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Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

A Short List of Summertime Safety Essentials

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Have you found a summer camp program for your child yet? A high-quality summer camp often means spending a lot of time outside soaking up the sun and exploring the world. While outdoor play is a great way to keep children active and happy (and learning!), there are some summertime essentials every parent needs to protect their children from the potential hazards of summertime.

  • Sunscreen is necessary to protect your child’s skin from harmful sun damage;
  • Children should wear sunglasses to shield their eyes from the UVA and UVB rays;
  • The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends children wear a wide-brimmed hat that can shade the cheeks, chin, ears and back of the neck;
  • The AAP also recommends that children wear clothes made of tightly woven fabrics, such as cotton, which is protective and cool;
  • Insect repellent is another important tool in a summer safety arsenal. Current AAP and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines recommend using insect repellent that contains 10% to 30% DEET in children older than two months;
  • Have plenty of water on hand – even if an activity isn’t overly physical, children (and adults!) need to remain hydrated in hot weather.

 

5 Family Traditions From Around the World Worth Trying

Celebrate the first day of school, the German way.

The kickoff to first grade is a big deal in Germany, as my American family learned while living in Berlin. The weekend before our daughter started first grade, we joined a celebration called Einschulung. Her school welcomed students with an assembly; afterward, families gave the children Schultüten—large paper or plastic cones filled with school supplies and sweets. When we moved back to the United States, we replicated Einschulung for my son. We invited our family over and asked them to bring a small school-related gift, like a notebook or pen. We made him a Schultüte, and the older kids put on a play about what school is like. It makes the children feel responsible, grown-up, and proud to be going to school.

Sara Zaske is the author of Achtung Baby: An American Mom On The German Art of Raising Self-Reliant Children. She Lives in Moscow, Idaho.

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Honor your ancestors, the Japanese way.

Traditional Japanese homes have a small family altar, or butsudan, as a sign of respect for elders who have passed away. When I go back to my family’s home in Japan, I still feel a spiritual connection to my ancestors as I make offerings at the butsudan—a bowl of rice, flowers for my grandmother, a can of beer for my grandfather. It feels truly healing. To set up a memorial, pick a quiet spot, put out photos, flowers, and other offerings, and tell kids about their ancestors. If we don’t mark our history, we may lose an important part of who we are.

Candice Kumai is a chef and the author of Kintsugi Wellness: The Japanese Art Of Nourishing Mind, Body, and Spirit. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Share your culture through stories, the Trinidadian way.

In Trinidad and Tobago, where I grew up, storytelling happens anytime, anywhere—not just at bedtime. We might be driving to the beach or walking to my grandmother’s house. People often tell folk stories about mythical creatures called jumbies to help explain things people don’t understand, such as a sudden illness. Regardless of where you come from, there is a benefit to telling traditional stories. At some point, I realized my kids, who were growing up in the U.S., had no idea what our folklore was, so I started telling them jumby stories. Telling these stories helps the children preserve their culture.

Tracey Baptiste is the author of Jumbies, part of a fantasy series for middle schoolers. Born in Trinidad and Tobago, she now lives in northern New Jersey.

Care for all animals, the Indian way.

To show gratitude to animals, families in southern India feed cows and birds during the annual Hindu harvest festival of Thai Pongal. Children learn that all species are interconnected and interdependent. I’ve followed this tradition in both India and the United States with my daughters. In Bangalore, I used to take my young daughters to a nearby shed to feed the cows. We also fed birds by placing fruits and grains on banana leaves and putting them out on our terrace—something we also did surreptitiously at our New York City apartment. Pick a day for an annual visit to a petting zoo, butterfly garden, family-friendly farm, or horse stable where you can feed the animals or help care for them. It’s a way to teach children about having compassion for all beings.

Shoba Narayan is the author of The Milk Lady of Bangalore: An Unexpected Adventure. She lives in Bangalore, India.

Exchange personal poetry, the Dutch way.

In the Netherlands, families exchange not only gifts but also poems during Sinterklaas, the Dutch winter holiday season. Older children and adults each draw a name and write a poem about the recipient. The poem usually has puns and is funny—the more mischievous and personal, the better. On “gift night,” people sit in a circle with hot drinks, and everyone reads the poem they receive out loud. I’ve learned that the real gift is the love that goes into the poem. You’re taking time to compose something special, letting someone know what they mean to you.

