When preparing for a long trip with kids, whether by car or airplane, there's always a moment of trepidation before leaving when you consider those long hours in transit and how your child will be possibly stay occupied, tear-and whine-free while on the go. It is always my instinct to go to the book or toy store and buy a travel kit or some other small toy. I find that the Klutz kits are always a hit and help pass the time nicely.
However, occasionally I stand there in the aisle and think to myself, "What happened to the books I got the last time?" And,"What's wrong with all the other toys and books my kids have stuffed into shelves that they barely look at?" And I realize that this exercise is really for me - to easy my anxiety about the trip with some consumer therapy.
So now I have a new routine before trips. Rather than heading to the bookstore, I go straight to the toy box or bookshelf. I dump the toy box upside down and dig out some small toys that my children haven't looked at in months - new to them! Pick some of the books of Super Silly Mad Libs Junior and Klutz books from some previous trip, and toss them in a small backpack. Et, Voila! A free travel kit filled with plenty of fun and games for the long haul.
And the truth is that the kids have just as much fun with this stuff as they would with new stuff. It just shows how much the needing to buy stuff for kids originates with the adults.