MacDonalds to the rescue with Travel Games

So yes, my kids suckered me into Macdonalds this morning. Normally I avoid it like the plague because with two growing lads, I find it hoovers the money out of my wallet ensuring that they have had enough to eat. Ahhhh, those were the days when a Happy Meal actually made them feel full. The other thing that drives me crazy about MacDonalds is the kids rushing off to play on the playground, eating a few mouthfuls, rushing back to the playground and then as you are pulling out of the car park, complaining “I’m huuuuuuungry”. And yes, we are completely OVAH the junkie plastic toys.

Anyway, today was no different wallet wise but at least we got something useful in return – a travel edition of Trivial Pursuit for $1. How cool is that? Weighs 100g and in a smallish cardboard box of 13×13 cm.
trivial-pursuit
My one gripe about it would be that although it has the wedges for six players, it only has the wedge holders for two. If I’d realised earlier, I would have sprung for two of the games to get the extra pieces. And let’s face it – for $1, if they get bored with the game or loose the pieces while travelling, it’s not the end of the world (or la fin des haricots)

Apparently there are also travel editions of Guess Who and scoop-my-eyeballs-out-with-spoons-Monopoly. C’mon Maccas, what we really, really want is Carcassonne
or The Settlers of Catan
for $1.
macdonaldsgames

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Top Toys to take on Airplanes

Before I go any further, take a look at this totally lust-worthy tray organizer from Little Jet Set

Tray Bien In Flight Organizer
Tray Bien In Flight Organizer

Never mind the kids, I want one for me. As you have no doubt guessed from the name, Little Jet Set specialise in products for kids for travelling. They have a gorgeous range of luggage but also heaps of games and books, well worth checking out.

Now you might that that somebody like the Times would be a reliable source of information when it comes to keeping kids amused on a flight. In their article on travel toys the number one recommendation is, an in-car DVD player. Well, DUH. (Except I think an ipod is a whole lot more versatile.)

If you want thinking outside the box, Delicious Baby has some fantastic age based recommendations. They also have a this excellent article called “Ten Great Travel Toys You Already Own“. Now that is cooking with gas. 

The thing you have to take into consideration with travel toys (particularly for planes) is how bad is it going to be if bits fall on the floor? I’ve seen people advise against taking matchbox type cars because they can roll under seats. However, I think a matchbox car is fairly easy to retrieve  compared to a lot of the travel type games which have lots of very tiny pieces.  See like these games, [amtap amazon:asin=B000QRR9E2] and [amtap amazon:asin=B000P30NEK] which I just know I’m going to buy against my better judgement because I have seen the pictures of the tin can we are travelling in and the fear is with me. Playdough is another toy that some parents love and some parents feel is far too messy. The court is out on this count in our house.

The court is also out on this book [amtap amazon:asin=1591743680] The concept looks fantastic, but the reviews are mixed. If Cityhall can’t rip the tape by herself, it would be endless torment for the designated parent. (Cause y’all know scissors still can’t come through the Australian airports). And yes, I’m not entirely convinced about Wikki Stix either. I suspect they are a five minute wonder.

 

What I am definitely going to buy are some of the anti-coloring books.

The Anti Coloring Book
The Anti Coloring Book

Brilliantly CurrClick (bless you) have these as electronic downloads. This book is a similar thing [amtap amazon:asin=0811855090] Perhaps better for younger kids. The Applets each got a travel compendium for Christmas from Kathmandu that contains coloured pencils, marker pens and has spaces for postcards.  Mail Just For Me also have some great art travel sets like the Art Book to Go (very similar to the Kathmandu ones) as well as a whole range of great travel toys.

 

The other fabulous books we will be taking are from the Mad Libs series. Maybe [amtap amazon:asin=084313271X] or [amtap amazon:asin=0843126981] if we have finished our Shrek and Indiana Jones ones by then.

I’m thinking some kind of magnetic doll for Cityhall would be brilliant. Perhaps this one [amtap amazon:asin=B0018LB6TY]. Although the magnetic monsters are very cute and perhaps have broader appeal [amtap amazon:asin=B00092R6DS]

If we have any more room maybe we could squeeeeeeeeeze in a couple of these write and wipe books [amtap amazon:asin=1593955936] and [amtap amazon:asin=159395414X]And maybe a pack of the rubbernecker card games [amtap amazon:asin=0811855066] Which should of course be given to every family departing Melbourne Airport free of charge seeing as THERE IS NOTHING ELSE for them to do.

The one thing you must take

rubberchicken

No – my medications don’t need adjusting. Let me tell you how I have arrived at the conclusion that a rubber chicken is an essential item to take on an international trip even when only taking carry-on luggage.

Last night I was lying awake thinking about the logistics of travelling with kids on a long haul flight. While the two boys are happy enough to be plugged into the nearest gaming device for hours on end, Cityhall is not so docile. She still needs a good routine (well, lucked out on the parents there) and is quite energetic (again, bad luck on the parent front). Even her swiming teacher remarked on Cityhall’s ability to just keep going like the battery bunny.  [amtap amazon:asin=B001FBN1M2] What I realised, was we were going to have to put focused effort into making sure we got up and did some type of exercise or games during the flight. This is quite a challenge on a plane given that whatever we do will have to be quiet and in a confined space. 

So I’m making a list and checking it… obsessively. I’ve started going through some of my PE handbooks and games books. I came up with three types of activities – things to do at airports where we can have lots of movement and space (and probably a bit more noise), things to do on the plane if we can find a corner or space behind / in front of seats, and things to do on the plane that are very quiet and confined. With this I came up with a list of equipment to bring. This included rubber erasers, rubber bands, small empty boxes packed flat and an inflatable beach ball. My idea was that the inflatable beach ball could be used to play catch or four square or similar while we are in the airports. 

Then I discovered this book [amtap amazon:asin=0736063927] I actually found it at Groovy Games  where it comes bundled with a rubber chicken. (I think I found it looking for Wikki Stix in Australia – as recomended on travel with kids sites everywhere) [amtap amazon:asin=B00000J0H7] So I HAVE to have the Chicken Noodle Game book and the rubber chicken. They look hilarious. And I decided it was about 100,000 times more interesting to play catch with a rubber chicken at an airport than with a beachball. Plus I really want the security personnel to ask us why we are bringing a rubber chicken so that I can answer “for religious reasons”. And that’s when I realised that the most important thing you can bring on an adventure is your sense of humour. 

Go on, I know you want one too. [amtap amazon:asin=B0000BYQAO]