Monday, November 28, 2011

Entertaining a Katy- Train activities

Posted by Heather at Monday, November 28, 2011
Color Wonder is WONDERFUL!

Dora the Explorer coloring pages.

Turkey Hand print craft

Cheerio Necklace- Yummy!

Stickers- Lots of them!

Snowman craft
ABC magnets and cookie tray

Christmas tree Vinyl Clings- We had the best decorated seat on the train :-D

Santa Face Magnet

Christmas Wreath hand print craft

Dress Up Dolly Felt Board

"Holding" felt Dolly
Cotton ball Snowman craft

AquaDoodle- All you need is water to draw on this special pad!

While getting ready for our marathon train ride to PA for Thanksgiving, I was somewhat overwhelmed by the fact that we had a total of 24 hours (12 hours up, 12 hours back) to fill with fun, entertaining, educational, exciting, quiet activities with our very active, wiggly, short-attention span toddler. I wanted to make sure we had enough to keep Katy interested (and quiet!) throughout the journey without being too messy or disruptive to other passengers.

SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO..... enter in some pre-planning, a little ingenuity and craftiness on my behalf and some early Christmas gifts (along with a bunch of snacks! :-) and you have a happy, well-behaved Katy (and relieved parents, too!).

We had three backpacks- a red one with a cooler feature for Katy-approved food, a black one for all of Katy's train activities and Katy's small Dora backpack (thanks to Elizabeth!) filled with small toys.

The black backpack contained the following items (in no particular order):

-Thanksgiving Matching Game
-Princess Activity pad
-Snowman ornament craft
-Mickey Mouse Coloring book
-Advent Calendar
-Cookie sheet with ABC magnets and Santa Face magnets
-Snowman cotton ball activity
-Christmas Wreath hand print craft
-Christmas Tree vinyl clings
-Color Wonder books and markers
-Fun with Felt binder with four different felt board activities (Dress up Dolly, Table setting, House and Highways and Byways)
-Cheerio Necklace
-Stickers and construction paper
-Crayons, scissors, glue and tape

I put each activity in a large, labeled brown folder. I had about 20 different activities, total. I placed them in the backpack in the order that I wanted Katy to play with them front to back (i.e. I wanted her to play with the Thanksgiving-themed activities on the way up and the Christmas-themed activities on the way home). Once Katy played with a particular activity, I would put the completed craft back inside of the folder and then move the folder to the back of the backpack. All of this organization may seem a little neurotic (not if you know me, though) but it really helped in confined spaces and made for quick, smooth transitions throughout the train ride.

Katy had a great time with the Crayola Color Wonder! For those of you who are unfamiliar with this creation, it's a coloring book/marker series that doesn't mark on anything but specific Color Wonder paper. In a word, it's WONDERFUL! The child gets to pick the colors and there are no pre-set colors to "reveal" so creativity is not hindered. We got the Disney Princess and Mickey Mouse books for Katy. She practically filled up the Princess book throughout the duration of the trip. Ted and I had fun connecting with our inner child, as well!

One of the big activities that I made for the trip was a binder that I titled, "Fun with Felt!" I took an old three-ring binder and put a piece of blue felt on side and a piece of green felt on the other side. I took four zippered pencil cases and filled them with four different activities that I titled, "Dress up Dolly", "Place Setting", "Highways and Byways", and "House." I used various ideas from web searches but I mostly made up my own ideas to come up with the felt patterns. In theory, Katy could use the same two blue and green felt pieces on the insides of the binder for each of the four activities. Katy only got to the Dress up Dolly activity but she really liked it (this was my personal favorite, as well). She kept trying to "rock" and "hold" the felt doll just like her plastic, 3-D dolly at home.

We didn't get to every activity that I had planned and that's okay. Katy was plenty entertained on both legs of the journey between the various crafts and activities that she did get to and watching and interacting with the other passengers. I'm just glad that I had lots to keep her entertained. Of course, the occasional fruit snack and cookie didn't hurt, either ;-P.


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