DIY Toddler Toy

I recently came back from a four day California coastal cruise with my husband, son, daughter-in-law, their two children(ages 3 and 18 months), and her parents. We were flying to the cruise port and I wanted to make something for my eighteen month old grandson to play with on the plane, and also while we were on the cruise ship.

I went to our local Dollar Tree to see what I could make. I came across two small clear plastic containers with lids that can pop up. These were small enough that we could pack it in the carry on bag. While I was at the Dollar Tree I was looking to see what he could put in it that wasn’t too small.

I came across some plastic fruit that is used to freeze and put in drinks. This was a great size and it fit in the conatainer. I also had some other things at home that he could drop in it – plastic bottle lids and the colorful plastic lids from fruit pouches. I brought five of each and put them in ziploc bags. I also put a piece of felt in the bottom of one of the containers so it won’t be too loud when he drops things in it. Normally I wouldn’t mind it being loud, but since we were on an airplane I wanted to be considerate of others.

In the other conatainer, I put some colorful and silky material in it, that he can pull out. He liked that but I think he had more fun with the container that he could dump out and fill again. His three year old sister liked playing with it also.

Plastic jars and fruit from the Dollar Tree.

Plastic jars and fruit from the Dollar Tree.

DIY Toddler Toy

DIY Toddler Toy

E dumping plastic fruit.

E dumping plastic fruit.

E putting plastic fruit in container.

E putting plastic fruit in container.

Traveling With Children By Car

With summer here, many families are taking vacations, even if they are only short day trips.  Here are some things parents and children can do to help their traveling time be more pleasant.

When traveling by car:

1.  Take along toys that teach and inspire quietly.  Before your trip, take all the toys you plan on bringing into a small confined space (a bathroom is good).  Play with each toy as you picture your children playing with them.  Ask yourself if they will throw this toy, will the other children fight over it, will it cause yelling or crying?  If you answered yes to any of these questions, keep these toys at home.

2.  A variety of CD’s, books, and movies.

3.  Jumbo wooden beads, flash cards, and stickers are good to take along.

4.  Magnetic board games or make one with an inexpensive cookie sheet and a variety of magnets.

5.  Take toys that are “self-contained” and travel easily.

6.  Paper, crayons, markers – You know your child best, this may not be appropriate for all children to do in a car. **If bringing crayons, please make sure they are put away where they won’t melt.  The crayons that are left lying on the seat will melt and ruin the car seat.

7.  Small flannel board and felt pieces.

8.  The children can make a travel diary of their trip. For younger children they can draw pictures and the older child can write about it.

9.  For older children play word games – give your child a long word such as management and have them list all the smaller words that they can make using the letters in that word.

10. Also, for older children – save Trivial Pursuit cards and bring along and you can question each other.

11. Healthy snacks and water.

12.  Stuffed animals, dolls, or puppets.

13. For long distant car trips (we moved and drove from Massachusetts to California) have a small map of the USA and see if you can find a license plate from each state.

14. Quiet Activity Books – These are books that you can purchase or make which usually has several things your child can do – lacing, buttoning, matching, zippering, snapping, and buckling.  These blogs have some great ideas for quiet books:,, and