In flight entertainment

Real talk: There are some ages that are easier to travel with that others; especially when we are referring to in-flight entertainment.

Bitty babies don’t really need to be entertained and the over 2 crowd can usually be kept busy with an iPad and favorite movie. It’s the 7month-22month(ish) old kiddos that tend to present more of an amusement-related challenge. This group is hard because they are all about moving around and discovering the world. The early crawlers, full-on crawlers, early walkers, and early runners do not want to sit still…regardless of what the captain says. What’s a mama to do?

We recently took our first long-ish trip paired with a long-ish layover and ferry ride over to St. John USVI. I scoured the internet and Little S’s toys for in-flight options that would provide long periods of entertainment and weren’t too bulky. This is what I came up with: 

  • The 10 Button Book by William Accorsi – This was probably the heaviest thing we took on the trip altogether, but it was worth its weight in gold. My 1 year old spent a good 45 minutes placing and removing the buttons (cleverly attached with ribbons to the spine of the book) from the different die-cut holes on each page. Phe.no.mi.nal.
  • Melissa & Doug Peek-a-Boo Panda – There are few things that my tiny human loves more than a good game of Peek-a-Boo and with this toy, she was able to play it fairly independently throughout the flight.
  • Stuffed animal with a window cling.    My sister-in-law gave this to Little S as a Christmas present and she LOVED it. It might sound ridiculous, but I swear this guy saved us from a couple tantrums. A huge plus was that it had a window cling so we just stuck it to the airplane window while playing with it and that beautifully magical piece of plastic kept me from having to fish it off the airplane floor. (And thanks to the close proximity of coach cabin seats, I’m sure the person in front of me was grateful for the window cling too.)
  • Melissa & Doug Take- Along Shape Sorter – This was great during layovers when we didn’t have to worry about pieces flying everywhere (haha- get it?!). What is nice about this toy is that has 2 activity sides (shape sorter & crinkly flaps with pictures underneath) so even if you don’t want to do the shape sorter on the airplane – because shapes on a plane are risky – you have the option to play some kind of lift the flap game with the other side.

While I haven’t been able to test the following products/ideas (didn’t discover them until after the St. John trip), I have heard GREAT things and look forward to trying them when we go on our first international trip with the little lady in June.

  • Old Macdonald’s Farm (Poke-a-Dot) Book –  This book was an Easter basket present and omg it is so cool! The little boss around here can spend nearly 20 minutes entertained by all of the buttons she gets to push and the noise it makes is sort of a soft “click” so it’s not annoying at all. Definitely taking this one on the next flight (only downside is that it is pretty heavy).
  • Melissa & Doug Water Wow Activity Book – This is probably better suited for a kiddo that has already expressed an interest in coloring. In any case,  I’ve heard good things and they look pretty fun.
  • DIY Ideas:
    • Sticker sheets and a notepad for the little one to put the stickers on
    • Cut up pipe cleaners (approx 2 inches) to fit into the holes of an empty spice jar

Hopefully something on this list will help keep your tiny human a bit more entertained. Let me know if I missed something that has worked for you in the past!

-S

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Road Tripping

Oh man. Nothing strikes controversy in my house like discussions about going on a family road trip. 

You see,  I grew up on these. All of my family piled into a car for hours and hours (in an era long long ago before smart phones and tablets) with only each other and Klutz Kids Travel Book: A Backseat Survival Kit for entertainment. Obviously I survived to tell the tale, but I would be lying if I said that I want to re-live these memories. Flying with a fussy toddler or driving with all those potty breaks?  I vote screaming baby on a plane every.single.time.

Unfortunately the hubs on the other hand, LOVES road trips. He loves the driving, the sight-seeing, the whole “open road, ‘Merica” thing… 😣 So when financially it makes more sense to drive than fly, I concede. 

We took our tiny human on her first road trip when she was 2 months old. We hadn’t traveled anywhere for a few months and had been counting down the days to her first round of vaccines to take her on her very first vacation. We spent weeks planning the “right” kind of trip. You know, the kind that would allow us to do something “cool,” but kid-friendly and possibly allow us to show off our new little addition. Finally, we opted to fly to LA and drive along the pacific coast highway (as much as possible) to San Francisco. We thought since she slept most of her life anyway the trip would be easy with just the occasional stop to feed her.  Stop in a cute beach town overnight to make it easy on us and the baby. Bada bing, Bada boom- easy peasy, Right? Wrong. So, so, wrong.

