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Traveling with Children
Archives, Parenting, Summer, Travel

“Are We There Yet?” Stress-Free Travel with Children

Summer is here which means traveling by planes, trains, and automobiles for many families.

Here are some tips to help make vacation travel easier and more enjoyable for you and your children. Pack some of these recommended items in a travel tote before you depart, and you are unlikely to hear cries of “Are we there yet?” every half hour.

1. Allow Plenty of Time

We all know that travel is stressful. Alleviate some of that stress by planning ahead and allowing plenty of time to get there. If you’re traveling by plane, get to the airport at least two hours early to get through security during the summer  without worrying about missing your flight. If you arrive at your gate early, relax and pull out a game or art supplies from your travel tote to keep kids happily occupied.

If you’re traveling by car, plan on frequent rest stops (every hour or two) to to let kids go to the bathroom, run around, and blow off steam. Figure out how many 15-minute stops you will need to make along your journey and calculate your departure time to allow plenty of time for rest stops.

2.  Pack Plenty of Snacks and Water

Pack healthy snacks with lots of protein. Snacks high in protein, like nuts, peanut butter, or hard boiled eggs, will stave off the crash that comes after consuming high-carb sugary snacks and can lead to meltdowns. I think all parents would agree that there are few things more stressful than a child having a temper-tantrum on a plane!

And don’t forget to keep your child well-hydrated during flights which are notoriously dry. Dehydration can lead to headaches and crankiness.

Grimms Wooden Magnetic Puzzle

 

3. Play Games

Share the driving games you remember from your own childhood with your children. There is the classic “20 Questions” in which players try to guess what someone is thinking of by asking no more than 20 yes-or-no questions.

And there’s the “Alphabet Game” in which players try to spot each letter of the alphabet in sequence while driving down the highway—on signs, license plates, and billboards. The first person to get to Z wins.

On longer drives or when traveling by play, you can pull out your family’s travel tote filled with things like magnetic puzzles, books, and art supplies to keep children more quietly active.

4. Arts and Crafts

Pack art supplies. A pad of paper, crayons, and colored pencils not only get a child’s creative juices flowing, but can also be used for playing games like Tic-Tac-Toe or Hangman.

Crafts like knitting or crochet will occupy a child’s head, heart and hands on the road and produce a beautiful handmade item by the end of the trip!

Traveling with Kids

5. Listen to Recordings of Stories

There are lots of wonderful audio books of stories for children of all ages. The storyteller Jim Weiss offers a wide variety of stories for preschoolers (fairy tales and animal stories) to stories of Greek Mythology and King Arthur Stories for older children.

The whole family can listen while traveling by car, or a child can listen to an audio device with headphones when traveling by plane, while children are being introduced to classic literature.

6. Relax

Allow your child to be quiet with her own thoughts when she is calm. Time spent looking out the window and daydreaming are healthy activities and eliminate stress. Allow you child to sleep, when he is sleepy. A well-rested child will be much more cheerful upon arrival.

7. Toys and Supplies to Keep Kids Occupied

Here are some of my top recommendations for keeping kids busy on the road, by rail, or in the air:

Bon Voyage!

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What are some of your tips and tricks for traveling with kids? Share your ideas by leaving a comment below!

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labyrinth-balance-board
Archives, Family, Natural Toys, Play, Waldorf Toys, Wooden Toys

Indoor Play: Ideas for Keeping Kids Active and Screen-Free During Winter

Now that the holidays are behind us, in many parts of the country long winter months still loom ahead with bitterly cold days when kids are home from school,  spending less time playing outside.

On such days, it can be difficult to keep their children away from the TV or off electronic devices, which can lead kids to be inactive and unstimulated for long periods of time.

To minimize the stress that can ensue from unplanned “snow days” or days when it’s too cold to play outside, here are a few ideas for keeping children screen-free and active indoors:

1. Keep a variety of board games that appeal to different age groups: not too advanced for younger players, yet challenging enough for older children. Play a different game each day to prevent boredom.

2. Encourage children to build a fort or tent using furniture and playsilks or cotton play cloths. Children love creating their own cozy play spaces, in which to read or play with dolls and stuffed animals.

3. Encourage dress-up play by providing a basket of dress-ups and costumes and invite children put on a play for you and an audience, even if the audience consists of their stuffed animals!

4. Traditional games like hide-and-seek can be played indoors; or hide a little gnome or fairy doll and have children try to find it.

5. Keep children engaged by introducing a new craft kit such as knitting (e.g. Quick-to-Knit Scarf Kit), origami, or baking a new cookie recipe.

6. Keep a box of art supplies that only comes out on special days. Your box could include a variety of different kinds of paper for making collages, glue sticks, glitter, crayons, watercolor paints, markers, and so on. Keeping the box neat and organized will encourage a child’s creativity!

7. Don’t keep all of a child’s toys out all the time. Most children have too many toys. Bringing out certain toys—like wooden building blocks or Lego bricks–only on rainy or snowy days make it a special occasion.

8. Here are some of my favorite toys that encourage indoor movement across different age groups:

Happy Winter Play!

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What are some of your family’s favorite indoor activities? Share your ideas by leaving a comment below!

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Making Peg Dolls & More by Margaret Bloom
Crafts

Making Peg Dolls with Margaret Bloom

Today I am excited to introduce you to Margaret Bloom, the author of Making Peg Dolls, one of our bestselling books at Bella Luna Toys, and one of my very favorite crafting books!

Margaret Bloom, Making Peg Dolls & More

Margaret Bloom

Margaret has just published her second book, Making Peg Dolls & More. In introducing this enchanting new book, I thought it would be fun to interview Margaret, and learn more about her.

And to celebrate the launch of the book, Bella Luna Toys is happy to offer readers 10% off on both Peg Dolls books, as well as on our wooden peg forms, wool felt sheets, and opaque watercolor paints, everything you need to start creating your own collection of peg dolls! (Use code PEGDOLLS through February 28, 2015.)

For now, I invite you to pour a cup of tea and take a few minutes to get to know Margaret. I hope she inspires you to try your hand at this simple craft! If you have your own question for Margaret, leave a comment and she’ll answer as soon as she can. Continue Reading

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