Well, we’ve been home from our trip for about 10 days and we’re (mostly) all better and recovered from the trip and the illness. I mean, please don’t ask me if my suitcase is still sitting in the front room… But other than that we’re doing well. I washed and put away or repacked all the clothes for our next trip. So I thought I’d take some time to report back on the crafts/toys/games that we took to keep the kids busy during the drive and while waiting in the lines.
Some of them I didn’t get to pull out because we missed two out of five planned park days. Also, my kids were exceptionally good during the car ride. Then didn’t need much to distract them. It was such a luxury to be able to take our time getting down there (and back.)
Not to get too sidetracked, but if you ever have the chance to work for yourself, to run your own business and to lay claim to your own time, DO IT! I remember the days when each and every one of my hours had a number. No matter how much time I took off work, I was aware of when I needed to be back there. I actually thought I loved my job. It wasn’t until I knew what it felt like to own my own time that I saw how oppressive corporate America can be. Okay, I’m stepping off my soapbox and getting back to the good stuff.
Excellent and Educational
My seven year old thought these were exceptional. Seth knows how to count to 100 with little trouble, but past 100 has been tough for him. He had fun counting with these. He was quiet for long stretches of time and I’d hear him muttering “what comes after 59… 10, 20, 30 40, 50, 60…ok, 60, 61, 62…” He’s a smart kid, but writing things down is not a strong suit for him.
He tolerated waiting, much better with these to distract him. The stickers added something to it for sure. Now when I want him to not really notice that he’s doing schoolwork, I’ve had him work on them. Highly recommend. I got them from Mindware.com for around $6.50
Always a Good Bet
These were predictably a hit. My kids love them. This is the first time I’ve ever given one to my two year old (The Good Dinosaur one) and I was surprised how good he did. He colored a few pages in the front before he lost interest. Ezra (5) also just colors them in, but Seth likes the little games. These will absolutely buy me a half hour, maybe longer. One time we stood in line for the new Frozen ride for over 90 minutes and played games from one of these the entire time!
Bargain Entertainment, in a Good Way!
From a cost per entertainment minute standpoint, these were great. I didn’t pay much for these (Add on Item with Amazon) and my kids played with them the entire time I was packing up the hotel room to leave. I always want to get involved and help them make the craft exactly like it looks on the package, but I try to remember that isn’t the goal.
One time I read that all my kids learn when I do it for them is that “Mom can do it better than me so I shouldn’t try“. That stayed with me and I really try to keep my hands back and just use my words when they’re struggling or asking for help. This is also why I love that I can hand them a craft while I’m busy and they can get the experience and I can get time to get something done. I believe that’s what would be called a “Win-win.”
More Difficult Than Anticipated
I gave these to Ezra and they weren’t as fun for her as I hoped. She may just be too young for them. She didn’t know what to do and ended up leaving them lay. My mom wanted to help her with them, but we never found the time. Ezra ended up waiting for Grandma’s help- kind of ironic when your waiting toy makes your wait worse. So I’ll say these would be good if your daughter is at least 7 years old, or if you know you’ll be in a place where an adult can help. They did look fun, just too complicated for a little 5 year old.
Complete hit! Handed these into the back seat where Seth and Ezra were and didn’t hear from them again for quite some time. Seth had to help Ezra, but they managed to make all of the masks and the masks are still kicking around the house. Asher just had one on a minute ago. I pretended to be scared saying, “Ahhh, a lion!”, he made my day by saying, “Mommy, I not a lion, I just Asher.” Melt my freaking heart. I bought these from Hollar, cheap, $4? But you can find them elsewhere I’m sure, since they are Melissa and Doug. I’m going to be looking for other styles.
Bailed Mommy Out for Sure
I wish that I had brought more free play toys. Seth is an expert play-er and he NEEDS something to play with. Case in point: on our first mother-son trip to Disney he didn’t want to do anything. Every ride I offered him, “No.” “No.” “I don’t want to.” I was genuinely worried about him.
I finally agreed to take him back to the hotel where he looked at me with the saddest eyes and said, “Mommy, I didn’t bring any toys. Do you have any toys?” I (thank you, Jesus) had brought him some little men and little cars. He played for 20 minutes and then said, “Mom, can we go back to Disney World now?”
We had a blast for the rest of the trip and I learned that my boy, literally, needs to play. He’s not okay if he doesn’t play. I can’t believe I forgot that lesson- I didn’t bring near enough “play with” type toys. I was so glad I had these because they fit the bill. Waiting in line is such a different experience when your kids are playing with little guys happily instead of whining while they wait.
Winner of the trip for sure! I’m not sure how successful it was with helping with waiting, but Asher LOVED this flashlight and it came in SO unbelievably handy. I didn’t realize how many times I wished for more light at Disney until this little guy was clipped directly to the stroller and within easy reach.
My (complete genius of a) husband had the idea to use our giant carabiner to hook Asher’s “cover” (his blanket that my mom crocheted for my oldest son, that Asher completely stole and claimed for his own and needs to go to sleep) to the stroller so that we didn’t need to worry about losing it. Then I worried about losing the flashlight so I hooked the little loop onto the carabiner too. Amazing. I will never go to Disney World again without a small flashlight clipped on to the stroller. Get one. Use it. Thank me later.
Another waiting winner was the craft packages that I put together for the kids. They were all Thanksgiving themed. Mom rode next to Asher on the way and they did the crafts together. Seth and Ezra were able to do them on their own. I put together Christmas crafts for the next trip. I will be writing a post on them soon. They are probably one of my best Disney ideas.
I have the other items from my first post stashed for the grocery store, work meetings, and for our next Disney trip. Seth, Cyrus and I are heading to Old Key West on Monday so some will make an appearance there, I’m sure.
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