The kid screamed as we got on the PCH, drove through Hope Ranch, the 17 mile drive, and along the beautiful scenic route to San Francisco that we had so carefully thought about driving through. To be fair, it wasn’t all tears and screaming; there was a brief moment (possibly in Big Sur) when she was quiet, but turned out she was just nursing. 

While a huge part of me just wanted to give up on road trips as a whole at this point, I knew that wasn’t  very realistic (and we had already committed to one from Houston, TX to Telluride, CO with friends). I took a few valuable lessons from our semi-disastrous first attempt that proved to make our next road warrior venture 4 months later pretty successful:

  1. If possible, do most of your driving during the kiddo’s sleep time- during our next road trip we left at about 4am so we had already made good headway by the time the little one woke up (YEA, buddy!)
  2. Stop at places along the way that help your kids burn off energy- whether it’s a park, picnic area or chic-fil-a, it’s amazing what 15-20 minutes of running or crawling around will do to lift spirits and *hopefully* burn off that especially unique child-brand of energy 
  3. Understand that, like it or not, it might will take a little longer to get there than iMaps tells you- this is largely due to the stopping to tire the kids out and potentially longer food breaks, but worth it in my opinion. 

Now, this probably won’t rescue you from all of the “are we there yet?” -type questions, but maybe it will help make things more tolerable (and if you are anything like me you’d consider that a win ☺️).

-S

What to wear… because priorities.

If you have ever flown with a squirmy lap baby, you’ve learned that those flimsy airline trays don’t do anything to help with the whole “let’s not spill things on mommy” thing. After landing in LAX looking like a hot mess after my first flight with a kiddo I decided it was probably worth putting some thought into what to wear on future flights. 

 This is what I came up with: 



Maxi skirt: Because it’s comfy and Lord knows that with a lap baby you need all the little comforts you can get 

T-shirt: See above. (White shirt, brave I know! I was very committed to testing how well this outfit would hold up,haha.)

Note: A nursing mama could easily replicate this with a nursing-friendly shirt.

Scarf: This. Stroke of self-proclaimed genius right there. Any spills, sticky handprints, and other tiny human-related surprises can easily be hidden behind it! Also, it doesn’t hurt that it helped complete the “look” 😜

The hat here just ended up on my head because I didn’t want it to get squished in my luggage. Turned out to be a happy thing though because it kept a semi-grumpy 1 year old very entertained for a 45 minute game of peekaboo (that has to be a record, right?) 

Overall I was very pleased with how well this outfit held up throughout the course of our 5(ish) hour flight and 2 hour layover. I meant to take an “after” photo, but you know, traveling with a tiny human brain. 

Do you have any travel outfit success stories? Help a mama expand her travel wardrobe options! 

Taking Off

Maybe it’s just me, but few things are more daunting than the idea of flying with a toddler. Trapped 30,000+ feet in the air and stuck in a seat as long as the fasten seatbelt sign is on. Ugh, no fun. When the hubs and I found out we were expecting our first baby we SWORE that we would definitely keep our travel on. “Our baby is gonna fit into our lives, not our lives into the baby’s.” Ahhhh sweet naivety.

While we do still travel a good amount, things are slightly different now. Going on a trip involves more than just packing a carry-on and making sure our liquids are easily accessible in zip-lock bags. So.much.more. Traveling with tiny humans isn’t easy, but it is SO worth it. I challenge you to be willing to brave the “mean muggers” and go for it. Practice makes perfect and there isn’t a better way to teach your little how to be a seasoned traveler than by making it a part of your lifestyle.

My goal here is to share some tips and tricks that I learn along the way. I’m just a typical traveler with a typical toddler who enjoys kicking the seat in front of her and peeking at the passenger behind her. Who knows, maybe I can help make your trip a little easier or motivate you to at least consider the idea of traveling with your tiny.

-S