We used to travel for the holidays, but with 3 young kids family travel during the busiest time of the year has just become too challenging. We stay home for holidays in our own cozy house, celebrating our own Christmas traditions. But we do love going on adventures, so when we do get out, we've come up with some ways to keep our young children happy and engaged, despite changing daily routines. Whether you are going to grandma's house, embarking on a weekend family adventure, or going on a much anticipated family vacation, here are some tips for traveling with a young family.
Traveling on the plane or in the car became a lot harder as soon as our kids were able to move around. As babies they were no problem, but now our kids want to be entertained all the way to our destination. My daughter enjoys using this travel tray by Star Kids Products, a flexible surface to provide extra support for coloring and drawing. It has a padded border to keep things from falling off and this travel tray secures around a child's waist with a strap and clip. The mesh side pockets hold coloring supplies and the tray surface itself is a white board. We love using the Snack & Play Travel Tray for coloring on the go; and happy kiddos are a great start for happy travels!
See our Review: Innovative Travel Essentials from Star Kids Products »
Snacks are essential for traveling with kids. Even adults like to pass the time by snacking while traveling. Why do you think airports sell tons of snacks and treats? I've found low mess, portable, and easy to open snacks are the most helpful to entertain kids while traveling. Fruit snacks and fruit leather is always welcome, apple slices and oranges are healthy and fairly easy to bring along in a container, and those packaged peanut butter crackers easily become a favorite family travel snack. When selecting travel snacks, I try to limit sugar and bring along pita chips (more durable than potato chips), pretzels, fruit, and even yogurt frozen in a reusable food pouch.
Most kids benefit from a routine, even while traveling. My kids need a routine or they become cranky and discontent. Even if our travel routine looks different than our routine at home, I still plan regular times for play, snacks, lunch, naps, and screen time. It's also helpful to do scheduled activities while traveling to engage your kids, such as going on a daily walk if the weather permits, visiting the local library, going out on a fun family trip to get frozen yogurt, and bringing along books for quiet reading time.
Learning Resources makes fun and educational toys that can easily be packed up and taken on a family trip. This Ocean Wonders Build & Spin Playset offers a new spin on learning for the youngest engineers! Hands-on construction and colorful underwater pals provide a fun way to build fine motor skills. The big and chunky play pieces easily fit onto large gears, providing endless mix-and-match play that little kids can design by themselves. This friendly set encourages creativity and allows children to explore cause and effect.
My kids sometimes get bored at relatives' houses, where they don't have access to their own toys and routines. It's fun to save some special surprise toys that are packable in a suitcase, that I can whip out and engage my kids with during an open afternoon. Of course, timeless games that don't require toys such as Tag and Hide & Seek never get old if your kids are old enough to play them. Small rattles and toys are engaging for my baby boy, although he's currently in a stage where he much prefers to throw toys rather than shake them.
This cute light up NogginStik baby rattle offers hours of sensory play, with a glowing globe that changes color, a soft rattling sound, and a mirror on the bottom so babies can see their own face. NogginStik helps parents encourage early milestones in infants. It's a super cute toy and an educational tool that encourages babies to develop their motor skills by creating interactions that will promote healthy brain development and bonding. The colorful lights are activated by baby's batting hand and encourage visual tracking. NogginStik has bumpy and ribbed textures for feeling and rattle sounds to hear. My baby has had lots of practice grasping & holding a toy while playing with his NogginStik. He's also thrown it multiple times without creating any damage and the light inside this rattle has been long lasting. NogginStik is a perfect gift idea for Baby's Christmas stocking or first birthday.
We've gone out several times with young kids and forgot the stroller, which always makes everything harder. A compact stroller is essential for taking your young family around a new town. For a period of time I had 2 kids who weren't walking yet, so we've had lots of practice bringing strollers through airports, packing our stroller into the car, and figuring out how to get all three young kids safely through a crowded zoo (wearing the baby, two kids in the stroller). I love our Joovy Caboose Ultralight stroller for so many reasons.
This compact stroller from Joovy easily fits in the trunk of most any car, and can hold two kids in variety of positions. This Joovy stroller can hold 2 kids seated once you add the attachable back seat, or you can accommodate a baby in the front seat and a toddler can either sit or stand on the rear platform. The platform is ideal for kids who want to get up frequently to walk around. The Joovy Ultralight stroller has a nice awning and plenty of room for storage under the stroller, plus a few pockets along the sides and handle.
Potty training can be a difficult stage for a few months, and we've almost hit that stage again with our 2-year-old. I'm always completely content to let our kids wait to be potty trained until they are fully ready. She experiments with using the potty and I expect we will go all out with daily training once the holidays are over. Pack 'n Potty by Tottigo makes the whole potty training routine so much easier! This unique kids' toilet accessory looks just like a regular potty insert, except that it's fitted with a drawstring bag that allows you to tuck it back into the bag and take it along with you. We used the Pack 'n Potty at any number of stores while shopping with my older daughter. She was not yet confident to sit on a standard toilet, and found it very convenient to bring her own potty along. For those who worry about this portable potty touching public toilets, you can place the potty and put it back into the bag without ever touching the surface that comes into contact with the toilet, and the bag is removable and washable. If anything, the Pack 'n Potty provides a sanitary surface for kids to sit on, where they might otherwise use their hands on the public toilet to hold themselves up. Ew. Shop on Amazon for this unique potty training accessory.
My kids can have a hard time sleeping away from home. Kids like feeling secure and cozy at night, and sometimes new beds can feel strange. The Shrunks makes these awesome inflatable bed rails that you can place on either side of your child, under the sheet. These travel bed rails provide a soft barrier on either side of the bed, so your kids don't fall out of bed and they also have some cozy boundaries on each side. My daughter loves her inflatable bed rail even at home, and they are easy to bring along on a family trip because these travel bed rails deflate and roll up into a small travel pouch. Just tuck the rolled up bed rails and small foot pump into your suitcase and you are good to go for cozy nights away from home!
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Once you get to your destination, have fun! If you are traveling for Christmas, do some kid-friendly holiday crafts that only require paper and some scissors. Cut out snowflakes, make a Christmas tree centerpiece, and string popcorn to make a edible holiday garland. If there's snow outside go sledding or make a snow fort. Some of my favorite memories include sledding during the holidays with my brothers. Kids will cherish the memories they make with your family as they get older. Just don't forget to bring plenty of warm clothes for each family member! Happy travels! ♥
Related post: Kid-friendly DIY Christmas Decor »
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A photo posted by Mommy Scene (@mommyscene) on Dec 22, 2016 at 2:09am PST
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