Busy Bags for Travelling!

Packed and ready! 

It’s almost time for us to head off on our next family holiday! If you read our last blog post you would know that we are big into Creating Memories and holidays are a great way to do that. I’ve had a few people ask me what I take for our little man Harrison, in the way of a ‘busy bag’ to keep him happy when on a plane, or a long drive.

Our little man has been on many adventures both by car and plane and we are well rehearsed in the kinds of things that work and those that don’t when travelling.

Sticker books are a favourite of ours!

A few general tips –

  • Keep items relatively small
  • Pack some favourites and some new surprises
  • Think of items that can be used in many ways or in different places
  • Variety is important
  • Pack things you are prepared to lose
  • One small backpack per child, don’t go overboard

I think people worry most about flying because there are so many other people around you and you don’t want to be the one with the screaming child! Believe me we’ve had our share of nervous moments. I remember one flight to the Gold Coast and nothing would settle my then 5 month old boy. A young guy was walking past as I’m bouncing, shushing and jigging up and down, I cringe as he smiles at me and then he says, “don’t worry about it, headphones were introduced to block out the sounds you don’t want to hear, if anyone says anything just tell them so!” I laughed but also had such a sense of relief. He was right. People can always put their headphones on and block out the noise!


It’s important when packing items for the plane to consider the worst case scenario. Playdough, while potentially lots of fun could also end up in the hair of the passenger in front, not a good place for it… Likewise textas are not great because lids get lost and pencils always need sharpening. So, we go crayons. Good twisty crayons means they won’t run out and you can’t lose lids. A colouring in book or small scrapbook for drawing and colouring goes nicely. I tend to bring both as we also use the scrapbook for stickers. Head to any $2 or craft shop for an assortment of stickers, I try to buy ones that match our holiday because they also then build vocabulary as we talk about what we might see or do.


Sticker books are one of my most favourite things to pack and I almost always have a sticker book of sorts in my handbag when we are out and about at home too. There are so many different ones available now, where children have to match the pictures or build the image, some are based on concepts such as colours, shape or numbers, others themes like animals or transport. Developing little fingers benefit from peeling and sticking and they are mess free fun! We have quite a collection of sticker books and you will find so many at your local shops.


We also take a small pack of duplo or lego with the picture cut out from the box showing what it is. This fits into a sandwich zip lock bag, you don’t want too many pieces or once again they will go everywhere and get lost. Such a classic for so many reasons, the imagination and creativity it allows children along with the hand-eye coordination and fine motor development. We're big on developing these things through play at Happy Explorers


Another thing we love are magnet boards. You can find a growing number of these around where children create pictures by adding images that are magnetic. A great one for imagination and creativity, we often role play or make up stories to match the pictures we are creating.


Our new packaging for our Inspire Me To Play Kits make them perfect to take on holidays too! They are neat and all inclusive, sturdy and compact. Don’t worry we haven’t taken away any of our products, it’s the same amount just packaged in a more clever way. We’re taking the Alphabet Kit with us on our trip because that will be our something new. A new surprise will always hold engagement and focus. The flash cards will give us so many games to play, matching, sorting, finding the letters in each of our names. The beads and pipe cleaners will be a fun threading activity and it has stickers to decorate your name which I know Harrison will love! Not to mention the book is one of my favourites.

 Other things that we find work well –

  • Threading
  • Favourite books
  • Matchbox cars
  • Cards
  • Puppets (check out our Feelings Box for these!)


When travelling in a car all of the above applies, except instead of putting everything into a back pack we use a small box or basket. This can sit on the back seat, if you have a spare one or at your child’s feet. It works well because they can get out whatever they want and play away!

Happy travelling everyone.

Julie xx

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