What’s In Your Backpack? Art Activities for Kids (and Parents) On the Go!

backpack for kidsIf you have kids–and I assume by the title of my blog that many of you reading do!–you’ve often experienced their whines, complaints and pleas of boredom while waiting to be seen at the doctor’s office, to be seated at a restaurant, on a plane during take off and landing (before iPads are allowed to be used) and while stuck in traffic.  I created this backpack system for our daughters a couple of years ago and have found that when I keep it stocked with fun art supplies, our girls are happier, calmer and more patient and consequently, I’m a happier, calmer and more patient mom!

The good news is that this system is super easy to put together.  I leave the backpack in my minivan so that it’s always ready and available when we’re out and about.  Here’s what’s inside:

1.  A file folder with lots of blank white printer paper.

2.  A plastic school supplies tub with tons of crayons.  I also just bought this fun set of neon gel crayons and a new pack of markers, pencils and a sharpener.  It’s awesome how the simple addition of new coloring supplies (that I find at Target or Lakeshore) like crayons or colored pencils can spur creativity and interest in our girls.

3.  Tape!  Who knew that kids LOVE tape?  Our five year old creates all kinds of things with paper and tape!  Without any specific guidance or direction, she’ll get busy creating books or simply have fun taping pieces of paper together in a tall tower.

4.  Rainbow scratch paper.  I bought this pack for $4.99 at Lakeshore.  The girls love it and are obsessed with drawing pictures and writing messages with the wooden sticks.

5.  Dry erase board and colorful dry erase markers.  Since our 5 year old will be going to kindergarten this fall, I’ve started incorporating some low key printing practice activities at home.  She loves tracing the letters and writing simple words that begin with each letter.  Our older daughter is 7 and loves helping her sister and will dictate simple words like “ant” and “apple” for her to write out.

6.  First Readers Set of Books.  I always like to have beginning readers with me like this series or the Bob Books.  These pre-readers and beginning reader series are great for 4-6 year olds.  Our girls love being able to read books on their own and these simple books give them that early feeling of success.

7.  A set of flash cards with kindergarten readiness skills (the alphabet, numbers 1-20, colors and shapes).  I bought this set at Lakeshore.  I told our 5 year old that this is her special game and somehow giving the flash cards that “special” quality makes her excited to use them.


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