Thursday, March 25, 2010

Fun While We Fly

Flying with my child stresses me out. We're flying to Hawaii this weekend and, while I can't wait to be in the sun and on the beach, I really wish they'd invent the whole "Beam me up, Scotty" technology that they had on Star Trek so we don't have to do a five hour plus airplane ride. I'm originally from Hawaii and my parents still live there so we fly there at least twice a year and you'd think it'd be old hat by now but it's not. Sometimes Go-chan does great and sometimes he does...not so great. This will be the first time he has his own seat while flying to Hawaii which I think will be WONDERFUL and my husband will be with us -- usually it's just me and Go-chan visiting Grandma and Grandpa -- so hopefully this should be smooth, flying. I have a bag of toys that I hide and bring out only for the airplane but I also had a couple ideas for some activities that I thought Go-chan would really enjoy. Of course I waited until the last minute and had to stay up late a couple of nights but it's worth it if they'll keep Go-chan occupied for an extra ten minutes.

The first is a slot box. Back in February I made Go-chan a box for his Valentines and he still plays with it, dumping out his letters and then sliding them back in through the little slot. I decided to make him a little one that we could pack in our carry on.

Small cardboard box w/ lid (I got mine from Joanns)
X-acto knife
Cardboard (not pictured. whoops.)

1) Cut a slot in the box top

2) Cut a piece of fabric, making sure it's large enough to fold down and cover the sides.

3) Cut out the slot in the fabric -- I positioned my box top on the wrong side of my fabric, traced the slot opening lightly with a pen and then cut it out -- and start mod-podging the fabric onto the box top.

4) To do the corners I cut a small, right triangular notch out of the fabric at the corner, making sure to line up the straight edge with the end of the box top. I then glued down the overlapping flap and then glued down the remaining side (see the 4th and 5th pictures above).
5) Once all your fabric is mod-podged on, let it dry and then apply another layer over the fabric to really seal it and make it durable (this IS for a two year old).6) Do the same for the box bottom. Let both pieces dry THOROUGHLY before putting the lid on -- at least a couple of days -- or you'll have to pry the top off. Not that this happened to me or anything...

Now, you could obviously stop right there and have your child use coins or old credit cards or postcard scraps or whatever to put in. But if you're crazy like me, you want to make something fun to slip in. So I made some little fabric squares.

7) Cut cardboard into squares, about a good half inch shorter than the slot in your box.

8) Cut your fabric into squares, small enough to fit into the box slot, two squares of each fabric. FYI, I used fleece, felt, and some random picnic print remnant.

9) Sew the two squares together with the smaller cardboard square sandwiched in the middle.

10) Give it to your two year old and watch his eyes light up!

The second thing I made is a little lace-up card. At our home preschool class we had an activity that involved lace-up pictures and Go-chan loved it -- he spent a good amount of time threading his lace through the holes and anything that makes him sit still is a plus.

Three or four sheets of cardstock
Hole punch

1) Cut your cardstock into whatever shape you want your lace-up card to be. I was in a rush so I just did a rectangle. You'll want several pieces of cardstock cut into the same shape (I used eight).

2) Use your hole punch to punch holes into one piece of cardstock. Use this piece as your "template" fur punching holes in all the other pieces. Obviously you need all the holes to line up when you stack the cardstock.

3) Mod-podge the layers together and then give the whole wad of paper another coating. Let it dry! (FYI, I first tried using some foam board I had on hand but my hole punch wouldn't work with it. I didn't have any good sturdy cardboard so I had to improvise. Obviously if you have sturdy cardboard and/or a Cropadile you can use that or even thicker board and skip all the mod-podging.)
4) Once it's dry, your paper stack should be pretty stiff. Mine got a little curved because of the mod-podge so I let it sit under a heavy book overnight and it straightened out.

5) Thread an old shoelace in and have at it!

Here's our whole airplane arsenal, including our newest additions. Stickers and coloring books are a given. The magna doodle has been a big hit in the past -- we like to write different letters and shapes. Go-chan loves to play with the syringe. He pulls it out then puts it back in, pulls it out, puts it back in. Who knew a syringe could be so mesmerizing? We use the tape to make funny faces. And the Leapfrog toy that lights up and makes noises and has lots of buttons to press. Hopefully this all works. It might be a moot point however since I'm afraid Go-chan might have an ear infection. I'm taking him to the doctor this afternoon -- cross your fingers! I'll let you all know how he does on the flight and if my homemade toys were a hit!