30 March 2009

Children's Museums make great destinations for any Trip

Although we live in a quite rural section of Western Maine, we are fortunate to live within an hour and a half of TWO great Children's Museums; one in Portland, Maine, and The Children's Discovery Museum in our capital of Augusta. If you live in an Urban area, the Children's Museum option is surely even closer! If you live in an even more rural area than we do, make a day of it (and of course, we can make sure your 'kids travel happy' :-). And, if you plan a trip to a new area, a Children's Museum can be the perfect rainy day remedy or a good way to put a vacation's focus on the kids. Adults will find these places fun too!

These are the things we like most about children's museums and discovery centers:
  • reasonable cost
  • the interactive nature of the activities
  • the activities focus on roleplay and imaginary play
  • the museums offer things for the youngest children as well as school age children (SOMETIMES this happens too: we have friends that just came back from the Cape Cod Children's Museum in Massachusetts and the facility there had 6 tables set up for ADULTS - puzzles, games and other challenges, very cool!)
  • often there are areas that focus on educating about the region the museum is located (in Maine we find there are 'logging' areas, and maple syrup making areas)
  • there are things to learn about animals and insects
  • the 'gift shop' typically provides economical, mind-stimulating activities to take home
  • great place to host a birthday party, and many museums have rooms and/or facilities for cake & festivities (and group rates!)
Need more information/resources?
Before you know it, your kids will want to go to the 'big person's' museums! Children's Museums are a great place to plant the seed and grow the appreciation for culture and active learning.
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21 March 2009

Travel Essentials you can find at your home

(click on photo to learn more about Maine Maple Sunday)
As I was packing today to go to a Maine Maple Sunday event (including samples of REAL Maple Syrup on Vanilla Ice Cream...YUM!), I realized how many things I pack up that are from the house yet seemingly essential, even for just a 5 hour 'away from home' day of activities. It got me to thinking that I could pass this list on to others.

Here's what I make sure to have in our 'essential kit'.
  • snacks for kids (NEVER leave home without them, we find that our boys - nearly 3 and 6 - will even eat the "big people's snacks as well!)
  • water bottles for kids (or, juice etc, but water is economical! try a stainless steel bottle)
  • band-aids (preferably distractingly colorful, characters or designs)
  • antibiotic ointment (for above!)
  • reusable bags (for small toy parts, dirty diapers, trash, etc.- you'll be amazed at the uses)
  • small tissue packs (you never know when that public bathroom/rest area will be out!)
  • baby/travel wipes (too many uses to name!)
  • hand sanitizer (check out this cool little 'pen' - ready to go anywhere, inconspicuously!)
  • dress your kids in similar (brightly!) colored clothing if you are going to be in a crowd, better yet, give them a balloon or other easily recognizable item if they tend to be 'wanderers'
  • a time (digital or sand timer, or watch timer) - we find that we use the "OK, you can have that for 2 minutes, then your brother gets it for two minutes....". It seems to solve many disputes
  • reusable cloth shopping bags - we use these to organize extra clothes, dirty clothes (it IS mud season here, along with 'wet' snow season), groceries, lunch, toys and more. There is never a cloth bag that ever comes home empty, no matter if it's just going to town or on a big trip with hours of flying
The above is just a quick list off the top of my head. I post it here for my own memory as well as to possibly help your family. Please feel free to comment with your ideas for travel "essentials" from home and/or 'no purchase necessary'. Oh, and we highly recommend 'Maine Maple Sunday' if you are in our fine state. Your tastebuds will thank you (and you may learn a bit about sapping, boiling, making real maple syrup, and appreciate it's expense - SO worth every cent!).
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14 March 2009


We love sharing sites that make travel with kids just a little more 'happy' (for the adults especially!) If you are embarking upon a trip with your kids that involves airplanes, check out JetWithKids.com for all kinds of information you need and information you didn't even KNOW you needed.

To quote their website "Jet With Kids.com was created by Jet Seven, Inc., as an informative site for anyone flying with children. A panel of over 20 veteran travel experts and pediatricians are contributors to the resources of the book Jet With Kids. From important documentation requirements to the best toys on planes, even the true hard facts about infant safety on planes, this site is dedicated to changing aviation travel from a dreaded transportation necessity and "nightmare" to an enjoyable and safe part of the trip for all involved."

They have their own book, product reviews, resources & partner section, and ways to get in touch. They can also be followed on twitter @JetWithKids, or their blog.

At KidsTravelHappy.com we share the goal with JetWithKids.com of making travel easier for families with kids. Showing kids the world will help them understand how similar they are to other children anywhere, and will grow their minds in the process. Don't be afraid to travel with kids, just make sure you have all the information, and the tools to make sure your "kids travel happy".
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07 March 2009

Scramble Squares will have you 'puzzled'

Looking for a 'fit in a handbag', 'keep the kids (and adults!) busy for hours' type of game? Then you should check out Scramble Squares by b.dazzle. It seems simple enough, 9 squares that need to be put together to solve the 12" x 12" puzzle, such that the graphics on the pieces' edges match perfectly to form a completed design in every direction. Oh, did we mention that there are 95,126,814,720 different possible solutions?! (minor detail).
This is perfect for passing the time at a restaurant, and because there is really no 'right-side' up position for the puzzle, it's really easy for all sitting around the same table to participate. The puzzles come in a variety of patterns and styles. We carry 11 different ones that cover a range of interests.

Another cool fact is that there is an educational panel of info on the back of the header card of each puzzle. This info relates to the design on the puzzle, a
nd answers the trivia question also included.

If you happen to be in Bethel, stop by our shop, and take the 5-minute challenge. You could go home with your own set of Scramble Squares for FREE!!

Scramble Squares make for an inexpensive gift for a birthday or any holiday, a packable travel activity, or a rainy day pastime at home. Scramble Squares are the winners of countless awards including a Dr. Toy's 10 Best Educational Products.

Good luck, and happy solving!
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