Airplane Activities for a Two Year Old

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Summer is almost over, and we’ve finally finished all of our airplane trips for the season. Buddy has always been a good traveler. However, I’ve found that the more activities that I have on hand, the easier the trip is for all of us. This summer, we had four flights over the course of two weeks. The first two were an hour and a half and the second two were two and a half hours. Now that Buddy is two, he got his own seat on the airplane for the first time. He also is able to do different activities than he could when he was one. (Read about our one year old airplane activities here and here.) Since he had his own seat, Buddy brought his toys in his travel backpack.

Disclaimer – this post contains affiliate links for your convenience. Should you choose to purchase something with one of these links, I receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thanks for supporting my family. 

Prior to our trips, I spent a lot of time looking for new toys and activities for the airplane. I tried to spend as little money as possible on new things. I set aside several small books and toys from our library reading program and happy meals. (Chick-fil-a board books are the perfect size for travel!) The dollar store sometimes has great cheap toys for travel, but it’s always hit or miss. I found great items in the dollar sections of Target and Toys R Us though. My new favorite place to find cheap travel items is Party City. There are lots of cheap stickers and toys there for treat bags that are perfect for travel.

I rotate our toys and books at home, so some items had been rotated out and seemed like new to Buddy. The only other things I bought used gift cards and rewards money I already had at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Target. I also created some DIY activities for our trip.

The activities I have listed here are from both of our trips. Some items went on both sets of flights and some were just used once. 

  • Thin paper books and small board books. They’re not in this picture because they traveled with us in the diaper bag, but I still love the Indestructibles books for travel because they take up no space.
  • Look and find books are Buddy’s new favorite type of book. I printed out and laminated a bunch of iSpy pages for him. I also found this Disney/Pixar Look and Find book in a box of rotated books. Buddy and I were both so excited about it!
  • I set aside the most recent Highlight’s magazine to have more new reading material on the plane.
  • I also made a quiet book for Buddy. Read more about it here and here.
  • The water wow book was new for this trip, and Buddy loved it! These books are a favorite for us for travel and when I’m cooking dinner.
  • Colorforms are amazing reusable stickers and play scenes. I bought one at Toys R Us and found another one at the dollar store. Buddy can do these independently and they keep him busy for a long time.
  • A notebook and some washable crayons. We also brought a couple Grab and Go coloring book/sticker packs and sticker books from Party City. The Grab and Gos also live in the diaper bag, so I forgot to pull them out for this picture.
  • I put some velcro dots on popsicle sticks to build with.
  • Travel sized iSpy bottle. (Read about how I made the full sized version here.)
  • Pom poms in a salad dressing container from the dollar store. (Read about the large scale version of this activity here.)
  • Light up squishy dinosaur from the dollar store.
  • A retractable measuring tape from the dollar store. This was a huge hit! Buddy loved pulling out the tape and pressing the button to come back again.
  • My old Kindle Fire and kid headphones. I put some Thomas the Train videos on here along with a few apps. I also got some ebooks from the library and free ones from Amazon Prime.

  • Fisher Price Clip – on Doodle Pro. I actually bought this before our plane trips last year, but Buddy wasn’t interested in it. He really liked in on our trips this year though.
  • Duplo Busy Bag. Buddy loves his Duplos! I made small pictures of things for him to build and put it in the bag. Read more about this activity and get the free printable here.
  • Finger puppets
  • Animal flash cards. I wasn’t sure if Buddy would like these, but he really did. They kept him entertained for a long time in the airport when our plane was delayed.
  • Small board books
  • Thomas the Train magnet book. We received this as a birthday gift, and it’s great for travel! Buddy loved having a small version of his “choo choo tracks” on our trip.
  • Jumbo Nuts and Bolts Set. I didn’t take a picture of all of them, but the set has six nuts and bolts with a pattern card and a travel bag. It took up more space in his backpack than I wanted, but Buddy really enjoyed them.
  • Gel clings. Buddy loves these and they are great for airplane windows. Unfortunately, since he was in a carseat, it was too hard for him to actually use it on these trips. This was a favorite activity when Buddy was on our laps. I’m sure it will be great when we decide to fly without a car seat on the plane.
  • I didn’t bring it on this trip, but playdoh is another great activity for airplanes. I wasn’t sure if Buddy could use the tray table in the car seat (he couldn’t), so I didn’t bring it. It will definitely be on our pack list though for the next trip without a car seat.

Here are a few pictures of these travel activities in action.

Coloring with the water wow.

Nuts and bolts on the plane.

