All in One Bag

Eliza Clark
July 14, 2011

Summer turns many families into nomads. The kids must be taken around to see their grandparents and cousins and out-of-town friends, and it's all good fun. And then perhaps there's a week at a vacation rental, or a relative's beach house. Isn't summer grand? Except for all the packing, that is. We've gotten pretty good at putting together kid amusements for the actual travel time: you can find our Savvy Travel Picks here. But what about once you get there? Space for luggage is tight, so if you've got just one bag for toys, what will you put in it?

I consulted with the experts (my seven- and four-year-old daughters), and here's what we came up with:

  1. A favorite doll or stuffed animal for each child. Gotta have a best friend on the road.
  2. Books. The girls suggested Richard Scarry, Shel Silverstein, Yertle the Turtle, Stuart Little and a few mystery series we're working through.
  3. Assorted markers, crayons, pencils and plenty of loose paper as well as a journal. They can't live without drawing.
  4. They also requested Polly Pockets, and since these are indeed small enough to fit in a pocket, I assented. Indeed, some genre of pretend play characters seems like a good choice. A boy I knew growing up used to visit us every summer and always brought his action figure collection.  I'll never forget how much fun we had playing with them in the woods.
  5. If your kids have their own camera, then by all means toss that in the bag.
  6. A jump rope takes up no space at all and provides tons of fun and exercise. (Best way ever for kids to kill time waiting at an airport!)
  7. Ball fanatics should not be deprived just because you're on the road. Whether it's a soccer ball, softball or even a Frisbee, bring along something the kids can toss or kick around.
  8. A deck of cards. It's the old standby, and it's never failed yet. The youngest ones can play Go Fish. War and Memory are next. Parents can borrow the deck for a little Gin Rummy. What's summer without a deck of cards?

So this bag is starting to bulge, and it's getting kinda heavy.  I think we have enough for now. And what about you and your kids? What will you pack in your bag of tricks?

From the Parents

  • Parent # 1

    I keep mini MagnaDoodles (no paper or crayon mess) for the car ride and a tube of glow in the dark bracelets that I got for a dollar at Michael's to ward off the "Gotta Have It's" when going to an evening outdoor concert or fireworks and there are light up toy vendors.

    over a year ago


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