Bust travel boredom with activity bags

A local entrepreneur created a business out of making educational activity bags to keep kids busy and entertained while travelling

It can be challenging to keep little ones busy on long road trips and airplane rides, but a new product designed by a local mom may make travelling a tad easier on kids and parents.

Good Little Traveller Bags, designed by Hudson mom of three, Cynthia Massa, are filled with a selection of high-quality, age-appropriate activities to fend off boredom. Unlike a regular backpack that opens at the top, these bags can be unzipped and spread out flat like a binder. The toys and other items are neatly contained in pouches and pockets to make it easy to find small items and keep things organized.

The inspiration for these bags came last summer while Massa was on a six-hour family road trip to Toronto and Niagara Falls with her three kids (pictured at right). She had filled a backpack with small items from the dollar store to keep 11-year-old Jeremy, 6-year-old Sofia and 3-year-old Mathis occupied during the drive, but soon discovered most of the items were a waste of money.

“I would always go to Dollarama and pack travel bags, but it was a bit chaotic, all thrown into one bag,” Massa said. “I would go in for a few things and walk out with about $70 worth of stuff, and then half of it would break. Even the crayons didn’t colour because the wax was of poor quality. It occurred to me that I had to come up with something better than this.”

During the drive, Massa started sketching out the plans for a customized grab-and-go bag for kids. Instead of one big pocket holding a jumble of stuff, it would feature little pockets to hold colouring supplies, travel games and small toys. Rather than filling it with cheap disposable tchotchkes from the dollar store, it would have creative and educational supplies made to last.

Although her professional background was in accounting, not bag design, Massa felt compelled to see her idea come to fruition. She sought out a seamstress in Vaudreuil to create a prototype and began contacting wholesale suppliers to buy crayons and markers, books, games and small toys to fill the bags.

After a year of planning and effort, Good Little Traveller Bags are now available online. There are three bags aimed at children aged 3-5, 6-8 and 9-12, with ‘girl’ and ‘boy’ options for colours and themes. Each bag sells for $54.99 and is filled with bilingual, age-appropriate items selected with input from Massa’s own children.

For kids 3-5, the bags include things like Lego-style blocks, little animal figurines, and a magnetic drawing board. Kids 6-8 get easy-to-read books, puzzles and flash cards, while older children will find things like mosaic colouring books and pencil crayons, a doodle pad and a travel-sized magnetic chess board.
Massa’s kids have found other uses for the bags; Sofia discovered the plastic pouch designed to hold art supplies was also ideal for containing her wet bathing suit after swim lessons. She and her brothers have also started filling the pockets with their own special items to take along to the park, summer camp, or when waiting for siblings during lessons and activities. “It’s become so much more than I expected when I made my original sketches on that road trip,” Massa said.

For more information, visit goodlittlecompany.ca.

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