Rina Mae Acosta is a writer, photographer, and coauthor of The Happiest Kids In The World: Bringing Up Children The Dutch Way. She lives in Doorn, The Netherlands.

 

This article was written by Betsy Rubiner from Real Simple and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

8 Ways to Make a Weekend at Home Feel Like a Family Vacation

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You don’t need to go anywhere to capture the vacation vibe.

Spring and summer school breaks are coming up, and while many of my friends hop on the first plane, train, or rental car outta the city year after year, my family and I have found ourselves stuck at home many times in the past. The thing is: We’re all feeling it, the vacation itch. That’s why I like to bring the vacation vibe to us for special weekends. From decor to activities–and most of all, mindset!–we make weekends at home feel like the best family vacation ever.

Unplug

This is a tough one (at my house, anyway), but at least try. Put your phones, tablets, and computers in a drawer–padlocked if necessary–and spend the weekend like you’re on a desert island, devoid of news updates, texts, and annoying robocalls. You will survive, and maybe even feel refreshed.

Change the Decor

Go nuts with colorful flowers and funky lighting, and hide your regular artwork and rugs to take “your house” out of your house. So maybe you’re not at a fancy hotel in the Swiss Alps, but you’ll barely recognize your digs and will have a blast setting up (and then luxuriating in) this alternate universe.

Eat Exotic Foods

Roll your own pasta (it’s not as hard as it sounds!) and toss in a little Puttanesca sauce to bring the flavors of Naples to your kitchen. If you’d prefer to take a break from cooking, order a lavish Mediterranean meal or a Spanish feast if there’s a tapas restaurant in town, or get something decadent online, like Russian caviar. And don’t stop there. Go the extra mile by bringing in exotic dessert or candy to go with it. After a wedge of Turkish Baklava or a box of Baci (y’know, the delicious Italian chocolates that come with a message inside), you’ll feel like you spent the day anywhere but home.

Switch It Up

Do you usually eat dinner in the dining room? Try a picnic on the bedroom floor. Maybe you’ll get leave some crumbs, but that’s what the vacuum is for. Similarly, skip your queen-sized bed and have a slumber party in the living room or under the kitchen table (maybe vacuum first, in this scenario).

Bring Camping to You

If you have a yard or garden, pitch a tent out there and eat dinner under the stars before cozying up to sleep. Once you’re zipped inside a tent, you really won’t notice if you’re in your yard or atop the Rocky Mountains. This way has some added conveniences in that you can wash your hands after they get covered in s’mores and the beer will stay cold in the fridge.

Have a Rave

Glow sticks: check. Bubbles: check. Techno: Well, my daughter will make sure it’s Selena Gomez–but, check. If you can’t make it to Ibiza this summer, turn out the lights, have a fashion contest to see who can come up with the wildest outfit, and boogie down till sunrise.

Throw a Film Festival

Pick a theme, from beach movies to French thrillers, and hunker down for a lazy weekend of nothin’ but movies. Create a themed cocktail or amuse-bouche for each film and see if you can borrow a projector from a friend to get the full experience. To really build a retro vibe of a drive-in movie experience, serve a classic snack like Entenmanns’s Minis Apple Snack Pies–what’s more of an American staple than apple pie made by a baked goods company founded in 1898?

Make It a Spa Weekend

Go to Sephora and load up on sheet masks, then start lighting scented candles, ripping off rose petals, and running a hot bubble bath. If you really want to feel decadent, find a local masseuse who does house calls and turn those muscles to mush in the comfort of your own home.

*This piece is sponsored by Entenmann’s.

 

This article was written by Alex Richards from Real Simple and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

7 top tips for a spontaneous family getaway

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Like the thought of going on a last-minute family getaway but can’t get your head around the idea of planning and executing a trip away without losing the plot?

You might think a family getaway requires months of meticulous planning and taking everything but the kitchen sink with you, but it really needn’t be that way.

 

Simply by following a few basic steps it is possible to pack up and leave for a weekend away on the spur of the moment – whether you’ve got one, two or three or more kids like me.

