Out and About – Travel Play Toys
Do you take toys with you when you’re out and about? Maybe off on exciting travels via car, coach, train or plane. It could be that you need a little entertainment while eating out with little ones or while waiting for appointments at the doctors. Travel play toys are an essential for us.
We’re often at doctors and hospital appointments, which can mean unpredictable waiting times and a need to keep our daughter Floss (and me) entertained! So when Leanne and Candice from My Busy Bots got in contact and asked if I’d like to review one of their busy bags, that are ideal for travel play, I said we’d love to. They kindly gifted me a bag to review.
SPOILER ALERT – we loved the idea and bought five more bags ready for a holiday, so this review will include the bags we paid for too. We really LOVE these bags!
Update May 2020 – We’e had these bags just over a year now. We still totally love them! They get used daily. The lovely ladies behind My Busy Bots have just been on the BBC this week on The Customer is Always Right where they came top! We’re not surprised. One thing we do to change things up a little is to mix and match the bags to give new challenges. Here we’ve mixed the Quack, Quack, Moo, Oink pack with Somewhere Over the Rainbow. We continue to add to our collection with new bags too. They used to be something we just took out and about, but since being in lockdown have used them more often when I’m getting dinner ready. The prefect little home learning packs. Anyhow – I’ll let you read on to what we thought of the different bags.
My Busy Bots
Travel Play Fun
On our holiday to Centre Parcs I decided I wanted a couple of new bits and bobs to keep Floss entertained in the lodge and also when eating out. I chose to keep the My Busy Bots bags secret until we got there. This way Floss would have something new to play with. If you’re going away it’s good to take a couple of favourites, but something new or things that have not been in rotation recently work really well.
Never did we imagine she would love the bags as much as she does.
One bag in particular was very well received – Quack, Quack, Moo, Oink. We purchased it as part of a bag bundle called Little Dreamers – link here. These bags will be a big part of our travel toy rotation going forward. So, let me tell you a little more about them.
The bags are around A5 size and perfect to fit in a changing bag, handbag or back pack. I love the fact that there’s enough space to pop a few extra bits and bobs in too. The bag seals with a sturdy zip that I have to say keeps Floss entertained for a good few minutes on its own. She’s at that age where she wants to be as independent as possible, so being able to open and close things herself is very important to her.
The material is easily wiped clean too – perfect for travel play toys that end up going out for food! The material also made them ideal to pop in the swim bag while we were in Center Parcs and not have to worry about the contents getting soggy.
The Activity Card
Each bag comes with an activity card comprising of around 2-3 different activities to do with what’s in your bag. Each activity has instructions to support. There are then a helpful little list of ideas to extend the play so you’ve got ideas to hand. Great when you’re in holiday mode or more usual for us frazzled medical appointment mode and don’t want or have the ability to think! The bottom of the card then tells you which key skills are being developed while using the bag.
Each bag has a unique selection of toys to entice your little one into play. The type of resources in each bag Floss found really appealing. One thing I found really wonderful about these bags was how there were lots of things Floss could do independently right from the start. Once you’ve gone through an activity from the card with your child, then again there is more scope for independent play too. I like that I can then dip in and out, extending her play as appropriate and when I can. Especially helpful when you’re out to eat and want to order food or eat your own food!
Quack, Quack, Moo, Oink
The favourite! Don’t get me wrong she enjoys all of the bags, but this one has been obsessed over for hours. Her imagination with these little animals and things she finds around her keep the entertainment going for so long. The matching silhouette card and farm scene are lovely independent activities while the smaller cards have ‘homes’ for the animals with corresponding sounds written on and footprints for more shared play. To be honest what’s not to like with this mummy and babies pack.
Something Beginning With…
Floss loves letters, she only knows a few of them, but enjoys spotting the ones she knows and learning others that she sees in the environment around her. This pack has 26 cards with pictures of objects beginning with that letter. They’re great as spotting cards and the illustrations give lots of opportunity to talk about colours, shapes and patterns. They’re a good chance to practise language such as above, below, next to, by etc. There are then magnetic letters to correspond to each card. We also used the letters to play a version of I-Spy by picking a letter out of the bag and finding things starting with that letter.
Such a calming, mindful activity following the trails with these cute little buttons. There are lots of trails to follow. We also found plenty of counting opportunities with this bag and a sort-of version of tiddly winks. It was helpful to put a small pot in this bag to put the buttons in when we were using them.
A lovely activity for younger ones in matching shape eggs. This pack was part of the Little Dreamers bundle and I really loved the other two packs and thought they were perfect for her. I did think this one would be a little young for Floss and may not hold her attention as well as some of the other packs. I added a tub of play dough to the bag for while we were away and it made a great difference to how she used the egg shapes and meant many hours of play making pictures on flat play dough using the shapes.
Bugs in Numbers
The variety in these packs is wonderful and it doesn’t feel like any of the packs are that similar, but often some of the activities you can do in one you can modify and try in another pack. Floss loved the fact this one came with a mini book. It’s got the numbers 1 to 10 as paths for you to put your bugs on. There are lots of bugs to spot, count, match up and organise.
Somewhere Over The Rainbow
Floss loved how this opened out into a big rainbow. I’d say it’s about the size of a large placemat so still perfect for travels and out and about. It comes with cards of different coloured objects for you to place on the rainbow. Fabulously, the other side has been utilised too and the cards can then be used to match up with seasons – genius! This set was part of the Little Dreamers Bundle again and the packs really compliment each other well.
As I said before it’s great to keep things fresh and exciting for travel play ideas and buying a bundle or several packs can really enhance the play potential. While away for a week I did lots of mix and matching with the bags we had. For example the farm animals got packed in with the rainbow. The bugs lined up on the squiggle trails. The little cards from the Somewhere Over The Rainbow pack used to match up with the cards from the Something Beginning with cards and so on. You can also add other toys/ resources (see blog post here with dinosaurs added) you have at home too that can be used with the packs. A pair of tweezers comes with some packs and these would be a great addition to some of the packs I have.
Would I Recommend My Busy Bot Bags?
Most certainly and as I’ve already confessed we have purchased several more. The price of a bag starts at £7.50 and you can get a bundle of three starting from £19.50.
Top Tips for Travel Play
- Use different toys for out and about play. It means that treasured favourites don’t get lost and means the travel play toys hold interest and excitement.
- Change travel play items periodically when you see interest begin to wane. This can be different depending upon what you’re doing in a week or how often you are out and about.
- As I’ve mentioned already, pick items that can mix and match to change things up without having to take extra toys.
- Use what’s around you first. Travel toys are my back up. I -spy, books in the waiting area.
- Add a snack in with travel toys before you head out. Hunger and thirst can make waiting very tricky!
More Travel Play Ideas
Each week I’ll be adding a post with what we’ve taken to keep us entertained when we’re out of the house. Hopefully, it’ll give you lots of ideas for travel play whether you’re heading away somewhere lovely or just out and about. I’ll be using the hashtag #travelplaytuesday on Instagram so feel free to add your ideas too and I’ll be sharing them on my account.