My first idea for traveling by airplane with children involves a kindly mother or mother-in-law, whom your children adore, and who would like nothing more than to come stay at your house with your kids for 3 weeks while you and your hubby fly off to Tahiti.
Sadly, we tried this one time, when our youngest was just 2 years old — my husband and I spent 10 fabulous kid-free days (the first we’d had in almost 10 years) in Amsterdam. But back in the U.S., my mom and little Arlo got in a fight one night and both have been holding something of a grudge for 5 years, so it was a big price for all of us to pay for our bit of freedom.
So now we’re off to Europe with the kids in tow. There will be two 11-hour airplane flights, two 4-hour-long train rides, one overnight train ride (also 11 hours!), and a couple of day trips involving shorter train rides, ferries, cars, and boats. It sounds a bit rough, especially with a teenager and a young 7-year-old, but we’re actually getting excited about the trip. Besides seeing the sights, we’re all coming up with activities to wile away our time in transit (besides the stash of electronic devices). Here are some of our favorites:
Playing cards! You can play games while waiting in the airport, on the plane, on the train, in a park. Older kids can play solitaire or work on magic tricks when they’re bored. You can use them to teach wee tots their numbers and a few shapes. “See, this is a 6 of hearts. 1,2,3,4,5,6 hearts on this card! And this is what the number 6 looks like.”
Washable markers and a notepad. We use markers a lot on the plane, and I can’t wait to try out Brookelynn’s fabulous Puffer Fish Barf Bag project! (Note to self: Bring small scissors.)
Books of all kinds. We bring sports trivia books for our teenage boy, beginning reading and simple word search books for our 7-year-old, and trashy fiction books for me.
Magazines. After you read them, you can cut them up or rip them apart to make collages or funny pictures. You can also make paper airplanes and fancy paper doll clothes out of them in a pinch.
Forgotten toys. I always raid the toy chest in search of small toys that we’ve forgotten all about. They’re like a new gift and a dear old friend wrapped into one! Army men and other figurines are great for adventure and make believe play, plus they can be used as game pieces or betting chips.
Homemade games. I found a box of old Maker Faire badges in the recycling bin in the office and decided to keep a pair of each type for a DIY memory game. We tried it out here at home and it was a hit! And our new reader is now learning impressive words like “Volunteer” and “Exhibitor.”
Your imagination. At some point during the trip, your bag of tricks will be used up or no longer hold the interest of your offspring. When this happens, it helps to arm yourself with an imaginative mind. Look around, maybe something will catch your eye that can be put into use in a new, better game. Or dig down deep and come up with a funny tale — “Did I ever tell you about the time I dropped an entire bag of groceries? I bet you can’t even guess what all I broke, or how funny I looked with mustard all over my skirt.” Embellish at will!
A sense of humor. On one plane trip, my then 5-year-old spilled a bag of chips all over the waiting room, then knocked over bottle of water, and finally set his sandwich down on the chair, at which point it slowly slid off the seat and onto the floor, unwrapping itself and dribbling out all the innards in the process. Wanting to cry, or maybe yell, I instead shook my head and began to laugh. And so did my older son. And so did my youngest. A few moments later, a woman came over and told me I was the most patient, wonderful mother she’d ever seen. Amazed, I again shook my head in protest and laughed even more. What else was there to do?
What tricks for traveling with kids do you readers have? Tell us about them in the Comments. Happy Summer!
Some jobs have great perks, it may be a company car, a great benefits package, free food, etc. If you were to work for Taser you could add taser guinea pig to the list of perks. The X3 Taser can shoot 3 times in a row and keep all 3 shots energized at the same […]
After bemoaning the lack of a 64-bit version of the last few Arduino releases, and the subsequent hoops that had to be followed to make the 32-bit version work in Ubuntu, I finally decided to get off of my laurels and just build the thing. You can get the package here, or read on to build your own.
The new fad when building a house is to run Cat-5 cable to every wall jack. These jacks can then be used for either ethernet or phone. When we got our new house built, we chose to get four of these jacks, and we intended to use them for phone service. Unfortunately, the wifi is a bit flaky in places…
This process may be a bit fussy for some, but I think it’s a great way to make a random looking block that is actually planned in a way that a) ensures that different fabrics/colors are distributed evenly throughout the block and b) allows for easy fussy cutting. It’s also a great way to use scraps!
Via this month’s EMS Lab’s Linkdump come these pics of sneakers with “bumper stickers” on them. When we were brainstorming stickers for The Maker’s Notebook, somebody came up with idea of a set of robot bumper stickers (”Resistance is Futile (if > 1-ohm),” “My other bot is a Big Dog,” etc). These reminded me of those.
Qs wrote up an instructable for his “Musicator Jr.”, an LED light organ about the size of a 9V battery -
The ‘brains’ of this project is a LM358 general-purpose op-amp which costs under 30-cents. The first half of the circuit is an amplifier which boosts the 500-micro-volts from an electret mic to about 1-volt. This level is generally called ‘Line-level’ and can be used to drive our LEDs, an audio amp, or even the input pins of an Arduino processor.
The second half of the op-amp is used as a voltage-to-current converter, which limits the brightness of the LEDs to 10mA or less.
Nice and simple build with plenty of ‘wow-factor’ for those who see you wearing it! Check out the full step-by-step here.
The ice cream base has a slight bitter flavor but also a bit of a toffee flavor from the stout. The sweetness of the Heath bar is a good foil to that bitterness while the toffee in it helps bring out more of that toffee flavor. The texture of the ice cream is beautifully creamy making a good base for the crunch of the Heath Bar.
Instructables is looking for more awesome projects for its Art of Sound contest, where you can win lots of audio goodies including handcrafted speakers and bzzt-boop toys from Bleep Labs. The competition is steep, but hopefully inspirational!