Want to know how? Organisation – and the internet – are key!

7 top tips for a spontaneous family getaway

1. Book accommodation online. Thanks to the rise of the likes of Airbnb you can find a fantastic bolt hole for you and your family at the drop of a hat, from cosy country cottages with honeysuckle and ivy around the door to swanky city centre apartments. We’ve used Airbnb several times to visit the Christmas markets in Germany, and it’s great because you can find accommodation with all the necessary for your needs, like cots and highchairs. And if you’ve got pets don’t panic – many websites and properties now accommodate pets so there’s no need to leave them at home or sort out alternative accommodation for them while you’re away.


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2. Book airport parking online. Thanks to a number of helpful sites you can guarantee safe and secure parking both from smaller, city airports like Birmingham Airport to other major departure points. (If you are travelling from Birmingham you can discover more about Birmingham airport parking at this site – it couldn’t be easier!) In many cases you can even drive straight up to the departure building and hand over your keys to a waiting, professional valet who will return your car to you when you return, taking the hassle out of parking the car and herding the whole family onto a transfer bus.


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3. Turn packing into a game. If you’re the owner of small people who like to ‘help’ like me, try turning packing into a game. A weekend away doesn’t need more than a few clothes and you can easily enlist their help to get things organised quickly. It can be as simple as asking who can be the quickest to bring something to the suitcase, and a challenge like ‘first one to bring me their favourite t-shirt!’ gets them out of your hair for a minute or two. Then if they play nicely, reward them with a treat for the car as you leave.


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4. Order food online. If you’re staying in the UK for your getaway, consider ordering groceries online before you go. You could order everything you need for the weekend away so you don’t have to worry about going shopping when you get there, plus it saves on some valuable space in the car. Just pick a delivery slot after you’ve arrived and hey presto – everything you need will be taken right there for you.


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5. Go somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit. A single weekend might not be long enough for lots of activities, but there is plenty of time for one major visit. Is there something you’ve always wanted to do? From visiting a castle or museum to taking the time to do something like a bungee jump or a skydive, a spontaneous getaway is the best opportunity you have to get those things ticked off. Take a look at your bucket list. It might provide some key inspiration about where you want to go and what you want to see. For example, if you have always wanted to climb Ben Nevis, a weekend away in Fort William might be just the ticket.


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6. Opt for child-friendly activities. Some of the most well-loved attractions around the UK are either geared towards children or have child-friendly aspects to them. For example, a stately manor might have a quiz or treasure hunt for them to take part in while you wander around taking in the historic location. Activities like these are perfect for appealing to every member of the family, and remember you all came away for a reason, so it is only fair that all your interests are catered for.


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7. Go with the flow. Make sure you spend some of your getaway chilling out. Whether that’s a casual stroll around the city you are visiting, or just curling up by a roaring fire with a good book, it’s completely up to you! Listen to your body, listen to your kids, and just take the time to relax and spend some good, old-fashioned quality time together.

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Have you been on a family getaway recently? Are you planning one? I’d love to hear about your experience!

The post 7 top tips for a spontaneous family getaway appeared first on Confessions Of A Crummy Mummy.

 

This article was written by crummymummy1 from Confessions of a Crummy Mummy and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

How to Fly with a Child at Any Age

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Booking your tickets is the easy part. When it comes to flying with an infant or toddler (or, really, any child), stress levels start to rise when you consider the packing, the boarding process, the duration of the trip and how the heck you’ll prevent your next of kin from melting down. We rounded up the best tricks for keeping your cool when you’re up in the air.

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If You’re Flying With an Infant or Baby

Request a seat—and bassinet—in the bulkhead. Did you know that if you’re on a flight that’s longer than five hours, most airlines will provide a complimentary bassinet that bolts to the wall in the bulkhead (the seats in the front row of every section)? To reserve, simply contact the airline and make your request; There are typically just two per flight, so the early bird gets the worm.

Check your car seat at the curb…and stuff it with diapers. Most airlines let you check a car seat for free, so take advantage of that valuable real estate and fill yours with diapers, baby clothes, etc, then stuff the whole thing in a car seat cover. Free checked luggage!

