Passport Covers

December 22, 2010

passport covers colorful

We know that this move to France is going to be really stretching, and overwhelming in lots of ways for all of us, but especially for our kids. So to help get them thinking about it in a positive way, we’re putting together little France kits for each them to open on Christmas Day. I’m thinking we’ll bring these out later in the day, when everyone is feeling mellow and the Christmas morning rush is over. I’m hoping the kits will get some good conversation happening and that the kids will be able to share any hopes, concerns or worries they might be having about the move.

Each kit has:
- a passport cover — and their passports, which (hooray!) arrived two days ago
- a book about France, or a familiar book in French like Goodnight Moon/Bonsoir Lune
- French candy
- and a black wool beret — of course!

Isn’t that fun? I can’t wait to see the kids in their berets.

passport covers colorful passport covers colorful

Shopping for passport covers has been delightful. I don’t actually like using a cover myself, but I feel like I’ll need to be able to pass out specific passports quickly (among the stack of 8) while we’re traveling, so I thought it would be fun to assign out a color or pattern for each child. Here’s what I’ve found:

Pastel colors with little airplanes. Adorable!
- Simple paper/vinyl covers for $5 each.
- I also talked with Susan of Freshly Picked about having some made in pretty metallic leathers.

Or. Maybe I should just use washi tape to customize the passport spines instead.

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{ 47 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Sandra Gonzales December 22, 2010 at 12:09 pm

It’s so weird… We don’t know eachother or live in the same city but I feel heartache like when a child’s good friend is moving, every time you mention your move to France.

Have gobs of fun in France and soak up the experience!


2 Design Mom December 22, 2010 at 1:01 pm

Thanks, Sandra! I’ll be far away, but my blog will still be right here. : )


3 Chelsea December 22, 2010 at 12:15 pm

A fun afternoon activity may be a familiar game that they also play in France…. like Red Light/Green Light (where the kids try to advance and then have to “freeze”)- the French version is “Un…Deux…Trois…SOLEIL!” where they have to freeze on the “soleil.”

It was always comforting to me so far from home to see these games played the world over…with just a slight linguistic variation.

Merry Christmas!


4 Design Mom December 22, 2010 at 1:02 pm

So good to know, Chelsea! I had no idea there was a French version. We will definitely play it.


5 Ginna December 22, 2010 at 12:31 pm

I think it is so exciting that you are taking this opportunity to spend a year in France! I would love to do something like that someday – my husband and I would just have to figure out how to make it work with our jobs, etc. I look forward to hearing all about it. I was wondering, though, why you are doing it in the middle of the school year? Wouldn’t it be easier (on you and your kids) to make the move during the summer?


6 Design Mom December 22, 2010 at 1:01 pm

That’s a great question, Ginna. My older kids liked the idea of leaving mid-year and coming back mid-year so that they don’t miss an entire grade of school.


7 Gina December 22, 2010 at 1:55 pm

I have friends who did the same (traveled around the world w/ an 8 and 10 year old) and the second semester was perfect for the reasons you mention.


8 Sarah December 22, 2010 at 12:46 pm

I think your gift idea is great! However, I must warn you, each of the times I’ve traveled overseas within the last 5 years, they have asked me take my cover off for inspection both in the US and abroad.


9 Design Mom December 22, 2010 at 1:03 pm

I suppose that’s why I prefer using no cover. Maybe the tape is the way to go…


10 Gina December 22, 2010 at 2:49 pm

The cover has never been a problem for us & we”‘ve been living the ex-pat lifestyle for 15 years. They’re cute. Love the metallic idea.


11 Adriana January 23, 2011 at 6:27 pm

I also gave up about the covers because in Europe they always asked me to take them out. I hope they will not ask to do that with the tape.

Traveling with so many kids, you will probably get a good smile and no problem at all. ;)


12 Lindsay December 22, 2010 at 12:50 pm

Such a great idea! Can I be one of your children? I’d love a passport cover and a chance to live in France!


13 Design Mom December 22, 2010 at 1:03 pm

Hi Lindsay. If I decide to adopt, I’ll let you know. : )


14 Emily Bourassa December 22, 2010 at 12:58 pm

I love these, but like Sarah says, they always make you take the cover off. Seems like you’ll end up having 16 things to keep track of rather than 8. I’d go with the gorgeous Japanese tape! Maybe like a binding down the side?
You are the absolute cutest! Your kids are going to love their frenchy gifts!


15 Design Mom December 22, 2010 at 1:04 pm

Sounds like washi tape is shaping up to be the best solution. I sure love an excuse to buy pretty tape!


16 natasha December 22, 2010 at 1:04 pm

i am also a big fan of these UFO passport covers! (have them and love them)


17 Design Mom December 22, 2010 at 1:04 pm

Those are so cute, Natasha. I love the soft cover.


18 leah chambers December 22, 2010 at 1:17 pm

i found your blog through twitter a few months ago and i have to say, i am constantly inspired and challenged by your fun, creative, and family-oriented posts! plus, ever since a few-month study abroad stint in paris i have been craving moving back there for a few years. i got so excited to hear that you and your family are making that move!! i pray that i can do the same one day. enjoy every second of it and eat as much mille feuille as you can!


