Travel at 2

It’s hot.  You’re confined to an uncomfortable seat.  You’re bored.  Maybe hungry.  You want to get up and do something, but you can’t.  For an undetermined amount of time.  You’re tired.  And you’re 2…

If we think travel is tough on us, what must it be like for a little person who doesn’t understand one bit of it and, by the way, didn’t really give her/his stamp of approval to this itinerary.

We know travel is worth it.  We get to see friends and family, and experience new places, smells, sites and tastes.  So, we continue to do it.  With every new stage of development we try our best to make the journey fun or at least manageable for everyone involved.  Traveling with a 2 year old (or nearly 2 as the case may be) is much different than traveling with a 1 year old  and we want to be armed with a “discovery bag” full of options to keep things running along smoothly.  So, here it is, my top 5 travel tips for Travel at 2…

1. Bring lots of SNACKS.  Obvious, I know.  This isn’t your first rodeo.  But, I like to introduce new snacks to keep things exciting.  I found these and they were a huge hit and best of all they’re organic: http://www.diapers.com/p/little-duck-organics-strawberry-mango-tiny-fruits-39705

2. Bring some portable activities.  These packable sticker books are fantastic, reusable and a steal: http://www.amazon.com/Little-Airport-Sticker-Activity-Dover/dp/0486412725/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1344974156&sr=1-3&keywords=dover+activity+book  Add a small sketch pad and a baggie filled with crayons for more fun.

3. Bring snuggly items for that nap you’re hoping for.  Favorite blankets and this type of compressible packing pillow helped seal the deal for us: http://www.rei.com/product/794982/rei-backpacker-pillow

4. Bring a brand new toy.  I Spy Bags are fun for travel and they are lightweight: http://www.etsy.com/listing/106042408/i-spy-bag-mini-with-sewn-word-list-and

5.  Lastly, when all else fails…Ipad.  We aren’t video/tv fans for our toddler but when it comes to travel, we bend the rules.  Here are great headphones for little ears: http://www.amazon.com/Kidz-Gear-Wired-Headphones-Kids/dp/B0007NWL70 (I recommend practicing with them to get your child used to wearing these prior to travel).  I searched high and low for a video I felt was sweet, slow-moving and accessible and the winner for us was “Kipper the Dog”!  It comes as a series of 8 minute stories, so there are multiple places to stop the show and transition into something else.  If you are looking for Ipad games, we have found the Apps by Duck Duck Moose to be pretty straight forward, educational and least annoying 🙂 : http://www.duckduckmoosedesign.com/educational-iphone-itouch-apps-for-kids/fish-school/  And, of course, there are so many books to download as well, your entire library is now portable!

HAPPY TRAVELS!

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My Top 10 Toddler Toys!

I am a big fan of toys that don’t have a ton of bells and whistles.  I like to encourage exploration with toys that have basic movements and that are age appropriate.  My little guy is currently 20 mos old and the toys I’ve listed here are both his favorites and mine!   So, here they are…my Top 10 Toddler Toys!

  1. Melissa & Doug Pound and Roll Tower: this toy has longevity!  It was a gift from friends for Julian’s 1st birthday and has stood the test of time.  It’s still one of his favorites.  (note: we have never used the “hammer” for pounding…I found it’s just as fun for him to press the balls down with his hands, and safer too)
  2. IKEA Train Set: this basic model from IKEA has 4 train “cars” that can attach magnetically or be used independently.  The track can be figured in a variety of ways and includes one “hill.”  We love this affordable and simple set!
  3. Munchkin Magic Mozart Cube: this one has also been a favorite since the early days.  We bought this when Julian was just 6 months old and it remains one of his top picks.  the big buttons are a large target for little hands and the music is easy on my ears.
  4. Harmonica: this is new addition and a crowd favorite.  It’s simple for him to make music because sounds come out on the inhale and exhale and we love to hear him rock out 🙂
  5. Ping Pong Balls: my dad bought a set of these over the holidays as a safe and damage free alternative to other balls.  Julian can throw them anywhere in the house and no one bats an eye.
  6. Green Toys My First Stacker: another one you’ll get some mileage out of…we got these in the first half of the year as well and they’re still going strong.  They stack in a variety of ways, are BPA and phthalate free, and are even great in the bath as they have tiny holes that allow the water to drain through.
  7. Stacking Cups: these were  a gift and I cannot remember what brand they are, but there are a ton of options with these.  They are nesting cups that have endless options and holes so they are also fantastic bath toys for month and months to come.
  8. Baby Einstein Take Along Tunes: ok, so this one does have bells and whistles (well, music and lights), but it has been a great go-to toy in the early months when nothing else seemed to satisfy and continues to be a fantastic car toy.  Everybody seems to have this one, I guess I now know why!
  9. MEGA Bloks: these are the larger, more toddler-friendly version of Legos.  They are chunkier and fit together and pull apart easily.  Our set was a 1-year-old birthday gift that came with a wagon (also a great toy for tots).  Fill and dump, fill and dump, build, and repeat!
  10. Kitchen Spice Bottles: I couldn’t end the list without including a FREE toy that everyone has around the house 🙂  Like most moms, I spend a great deal of time in the kitchen, therefore I have kept my low cabinets baby-friendly.  It has been a favorite pastime of my son to open the spice cabinet and pull out the bottles (caps screwed tightly on, moms!).  He stacks them high (with supervision), moves them to the floor, back to the cabinet, and into various other places with a great deal of attention and concentration.  They are a true lifesaver and, I’ll mention it again, FREE!