Feed at takeoff and landing. Whether you’re nursing or bottle-feeding, getting your baby to suck during takeoff and landing helps reduce pressure on their ears.

Bring a nursing cover. No, it’s not for privacy, it’s for when your finally asleep baby (who’s gotten quite used to the blackout shades in his nursery) wakes up to the cabin lights being turned on for dinner service.

And a change of clothes. This goes for mom and baby.

Don’t underestimate the value of the carrier. Yes, you can gate-check the stroller, but we recommend also packing a carrier, in order to walk around the plane, hands-free.

Pack a few “new” toys. By which we mean, items they may have forgotten about due to lack of play. That said, if you’re going to buy something brand-new, this NogginStik Developmental Rattle pulls double duty: It lights up and is great for teething.

Last resort, try headphones. Think of them as the baby version of noise-cancelling headphones—and ones that actually stay on their head.

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If You’re Flying with a Toddler

Be the last to board. It sounds counterintuitive, but sitting down as close to takeoff as possible can reduce the feeling of restlessness and length of time before the seatbelt sign goes off. 

BYO snacks…and juice. Yes, you can carry them through security. (In reasonable quantities, formula, breast milk and juice for infants and toddlers is all allowed by TSA—although it may have to go through additional screening processes.) As far as snacks go, it’s great to have healthy options (think apple slices or string cheese), but dry stuff (like cheddar bunnies or puffs) goes a really long way since kids can eat them one by one…by one.

And toys. Our favorites include: travel-sized play dough, a Water Wow, Magna-tiles, lacing toys, and a coloring pad and square crayons (which can’t roll away from you during turbulence).

Last resort, load up your iPad. At 18 months, your kid may start to resist the feel of headphones, but luckily airplanes are loud enough that she probably won’t bother anybody if she watches a show without them. Worried about screen time? Don’t. The American Academy of Pediatrics found that watching Daniel Tiger helped children exhibit higher levels of empathy and confidence.

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If You’re Flying with a Preschooler

Run around the terminal before you board. Instead of letting your kid dive into her toys at the gate, spend any downtime before departure roaming the airport. Ride the people-mover or take laps from one end of the terminal to the other—whatever it takes to wear your child out.

And use the bathroom. Because otherwise you know that little jerk is going to have to pee the second you sit down.

Pack some surprises. There’s a reason the YouTube videos are so popular: Kids love opening up plastic eggs as long as there’s the promise of an unexpected surprise inside. Buy some here, then pack them with small toys or whatever you think will delight your kids. To make it even more time-consuming exciting, wrap each egg in tin foil.

Make a “no electronics” rule until you’re in the clouds. At this stage, you’re probably at least a little reliant on the good ol’ iPad. But make a rule that nobody watches until you’re in the air, in order to cut down on screen time and avoid freak-outs when you have to turn off devices for takeoff.

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If You’re Flying with a Grade Schooler

Ask if your kid can meet the pilot. Just be sure to put in the request before you board, so there’s ample time for the flight attendants to accommodate.

Change up seats mid-flight. Sometimes a change of scenery is all you need to ward off the mid-flight whining. If both parents are traveling, switch up who’s sitting next to the kiddo at the half-way mark. Got two or or more children? Have them swap places…so everybody gets a turn at the window seat. 

Ignore screen time limits. At this age, it’s about keeping them entertained and occupied. Pre-load an iPad with their favorite show—or scan the in-flight entertainment system for something you know they love—and let them zone out for as long as you can get.

If You’re Flying with a Middle Schooler

Talk to them about what to expect. At this age, they can fully understand the experience of flying—but they may still feel the boredom and restlessness of younger kids. Before you get to the airport, discuss the length of the flight and exactly how they’ll spend the time on the plane. (For example, movies, a Nintendo Switch, card games, etc.)

Then, encourage them to pack their own bag. You’ll need to double check it, of course, but empowering your 11-year-old to pack activities for the plane will help them get excited for the trip—and all the special things they get to do up in the air.

Have a plan for talking through anxiety. This is a common age for once chill-travelers to begin showing signs of nervousness. Bring it up the night before your flight, and come up with a plan for keeping them calm. (For example, if there’s turbulence, remind them that you’re right there to squeeze their hand.)

