Ten things my 13-month-old played with on vacation

Ten things my 13-month-old played with on vacation

When we were invited on a family trip that included a 10 hour flight and a week at a hotel, I started researching the best toys to keep a 13-month-old toddler occupied. So what did she play with on a long flight and a week at a hotel? The answer will probably surprise you!

Celebrating 1 year on International Women's Day! Reading Ten things my 13-month-old played with on vacation 5 minutes

When we were invited on a family trip that included a 10 hour flight and a week at a hotel, I started researching the best toys to keep a 13-month-old occupied. I read blogs, Googled Top 10 lists, and asked friends for suggestions. I bought some new toys, borrowed some from friends, and threw in a few favourites from home. We kept them in her diaper bag and took some out here and there for her to play with as needed.

So what did our 13-month-old play with on a long flight and a week at a hotel?

A pebble

A tiny pebble she found on the ground. The tiniest one she could find. Or a grain of sand. Captivating. And the best thing about these is that there are thousands of them. (Don’t worry, no pebbles were consumed over the course of the week.)

Carpet lint

Any tiny bit of lint she could find on the carpet or at the edge of the carpet was like a treasure to her. It was even more exciting to her if she could put it in her mouth before we could get to her, which, to our luck, she eventually made a game out of. 

A dead leaf she found on the balcony

Whenever we opened the doors to the balcony, she’d crawl over there as quickly as she could, immediately head to the corner where all the yummiest little pieces of leaves had collected and start her game of “how quickly can I put this into my mouth before my parents can reach me and fish it out” all over again. And again. And again. 

A paper cup

A paper cup we had finished using kept her occupied for a good half hour. She put it anywhere she could think of - the stroller seat, through an opening in the stroller footrest, under the stroller, on a table, under a table, on the ground, in her mouth… Don’t underestimate the entertainment value of a paper cup. 

The people in the row behind us

A parent’s dream is that you’ll find your seat on the plane and the people seated in back of you will make some comment like “Oh what a cutie!” or “Hi! What’s your name, little one?”. You have now secured entertainment for your child for a good portion of your flight. Make conversation with them, show them how cute your very happy child is (right now at least) and win them over fast because your child will likely spend hours peeking over or between the chairs and smiling at them, throwing their toys over or “talking” to them. Most of the time the people in back of you will play peek-a-boo which provides hours of endless fun and distraction. Or they’ll smile and make faces at them and your child will keep coming back for more. The same goes for the people behind you lounging by the pool. They’re probably bored of sun tanning and having their hands completely free all day anyways and most love to engage with a little one who is peeping over the back of the lounge chair looking for some attention. 

The lounge chair by the pool

Which brings us to: the lounge chair itself. Who needs fancy climbing equipment when you have a lounge chair? Perfect for climbing over, hiding things under, scaling the backrest to peep over (obviously we stayed close, don’t worry), and using as a drum. 

The armrest on the plane 

Who knew an armrest could be so exciting? Raising it up, lowering it, raising it up again, pushing the button… SO. MUCH. FUN.

The stroller

A stroller is apparently both functional AND entertaining. Our daughter found endless ways to play with her stroller. Pushing it, pulling things out of the undercarriage and putting them back in, putting things through the opening in the footrest, touching the wheels… A little dirty but nothing some wipes and soap can’t fix. 

The mini fridge door

It took a few days before our little one discovered the mini fridge but once she found the door handle, it was game on. She loved opening the door, closing it and saying “BYE!”, pulling out all the things we had in there and aggressively dropping beer cans on the floor. Every time we opened one it was like the game where the toy snake pops out and scares you… we never knew which one might explode on us. So exciting.

A Slinky

The one toy I purchased that was probably the only toy she truly did play with was a slinky. We pulled it out anywhere and everywhere - in the car, at the restaurant table, by the pool, in the room and while she was in the stroller. It’s versatile, easy to clean, can be played with alone or with someone else, can be used as binoculars or a bracelet or a tunnel to reach your hand through. The possibilities are endless. 

So what is the takeaway? Don’t stress about keeping your toddler entertained. They will spend so much time exploring their new surroundings and focusing on the most minute and random things. There’s no point wasting your time, money and space on a bunch of toys. Bring a few good ones or borrow some new ones from friends that they haven’t seen before and spend the rest of your time getting excited for your trip! 

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