Playing nuts and bolts with Daddy.

When we were in the airport, watching airplanes was Buddy’s favorite activity.

Buddy brought one of his many stuffed animals on our trips. Puppy kept Buddy entertained throughout both trips. I also had many snacks and drinks to help keep Buddy occupied during our travels. I especially encouraged eating as the plane was going up and down to keep Buddy’s ears popping comfortably.

I’m not sure when our next flight as a family will be. Hopefully, many of these activities will continue to entertain Buddy when he’s a little older. I’m always looking for new ideas, so feel free to share any travel activity ideas you have.

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Toddler Quiet Book Pages

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Last year, I created a quiet book for our family trip to Utah and California. (Read more about it here.) I was really happy with how it turned out. Since then, I’ve brought the quiet book with us to sporting events, plane trips, and road trips. It’s a great way to keep Buddy entertained on the go.

This summer, I decided I wanted to make a couple more pages for the quiet book. Now that Buddy is two, he can do more challenging quiet book activities. I chose two different designs to create.

For this shapes page, I used some large buttons that I had lying around the house. I traced them with chalk and then outlined them with puffy paint. I used hot glue to attach velcro and ribbon to the buttons. Then, I cut out the pocket for the buttons and sewed it to the other end of the strings. Buddy is very into shapes and colors, and he enjoyed solving this puzzle.

Recently, Buddy has been interested in helping me buckle his car seat. I looked at a lot of different buckle quiet pages, and I came across this dog design that I loved. Buddy loves dogs, and I knew the buckle would be extra fun. I found a picture I liked online and used freezer paper to trace it and make a pattern. I sewed together the parts of the dog and used fabric glue to put down the ears. (The fake fur is a mess, but Buddy really liked it.) Then, I sewed the ribbon onto the buckle and the leash clasp. I also added velcro to a dog bone and the dog’s tongue. Buddy was really excited about the dog, but the buckle and leash were a little hard for him. I’m sure this will be a page he grows into and will entertain him as he gets older.

I’m really pleased with how these pages turned out! It was a lot of work to make them, but a lot of fun too. I hope Buddy continues to enjoy them for a long time.

Nature Scavenger Hunt

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For Try Something New Thursday, I wanted to do a nature scavenger hunt. I loved scavenger hunts as a kid, and I thought Buddy would enjoy them too. There is an amazing free printable on Life With My Little’s blog (get it here). I printed it and laminated it during Buddy’s nap. Once I found a small dry erase marker, we were all ready to go.

Buddy saw the scavenger hunt sheet, and he immediately understood what to do. He “read” the list on his own. We needed to find a stick, a dandelion, a clover, a bug, and a cool rock. I love this particular scavenger hunt because it is short, has nice pictures, and everything is easy to find.

Buddy got into his push car, and we went to the park near our house. There is a walking path around a small pond, which I knew would be perfect for our hunt. Buddy studied our scavenger hunt list as I pushed him to the park.

Once we reached the park, Buddy got out of the car to find the items. As we found each item, he crossed out the picture with the dry erase marker. Buddy loved using the marker and carrying our scavenger hunt list!

We found a clover!

Crossing out pictures on the card.

Since we took our time finding the items, we were able to see many amazing things not on our list. We saw a rabbit, a squirrel, a heron, and several huge dragonflies! Buddy loves animals, and they made our walk extra fun. After we walked for a while, Buddy wanted to push the car on his own. It slowed us down a bit, but we saw many fun things as a result. 

This was such a fun and easy activity! We both loved it, and I’m sure we’ll do it again soon.

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Duplo Busy Bag

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This July, my family is taking two different plane trips. Buddy has flown many times before (read about some of our activities here and here). However, he’s changed a lot since our last flight at Christmas. I wanted some new travel activities to keep him busy.

Since Buddy loves Duplos, I wanted to make a small Duplo busy bag to take on the plane. I looked around for something on Pinterest, but I didn’t find many options that I liked. Buddy has just started making small designs from pictures, but he can only do ones with a few blocks. I decided to make some simple figures, take pictures, and laminate them. Then I put them together on a ring. Buddy can pick out a picture and then make the figure. Most of the blocks are from this kit and this kit (affiliate links), but a few pieces are from other Lego sets.

Buddy was so excited to see his Legos on the airplane! The whole set was too big for our travel bag, so I chose a smaller set of cards and blocks. He loved picking out the pictures and making them. The only problem is that he wanted to make the bus from this set (affiliate link), and I didn’t have all the blocks. Other than that, it was great.

