Travelling with a toddler, the Early Years

In Baby M's first 6 months of life she travelled from London to Greece, Australia, New Zealand and New York. She clocked up some serious hours snoozing 30,000 feet above ground, and we loved travelling with her. It was a breeze! We had the bulkhead seats, so whilst she slept for 8 hours, we had all the legroom we could hope for. We were boarded and disembarked first. And 9 times out of 10, were ushered through a "families" line in customs, so never had to wait in long queues. 

I wrote a post with tips to travelling with infants a year or so ago


, and thought I should update the status as to travelling with a toddler, the Early Years. Literally a whole new ball game!

From our recent trip to the US, the 7 hour flights between London to NY went as well as they could, and Baby M was happy as can be, she was just active, and even though she had her own seat, she wanted to explore. The trouble with being 14 months old is that you are too old to sit still and sleep all the time, but not yet old enough to be entertained by a DVD for two hours. And so we were walking up and down the aisles, playing with the faucet in the bathroom, eating snacks, playing peek-a-boo with anyone and everyone, listening to the headphones and reading books. Repeat that 40 times. We were fortunate enough to travel on the company dollar, so we had three seats in Premium Economy, and even then we found the trip exhausting.

And when we landed at JFK, I had the good sense to mention sensitively to my husband, that we wouldn't even be a THIRD of the way to Australia at that point.... nice going Meg, harmonious! 

So, after getting back to London a week ago, I am already getting the suitcases back out and preparing to lug ourselves back to Heathrow on Thursday morning, bound for Australia! Not for work, so two seats way at the back. For 30 hours.

To say I am feeling a little stressed is a giant


of the bleeding obvious

I've mentioned before that I'm a Stress Baker, but, as I am going to be a bridesmaid in 10 days, stress baking is not an option (note: when you are trying to lose weight, don't spend a month in New York and don't injure your back and make walking impossible for a week.... gahhh, hello spanx). So I have become a Stress Crafter this week! I have been making all sorts of things from wedding trinkets, baptismal celebrations (we are baptising Baby M the day after we land, great idea right?), and then I thought I would make a few toys for the plane to occupy our little Curious George. 

Whilst battling my own jetlag and laying wide-eyed at 1am each night I've had plenty of time to plan this next trip. I wanted to make some toys that we could take onboard that are a bit different, lightweight, and that replicate things at home that occupy Baby M for substantial amounts of time. 

So Baby M's little pack of entertainment is ready!

Toddler Plane Distractor 1 - Sock Puppets

Sock Puppets!!! I can't believe these are Baby M's first ever sock puppets! But how incredibly light and packable makes them perfect entertainment for travel. I wanted to make three to keep her busy, and so based on current socks around the house (yes, we now have three mismatched socks), decided upon making an elephant, zebra and pig. 

I had all the different felt already and so just sat for an hour with my glue-gun and scissors and had fun creating these little guys...

Toddler Plane Distractor 2 - - Baby's First Wallet

I'm not sure whether it is just because I have a really cool hot pink J Crew wallet, but my little girl is obsessed with playing with wallets. She loves to take all the cards out and then put them all back in again. And so I thought I would create a fabric version all of her own to play with. It was very easy to make, just a few pieces of felt, some ribbon and the sewing machine and it was done in about 15 minutes! I had to "quilt" the felt to make it feel authentic.. not that I own a Chanel wallet!

Toddler Plane Distractor 3 - - Button & Shape game

Who knows what you'd call this, but she is at the age where it is fun to fit things inside other things, and whilst at home that means boxes inside bags inside boxes, on a plane it looks more like this....

The other things I have armed myself with are:

  • A few new books that are interactive (partly because I am sick of the sight of our current library and couldn't possibly read Pat the Bunny one more time!); 
  • An app for the iPad which is a Finger Painting screen; 
  • Nested cups for building and destroying towers, which when all nested together don't take up too much space, and can then be used for a number of games too; 
  • Snacks. Lots and lots of snacks. 
  • A bag of pom poms, for her to put in cups, put in the wallet, put in the socks. And then for her to take out of the cups, out of the wallet and out of the socks. 
  • This neat little "drawing pad" which uses a pen that you fill with water and when pressed on the page, the colours appear! 

All in all, it was fun making these little toys for her. They weren't expensive to make, but hopefully they keep her entertained for a little while (well if I am honest, hopefully she'll be entertained for all 30 hours that we are in transit).

So, wish us luck on this next adventure, I feel like we need it!! I have some NY posts to come and will be posting on Instagram so if you want to see Baby M being Baptised, and my best friends' wedding, not to mention what relaxing at Noosa looks like,

follow along


Lets hope I can replicate this scene at some point over the next few days...

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