19 Ashlea Walter December 22, 2010 at 1:33 pm

A fun way to get the kids excited about the move–and include them in the process–would be to have them decorate their own passport covers, OR better yet, maybe luggage tags at this point since it sounds like you have the covers, err, covered.


20 Kelli K December 22, 2010 at 1:43 pm

It seems like you have to be careful, as altering a passport causes problems, but maybe a piece of tape on the spine wouldn’t matter.


21 Gina December 22, 2010 at 1:54 pm

We’re an American, French, Swedish family living in Sweden w/ family in France – I love your site and, as an international family, place huge importance on books!

A must have picture book, for your collection:
“Simon and Adele” By Barbara McClintock!
Sweet illustrations and later iconic locations for your children to find
(you can find it on Amazon) A plus is that although the story is simple the illustrations are so detailed it’s interesting for an older reader) five star, in our house.

I can’t think of the publisher, off hand, but there are beautiful “Art Activity Packs” by Mila Boutan about classic French artists (Monet, Renoir, Van Gogh, etc) which have been another very fun French- spirit recommendation.

(dated but the illustrations so appeal to the art director in me: This is Paris by Milo Sasek. Although the information is a little passé the kids (& myself) go back to this one time after time)

…. Art, books, international experiences—as I said earlier, this is close to my heart. Our kids are 6,8,9 & books are big in our house.
Bon courage!

(do you have language goals for your children? If so, I’d be so happy to provide great materials that have helped our three on their way to complete trilingualism


22 Leah D. December 22, 2010 at 2:15 pm

I wonder if putting tape on the passport would be legal, like how you can’t laminate a social security card.


23 Destri December 22, 2010 at 2:32 pm

Okay, I just cannot stand it anymore! I am trying my hardest to not be insanely jealous of you, but have failed. You lucky duck. :)

Really happy for you though, such a great thing for kids I would think. Just traveling abroad as an adult opened my eyes to the “big wide world” that is sometimes hard to wrap your head around here in the states.

I will be stalking regularly to see how it goes, and to get tips. You are going to give tips, right? Like write a book? We looked into it for about a month and with all the paperwork involved decided we weren’t quite ready. Can’t wait to hear about your experience!


24 Aimee December 22, 2010 at 2:37 pm

I love your blog. I am inspired by it every time I read it.

Thought you might like this:

I cannot wait to read your posts from France. Like the previous poster, I am insanely jealous but can’t wait to read your posts from your new home in the French countryside!


25 Gina December 22, 2010 at 2:57 pm

I had never commented before and can’t seem to stop tonight. (I am procrastinating on the final packing for our trip “home” to the US for christmas tomorrow) but will also add: we nicked your Monogram mugs for teacher presents. These were such a cool idea and so well received. Thank you for sharing. We had fun and it was so fresh! Happy holiays/g


26 Rebecca Grace December 22, 2010 at 6:09 pm

You get to move to France? Like, not just for vacation, but to LIVE there? How did I miss that post?! I’m extremely jealous. That’s wonderful, for you and your whole family. I can’t wait to see what fabulous design finds you will post about from France.

There are some great French-English picture dictionaries to help your kids get a grasp on the basic vocabulary, by the way. A great one is the Usborne Internet-Linked First Thousand Words in French: I like that one so much that I accidentally bought two of them. How soon are you moving, and where in France are you headed? If there’s time and you email your address to me, I’ll send you my extra copy of the picture dictionary. I never returned it to Amazon because the shipping would be half the cost of the book; I’ve been looking for someone to gift it to! Bonne chance, Gabrielle!


27 Andrea December 22, 2010 at 7:03 pm

I have 4 kids and recently traveled to Europe for the summer so that our kids could have a worldly summer experience. My youngest was about the same age as June at the time. I was very nervous about all of the logistics, but it was (hands down) the best experience ever. We all had such an amazing time. I’m so glad that we decided to go for it despite all of our hesitations. We will all cherish those memories forever. I’m sure you all will have a fantastic time and I can’t wait to read about it :)


28 Ann December 22, 2010 at 7:36 pm

I love that roll luggage. Tell us more about that. Our family needs better luggage.

Love the passport covers too. What a wonderful idea. I’m more inspired now to finally get our act together and get our passports renewed and passports for the boys. I still need to make cookies, get my cards out (arrived today) and make a lasagna!


29 Heather December 22, 2010 at 8:58 pm

Oh please post the snap of all the Blair children wearing their berets! So cute! I hope Baby June has one, too!


30 Tala December 22, 2010 at 9:05 pm

When I was in the 6th grade, we picked up to move from DC to NYC around thanksgiving time. And we returned home to DC thanksgiving time of my 7th grade. I absolutely LOVED the experience and i’m sure your kids will too!

Plus, the “welcome home”s you get from your peers is enough to make any kid feel like a superstar!

Looking forward to following your journey!


