Moms, you can thank me later. We created “To Go” packs organically one day when I literally couldn’t fit the things the bruises were asking me to take with them into my diaper bag. It’s stuffed to the brim with all the stuff I actually need, and probably forgotten toys and snacks at the bottom because it’s just an endless pit anyways. They’ve been a lifesaver and here’s why.
Luca and Dominic get to pack their “To Go” packs every time we go to a restaurant or any place that doesn’t have kid-friendly activities or things to do. I have rules around my “To Go” packs, and they actually LOVE when it’s time to whip ’em out and pack ’em up. The rules are simple:
- Anything you pack has to fit in the To Go pack. This helps us (me!) avoid having to tote around a massive T-Rex or over-sized coloring book.
- The To Go pack has to zip up. This helps us (me!) avoid having to bring every animal, car, dino, food item, notebook, and crayon along with us.
- You have to carry your own To Go pack. This helps ME. Period. Not only am I no longer responsible for keeping track of and finding the things you’d like to play with at the restaurant, but I also don’t have to break my back lugging a 40 pound diaper bag around.
- The To Go pack has to have a combination of learning toys and for-fun toys. The learning toys (see photo above) are kept in a place where the boys don’t have every-day access to, and the for-fun toys are toys from the playroom they can simply choose to bring along. They end up loving the learning toys the most anyway because novelty is good and I like to add new things into the box randomly so they are always surprised.
- The To Go pack never has food or snacks. My kids snack their way through the day anyway, so free access to all things food, especially junk, never works out in my favor. And I don’t want to find any ants or bugs in your bag because you put an open but unfinished travel pack of goldfish back in there. I keep the snacks in the diaper bag.
There’s a reason every mom and teacher loves Target, Home Goods, TJ Maxx, and Marshall’s. ALL my learning toys usually come from the bargain aisle at Target (Ladies, NOW is the time to hit this aisle up if there’s any chance the kids will be home with you for remote learning in the fall. If you wait till August, it’s picked over and all the good stuff’s gone!), or one of the Maxx franchises. The bruises and I really love the Melissa and Doug brand. It’s a CT based company so we feel like we’re supporting something local (just in my head?), and they tend to be quality products that are easy on the eye, not electronic, developmentally appropriate, educational, and affordable. The Water Wow packs and travel coloring kits are some of our favorites.