How to Bon Voyage with the Kids Without Losing Your Mind

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Nervous about hitting the road with your tiny sidekicks in tow this summer? Traveling with toddlers can be a challenge, but if you’re prepared with the right combination of entertainment and gear, you can pack quite a lot of fun into the to and from of your vacation. As a mom who has traveled extensively with a toddler, here are some of the tricks I’ve used to keep my little jet-setter happy while on the go!

Kids love being in charge of their carry-on cargo, so equip them with a fun-loving buddy of a backpack or rolling suitcase like this sustainably made Rolling Puppy suitcase from EcoGear. Aside from being doggone adorable, it is crafted with natural cotton and rope material, and boasts recycled plastic components, non-toxic dyes and recycled wheels. The company’s panda bear backpack is another green option for traveling tots who aren’t adept at rolling their own wheels through the airport, but who can easily don a backpack. Make sure you don’t overload either their backpack or their suitcase, or you can bet your in-flight peanuts you’ll end up lugging them for your little one.

Are we there yet? They’re the famous words every parent hears when traveling with a child. Keep your tot so entertained en route that the journey becomes part of the vacation fun. Craft a cozy toy car caddy for your child before leaving home, enabling him to safely transport and race his cars. Or, let your little one tote crayons and markers in a carryall made from recycled jeans to produce art on the fly. Flashcards and finger puppets are also great to have on hand for impromptu learning sessions and traveling puppet shows. DIY felt boards will help backseat car passengers wile away a road trip. Cut an array of shapes, letters, and numbers out of eco-felt and cover a piece of sturdy cardboard with eco-felt, and voila, you have an instant travel game and learning tool in one.

Some of the best mobile entertainment comes in the form of good, old-fashioned games like “In My Grandmother’s Trunk,” and “I Spy.” Brush up on the rules to spoken word games that depend on a child’s immediate environment to engage them and teach them to investigate the world in a fun, discerning fashion. Singing fun songs and listening to different types of music in the car, will also expand your child’s horizons on the open highway.

Pack snacks, snacks and more snacks – of the healthy variety, of course. Small apples, fruit leather, granola bars, crackers, etc. You don’t want to be caught short en route with a hungry child on your hands! Pile in more food and drink than you think you’ll need, which will also give kids a variety of options when hunger strikes.

Keep your sense of humor. Traveling can be stressful for kids, so be as lighthearted as possible on the journey, and they’ll follow your calming lead. Vacations are a great way to illuminate children with the old adage that life is a journey, not a destination, and every step along the way should be enjoyed!

Image: woodleywonderworks