Invest in items that can help them sleep. For bigger kids, sleeping on a plane can prove challenging. (Same.) This is where those travel pillows come in—a small investment up front, but one that pays off if it means everyone arrives in Paris well-rested.

 

This article was from PureWow and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

Teachers Agree: Kids Who Travel Do Better in School

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Here’s a good reason to book that overseas excursion.

If you’re looking for an excuse to book your dream family vacation, here’s one you’ll love: Kids who travel do better in school, according to a survey of those who know best—teachers.

More than 1,500 teachers were surveyed as part of a poll commissioned by the Student and Youth Travel Association, and more than half (56 percent) said travel has “a very positive impact on students’ education and career.” And almost three-quarters (74 percent) of educators agreed that travel has “a very positive impact on students’ personal development.”

The survey specifically took a look at the benefits of student travel—i.e. far-flung field trips. Surprisingly, teachers are a fan, even though the trips take kids away from the classroom.

Students don’t usually have time to practice their reading, writing and arithmetic while traveling, so just how does it help them get ahead in school? According to the survey, 53 percent of teachers say the first-hand experience of exploring a new area or culture helps students better understand the curricula, while another 54 percent say it positively impacts their performance at school.

That’s because travel often inspires a “transformation”—an increased ambition to know, learn and explore, they report.

It makes sense. Traveling to another state or country is an eye-opening experience. Learning about other regions, cultures, religions and languages help children grasp big-picture concepts like tolerance and curiosity—and those skills can help tremendously in the classroom. Teachers said student travel led to more intellectual curiosity (55 percent), increased tolerance of other cultures and ethnicities (52 percent) and increased tolerance and respect overall (48 percent).

Learning how to navigate a new place also helps build self-reliance. Teachers also reported that student travel led to increased independence, self-esteem and confidence (56 percent) and better adaptability and sensitivity (49 percent).

While the survey mostly focused on student travel, it’s easy to imagine the same benefits apply when traveling with family. So don’t feel guilty about booking an exotic getaway with your kids. After all, teachers agree: It’s educational.

 

This article was written by Audrey Goodson Kingo from Working Mother and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

Road Trip Snacks That Won’t Make a Mess in Your Car (and the Snacks to Avoid)

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Keep fueled on your upcoming road trip with these relatively clean, easy-to-eat road trip snacks.

As the summer winds up, there might be a road trip somewhere in your future. Whether it’s just a couple of hours in the car on your way to grandma’s, a weekend away at a lakefront resort, or a week long cross-country journey, you’re surely going to need a backseat full of road trip snacks. And, unfortunately, good road trip snacks probably aren’t the first thing you’re thinking about when you’re planning for your trip—likely, they’re one of the last things you do before heading off, either stopping at the grocery store the night before you leave or, let’s be real, even when you’re already on your way!

But this year, we can all aim to do better and plan ahead to make sure you’ve packed the best road trip snacks possible. Thankfully, we’re here to do the heavy lifting for you (you’re the one that has to lug those heavy suitcases to the car, after all!). Here, we’ve put together a list of dos and don’ts in regards to good road trip snacks (because who wants to come home with a sticky backseat to deal with?), healthy road trip snacks to make, and of course, the best road trip snacks to buy (because you’re probably not going to be all packed the night before). Read on for your road trip survival guide:

