle of bubbles. Now I don’t recommend blowing bubbles in a public place like church or the restaurant. But most definitely while your outside waiting to be seated or in the car to calm a fussy traveler. Hold them up to the air conditioner and fill your car with a visual wonderland for your child or baby!
4. Small toys for girls and boys. Matchbox cars and Polly Pockets fit easily inside your bag and meet our weight requirements 🙂
5. For older children, plastic beads. The kids can make a necklace or bracelet when they have some down time.
6. Ball and Jacks…remember this game? It’s great for eye-hand coordination.
7. A small ball…some many options! Roll it back and forth or play catch with an older child. Hide and seek with the ball can be fun or Simon Says type games..”Put the ball on your head!” If you have more than one play hot potato!
8. A huge magnet can pass the time anywhere and teach basic science concepts…what can we find that it will stick too??
9. Two copies of matching pictures that you cut out of a book and photocopy or print two copies from a computer for matching and “same different” games. Use a baggie or envelope for easy storage.
10. Keep a few balloons (not blown up yet) in the zipper part of your bag. While waiting in line or in traffic, children will love to bat these around!
I also carry a plastic baggie in my purse filled with flexible straws (they don’t have bendy straws at every restaurant, and they prevent spills), child-sized plastic spoon/fork (so that they kids can better feed themselves in restaurants), potty seat covers (not every public restroom provides them), disposable bibs and of course wet wipes.
We hope these tips help your child play while you are “out and about” and help you feel less frustrated when trying to keep them occupied and quiet!