29 October 2008

The GRABBER saves a Sock!

(Ok, this isn't my kid - it's a Toysmith stock photo, but gives you an idea of what I'm about to write about!)

This is one of those pieces of 'travel' gear that one may never think of - a Grabber (or the Grabbit, which I'll touch on later!). Thankfully, I took some of my own advice, and carry one of these in the car for when one of my boys drops something in the backseat, and can't reach it.

Well, the other day I was at the Laundromat with my 2.5 year old son, and all was going fine (we were washing a bunch of bedding due to a suspected cat hair allergy... but that's another story). Then, when it came time to get all of the clothes out of the dryer, my son decided he was going to help put it in the little wheelie cart. With the aim of a child just spun to pin the tail on the donkey, he hucked a sock farther than I'd ever seen him do. Low and behold, the sock found it's way behind a washing machine, into the black hole of dust bunnies, plumbing, and other unreachables!

Sighing at the thought of losing a high dollar Smartwool sock (I wouldn't have cared about a cotton sock, we have plenty of miss-matches of those!), I told my son to stop throwing, as he looked a little frightened and said in a cute 2-year old lisping voice "shorry mommy, shorry".

Just then, I remembered the 18"grabber we had in the car. Without pause, I ran out to the car, got the grabber, and far-from-gracefully laid myself down on top of 2 washing machines. I extended my now nearly 5-ft long arm into the 'sock' trap. Two squeezes of the handle and I accomplished my mission! Saved.

What does this all have to do with travel? I'm not sure exactly, except to note that the best items for travel are those that have other uses as well. The 18" grabber is a great car 'accessory' during long road trips. Not only can toys and other items be retrieved, you can make 'grabbing-games-of-skill' as well. For a more packable tool, I recommend the 12" Grabbit. The Grabbit fits in a standard sized kids backpack, and is more practical for anything but vehicle travel. Also, see our Essential Travel Kit for more things you didn't know you needed!
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25 October 2008

Leave the Fridge at home?!

First of all, for those of you hoping for a 'food/snack' oriented entry (surely one of those will come later), sorry, but this one is about the stuff you put ON your fridge.

Don't you love magnets? Do your kids have letters, numbers, photo frames, and other stuff (we even have a marble 'run' on ours)? Well, why not pack some of that stuff in a reclosable bag and bring it with you? Of course, you need a place to put it all, and we've found that there are very inexpensive options, much lighter the refridgerator door!

Magnetic Boards provide a fun way to create one's 'Magnetic Poetry' on-the-go. Our site has collected a bunch of fun, kid-oriented magnetic activities to do on a packable 9" x 12" magnetic board, or upgrade to the Jumbo version at 12" x 16". Magnetic Poetry even provides a 'journal'-type board that opens to nearly 17" x 11" (AND, comes with a 100 word starter 'kit' to get the stories 'flowing').

Our kids love their magnetic animals, dinosaurs, and words to take along a trip and make up stories (pictoral and literary).
Magnetic activities provide a new and exciting option for travel, just make sure you have a bag, container or tray to contain the spare 'parts' while the masterpieces are being created.

There are also magnetic dry erase boards, but we've found that they tend to have weaker 'magnetic pull' than the non-dry erase versions, and the dry erase markers can get a bit messy 'on-the-go'.
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22 October 2008

Is YOUR cell phone a Travel Toy??

OK, we’ve all done it, gotten desperate during a long travel day, and handed a child the cell phone, on and ready to go, and let him/her push buttons for as long as it remained effective. Then, mysteriously, next billing cycle you’ve realized that you are now signed up for all kinds of new (and expensive) cell phone services. (well, this didn't happen to my phone, but to my mom's, one time when she was entertaining my kids....oops, I probably owe her!)

Or, maybe it was your wallet, purse, your secret stash of M&M’s? All of those things that are totally off limits in any other situation, but somehow free game during travel.

Through my travels with my husband, and 2 young boys (2.5, and 5 years old) we have found that providing them with brain-engaging activities makes us all much happier, and 'saves' the adult's phone, handbag, and other items. We also have found that the kids have much more fun when there is a 'play surface' for their activities.

This concept has developed into our website called
http://www.kidstravelhappy.com/, where we offer 7 different lap tray and lap desk options, and then hundreds of toys, games, books and activities that are indexed according to the type of tray, age, brand, mode of travel and more. There are even options for layovers, rest stops, rainy days and things to do at the destination.

Most items on the site are not traditionally categorized as travel activities, which is what makes them all that much more exciting. The incorporation of a tray opens the travel activity options to a wide selection of unplugged, creativity inspiring, educational activities, toys, books, and games for the young traveler (and some cool stuff for the adults too!). We hope you are able to use the site and have your “kids travel happy”. Heck, you may even get to read that book you always bring along!

So, please join us here weekly for in depth information on some of the products we carry (and why we think they are great for travel), as well as tips from things we've learned from travel pre- and post-kids.

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