I’ve included a link to my PDF below for anyone else that is interested in making a Duplo busy bag. Please let me know if you have any comments or questions!

Duplo Busy Bag

Pouring Water Sensory Play

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This week’s Water Wednesday was the rainiest day of the summer. It poured all day! Fortunately, I had planned a water activity that worked inside or outside. I originally got the idea of a water pouring station from Busy Toddler’s blog. Buddy loves to pour water, and his favorite bath toy is a cup for dumping water. I knew Buddy would love a pouring water activity.

First, I pulled out our sensory bin and a bunch of different cups. I also grabbed a funnel and an empty water bottle. Our two pitchers were both from the dollar store. The blue one was the water bottle that we used for the Bubbling Colors activity without the top. The other one I think was supposed to be for salad dressing. Both were perfect for toddler hands to lift and pour.

Buddy was so excited when I told him we were going to practice pouring water. He couldn’t wait to start!

He quickly poured out both pitchers into cups. I had hoped that he would pour the cups into other cups but he preferred to pour the cups into the open bin. He also poured into the funnel into the open bin. (Silly me thought he’d use the funnel to go into the water bottle or another cup!)Buddy had a lot of fun pouring water from the pitchers into other cups. He didn’t stop when a cup was overflowing, he just kept pouring all the water. When he wanted more water, I’d refill the pitchers. After awhile, the water on the bottom started to get a little deep, so I poured it out. (I didn’t want the bin to get too heavy for me to pick up and pour out.)

This was such a simple activity, but it was a lot of fun for Buddy. And it was a great real life skill that he got to practice too. I’d like to build up to Buddy using a small pitcher to pour a drink for himself. (A lot more work than just me getting it for him, but I know he’d love it.) I know we’ll be using the pitchers again this summer to practice pouring.

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Bubbling Colors: A Science Activity for Toddlers

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For Try Something New Thursday, I wanted to do a science activity. I’d seen several different activities with baking soda and vinegar on Pinterest. Since I had both of those ingredients on hand, it seemed like a good activity to try. I especially loved the hidden colors activity on Busy Toddler’s blog, so I decided to try it.

To start, I put two old muffin tins into my sensory bin. Then, I put several drops of food coloring in each cup of two muffin tins. Some of the cups had just one color, and some of them had two different colors. Then, I poured some baking soda in each cup. I put the vinegar in a water bottle from the dollar store. With the cap open, the vinegar dribbled out slowly. It was perfect for Buddy to pour the vinegar on the baking soda. 

I set out the materials for Buddy to explore. Buddy initially wanted to explore them with his hands. But once I showed Buddy the water bottle of vinegar, he was excited to pour it into the cups. He loved the bubbles that came up! It took a little while before we could see any color, but that was extra exciting once they showed up.

Buddy was happy to keep pouring the vinegar into the baking soda. The longer we did it, the better we could see the colors. He kept walking around the container making sure that he got into all of the muffin tin cups. 

Once most of our bubbles were gone, I shook out the top of each tin into the bin. After I did that, it exposed the extra baking soda that was still dry. Then we were able to continue our experiment. 

This was a fun and easy activity. Buddy really had a lot of fun, and it was easy to clean up. I love that Buddy had a chance to do a science experiment. Hopefully, we will be able to do another experiment sometime this summer.

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Repurposed for Fun: Duplo Drop

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We had an extra couple of boxes at our house last week. Immediately,  I knew I wanted to use the larger one for some cardboard box coloring. However, it took a few days for me to figure out an activity for the smaller one. Eventually, I decided to make a Duplo color sorting activity for Buddy. I originally saw this idea on Toddler Approved’s blog, and I knew Buddy would love it.

First, I used a box cutter to cut five holes in the box. Then I used some paint to outline a different color outside the edge of each hole. Since I only needed a little of each color, I used a q-tip instead of a paint brush to make clean up easy. 

I let the box dry for a couple of hours. Then I showed it to Buddy. He immediately knew what to do with it. Buddy was very excited to put each Duplo into the matching hole for its color. We’ve been working on colors, and he’s pretty confident with them. 

After he played with it for a while, Buddy decided to be silly. He would attempt to put the block in the wrong color and laugh about it. “Red in blue?” Buddy thought this was the funniest thing ever!

Our box wasn’t the strongest, and I was afraid it was going to break. Every time Buddy reached across the box, he put all of his weight on it. Eventually, I decided to put it vertically, and it fixed the problem. Plus, it was a whole new way to play, which made it more fun. 