31 Heidi December 22, 2010 at 9:46 pm

Great idea, Gabrielle. I esp. like the suggestion of tape for the passport spines. Is there anything pretty tape can’t do? :)


32 Heidi December 22, 2010 at 9:51 pm

G, I thought of two things that I bought a friend for Christmas that may be helpful:

French Flash Cards
Francais Learn French Game

Even though they’re both vintage, there are quite a few more flash cards available and the game may pop up again… H


33 Zak December 22, 2010 at 11:56 pm

Eight. Lordy woman, you are my hero on so many levels.

Merry Christmas!


34 Miss Stovetop December 23, 2010 at 1:40 am

I got some passport covers in London from Paperchase over the summer. This owl one wasn’t there then, or I would have certainly bough it. So adorable!


35 Di December 23, 2010 at 5:23 am

My tip is to quickly whipstitch some grosgrain ribbon or similar to the inside of the edge of the berets before the first wearing – woolen ones itch like the dickens on soft little foreheads.


36 Jamie December 23, 2010 at 7:19 am

My father became a master at dealing passports and boarding passes like a Vegas pit boss, it was a necessity being in a military family stationed over seas. Items were always stacked according to age with the exception of the *baby’s, her passport was attached to mine. Assigned duties also helped make sure everyone felt that they were partially responsible for the entire group clearing security, customs, naturalization in an orderly and timely fashion.


37 Tricia December 23, 2010 at 8:20 am

LOVE the washi tape! Totally could have used that last night when I was wrapping all my gifts. Would have been much easier and probably just as pretty as the ribbons I had! Gotta remember that for next year.


38 Dutch December 23, 2010 at 8:42 am

agree with some other comments. while i LOVE the tape on the spine idea. I think it will cause you problems. Better off with a colored paper clip on each? something easily removed but helps you identify. P.S. you have inspired me to look at the possibility of moving to Holland, a small town where my mother is from that is wonderful place to raise children, I do marketing consulting remotely anyway …so could support the family…


39 Chris December 23, 2010 at 9:27 am

I love the little France kits you’ve put together. I can’t think of anything more exciting. I am sure they have their apprehensions but way to make it as exciting as possible!

I will be thinking of your little French gang Christmas morning!


40 Nicole December 23, 2010 at 9:54 am

Yikes, as someone who spent 15 years living abroad in various European countries, I would stay away from the tape on the spine. I can just see an INS agent having a fit about it and making you get new passports.


41 the sleepy time gal December 23, 2010 at 11:30 am

absolutely thrilled for you and the family!!!!!!! what an incredible opportunity. i’m so glad you’re taking it.


42 Traveling Mama December 23, 2010 at 2:15 pm

I think the France kits are a great idea! We always do something like that before a big trip (and our three overseas moves!) We bought everyone passport covers and I almost hesitate to say this because I don’t want you to think I’m negative, but we found them to be impractical for the day of travel. It’s just easier for ticketing, security, check in, and then passport control for more husband to hold on to the passports. Our kids love to use their wallets to play “travel” so I don’t feel they were a waste at all! It’s really fun to see how well kids adapt to a new country and I’m sure your kids will amaze you! Bon voyage!


43 Becky December 23, 2010 at 8:34 pm

I have only three kids but we travel a lot every year and have since they were little. I have each passport marked in pencil on the top left corner with each family member’s initial, very easy to see but also unobtrusive. And as Jamie said, they’re all stacked by age, with the exception that mine (not my husband’s, though he’s older) is first, since I carry all the travel documents. I’m the only one with a passport case, and it is a roomy one and sturdy…

Another must for us is a rolling suitcase for each child to pull. Each suitcase always has a little bit of everyone’s clothing, but if you’re old enough to walk, you’re old enough to help with the luggage!


44 Allison December 30, 2010 at 10:24 am

Love the passports on your site and bummed you may not have come across some fun ones on my site (! Seems like you have outfitted the kids with cases but let me know if I can send you a couple adult ones for you and the man :)


45 Marivic December 31, 2010 at 10:39 pm

I have been by your blog before and only caught up with this France move recently. I am so envious! I truly admire your courage to pack up and take everyone on a year-long adventure which is going to be a lot of work, but will make for a lot of unparalleled memories. Not only will I be living vicariously through your blog, I am now also pushing myself to find ways to do what is not very thinkable (given the many attachments to relatives and work at home)–spending full summers in foreign countries with the kids. I think that’s really the best education, and also will make them remember our family times together. Thanks for the encouragement and the push!

On another note, I travel a lot with my kids and have never thought of making them each little information packets of the trips we take. Now that they are older, I will steal your idea and prepare for each trip this way. It will be starting another tradition in our family.

Thank you so much for all these ideas and I wish you an exciting year abroad! Will be back again and again!


46 Shavon March 3, 2011 at 2:07 pm

I am interested in pass port covers for kids. Please let me know how I can order.


47 Fir July 27, 2013 at 5:13 pm

Hi, im from Malaysia. How can I order your passport cover kids? It is still available? Tq


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