Overall, this was a fun and easy way to repurpose a box. Buddy loves his Duplo drop and plays with it often. We will probably keep this out for a while and then fold it flat to save for later. If you have any other ideas for a cardboard box, please let me know. I’m always looking for new ways to play with the ones at my house.

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DIY Rock Box

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I am always looking for new, fun play spaces for Buddy. After seeing many great outdoor play areas on Pinterest, I wanted to make something similar. There is a small, unused garden bed next to our deck that seemed perfect. Originally, I wanted to make a sand box. However, I couldn’t find a way to cover it that seemed appealing. I didn’t want to look at a tarp, and a custom wood lid is too much work. Then I came across the idea of a rock box on Two Twenty One’s blog. I knew a rock box would be perfect. 

Hubby, Buddy, and I went to Home Depot together to buy rocks. I had planned to buy pea gravel and large river rocks. However, Hubby pointed out that it would be hard to pick the pea gravel out of the grass. When he mows the lawn, he needs to know it’s rock free. We ended up buying white marble chips and Mexican beach stones. Both of these are easy to see in the grass.

I scooped out the mulch and relocated it to another flower bed. Then, I got rid of the weeds. After I did that, it looked like this. I had a pretty butterfly that stopped to visit my flower bed. 

Next, I dug down a bit to get rid of the last mulch shards. It also gave me more space for the rocks. I laid down some landscaping fabric on the bed to block weeds. Then I poured the rocks on top. I sprayed the rocks with the hose to get rid of the dust.  I’m really happy with how the rock box turned out. To make it extra fun, I set out some construction trucks and sand toys in the rocks. Buddy was so excited when he saw it. After spending a week playing with his construction site sensory bin, he could finally play with real rocks! We’ve played with it several times since I made it, and it’s so much fun!

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Cooking with Kids: Easy Zucchini Bake

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My family is looking for easy, healthy dinner ideas. When I was searching through some of pinned ideas, I came across a recipe for Easy Cheesy Zucchini Bake from Mom Endeavors. Buddy likes zucchini, and I was happy to find something easy to make with him.

I started by cutting up five zucchini into small slices. I did 1/4 – 1/3 inch thick, but the next time I make it, I will do thinner slices. Then, I put the slices into a large bowl. I set the slices out on the counter along with a greased 9 x 11 glass pan, a jar of spaghetti sauce, and a bag of shredded mozzarella. Once everything was set up, I had Buddy come over and stand in a chair.

Buddy was beyond excited to help make dinner. And this recipe was so easy, he was able to do most of it himself. To start, I had Buddy made a layer of the zucchini on the bottom of the pan. He kept saying “zucchini” and “I did it myself” over and over again. It was so cute. 

Next, I covered the zucchini with some of the spaghetti sauce. Then, Buddy helped me put  some of the mozzarella cheese on top. 

After that, we repeated the same steps to do a second layer of zucchini, sauce, and cheese. I chose to add some parmesan cheese and basil to the top for a little extra flavor. 

The zucchini baked in the oven at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. It was still a little crunchy, but thinner pieces of zucchini would be more like pasta. Here is our final product. 

All of us loved this dinner! Buddy even asked for seconds and thirds! He was also happy to eat the leftovers, which isn’t usually the case with zucchini. This easy zucchini bake was definitely a recipe we will make again.

If you have any other easy kid recipes, please leave a comment. I want to do several other recipes with Buddy this summer.

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Repurposed for Fun: Bowling with Cups

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Last week, I wanted to try a new game for Try Something New Thursday. I grabbed a stack of cups that were leftover from our last party and a medium sized ball. I made a pyramid with the cups, and we were ready to bowl. 

Buddy was excited as soon as he saw the bowling game. He initially tried to throw the ball at the cups. Then I showed him how to roll the ball. Buddy tried to roll it right next to the cups, but I told him you have to go far for bowling. He thought that was really funny, and he now says “go far!” all the time. It didn’t take long, though, for him to understand how to bowl.

Buddy and I took turns bowling. We didn’t keep score; we just tried to knock down as many cups as we could. It was a lot of fun showing him how to take turns to play a game. If we didn’t knock down all of the cups, Buddy kicked over the rest of them. That was a lot of fun too. 

We played for about 15 minutes, then Buddy took a break. He decided to put his trains in a cup and pour them into a box. (Buddy still loves pouring!) Once all the trains were in the box, we got back to bowling.

We both had a lot of fun! I’m happy to have an easy game we can play with a family, and I’m sure we will play it again soon.

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