Good Road Trip Snacks, Dos and Don’ts

Do: Pack individually portioned treats. The fact that you’re strapped into a moving vehicle makes passing handfuls or ripping off portions a little tenuous. Make things easier for everyone by separating snacks into individual zip-lock baggies or buying pre-portioned snacks in bulk.
Do: Bring two bags. Bring a cooler bag for things that should be kept chilled like sliced cheese, fruit, carrot sticks, sandwiches, drinks, and more. Your pantry bag can be filled with trail mix, cookies, crackers, etc. Keeping the two separate make sure that the dry pantry foods don’t get soggy from condensation or spills.
Do: Focus on dry foods. While you might have the aspirational urge to become a health guru on your road trip, it’s a good idea to stick to self-contained fruits like bananas, apples, and oranges. Although they do leave waste, they’re relatively clean compared to melons and berries, which are prone to dripping and leave behind a wetness that can expand outside of its container.
Don’t: Pack anything that could melt or spoil. It may feel like a no-brainer, but many yummy pre-packaged foods won’t last long without refrigeration. Instead of packing chicken salad or milk for the kids, just plan to make stops to pick up along the way. And while chocolate may seem like a fun treat, it melts quicker than you’d think—so keep it to a rest stop treat unless you want to deal with a sticky mess in your backseat.
Don’t: Pack foods that need utensils. Avoid a last minute lunch meltdown when you realized you forgot to pack forks or spoons and just plan to have everything edible by hand and bite-sized. Since you’re likely to be eating out of the packaging, these foods are logistically easier to eat than those that would need forks and knifes.
Don’t: Pack messy foods. Unless you’re planning on a full car detailing post-trip, stay away from foods like crumbly granola bars, croissants, cheese puffs, and quinoa. “Foods that make you brush off your pants while eating are a no go,” says Food Director, Dawn Perry. Additionally, you might want to stay away from things that come with shells like pistachios or peanuts
Do: Pack food in mason jars. Just because you’re driving doesn’t mean that you have to skip out on the road trip snacks. Fill up a mason jar that easily fits into a cup holder so the person at the wheel (or the trusty, hungry copilot) can snack along too.

Healthy Road Trip Snacks to Make

Trying to stay away from processed foods? Load up your cooler with these homemade healthy road trip snacks. From DIY Kind bars to addictive party mixes, these snacks will help the time roll by.

Kamut-Banana-Walnut Muffins
Break and Bake Kitchen Sink Cookies
Pizza Pretzel Nuggets
Cookies and Cream Crispy Treats
Honey Mustard Snack Mix
Nutty Superfood Breakfast Bites
No-Bake Lemon-Chia Bars

Best Road Trip Snacks to Buy

Planning on taking the “There’s No Way I Can Get Snacks in Order Before I Leave” route? No worries at all! There are plenty of delicious, healthy, and fun snack options to be found at the warehouse club, grocery store, or even gas station! Pick a couple of options from this Real Simple-editor approved list.

Oreos
Nuts
Water
Granola or nut bars
Grapes
Beef jerky (We tested more than 100 and these were our favorite jerkies!)
Cheese and crackers
Popcorn

 

This article was written by Liz Steelman from Real Simple and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

Travel the Globe (Virtually)

Traveling is a great way to keep our little ones’ excitement with learning at an all-time high. Use a globe (any size) to decide where you will virtually travel. Each week, ask each of your children to spin the globe and place a finger somewhere on the globe to stop the spinning. Choose one of the countries where their fingers land as your destination.

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Spend the beginning of the week with your children researching the different cultures, food and clothing found in this country. Talk about the temperatures there and the wild animals that you can find there. Discuss how your culture differs from theirs. At the end of the week, dress up in clothes that are native to that country and plan a meal that originated in that country.

Where will you and your little ones travel to?

Five Benefits of Taking a Staycation

StaycationTaking a vacation with your family can be challenging, so try taking a staycation instead. Here are five benefits of enjoying time off at home.

  1. Give your wallet a break. The beauty of a staycation is that you don’t have to spend money on gas, air travel or hotels. An added bonus is that you can use some of that cash on day trips or activities, instead.
  2. Get to know your town. Taking a staycation gives you the chance to explore your community. Take your child to a local restaurant you haven’t tried yet, visit a nearby park or simply go for a stroll through your neighborhood.
  3. Reduce your stress. Staying at home means you and your child don’t have to sit in traffic, wait in line at the airport or adjust to different lodgings. You can simply relax.
  4. Enjoy the comfort of your own home. You and your child can sleep in your own beds, lounge on your own couch and cook up some treats in your own kitchen. The comforts of home are what make it “home, sweet home,” after all.
  5. Maximize your vacation time. Staycations reduce the amount of time spent traveling, checking into and out of hotels and planning an itinerary. The minute you’re home, you’re on vacation.

Family Vacations: Keeping Your Child Occupied While Traveling

For many of us, summer means family vacations, which often include long car rides.

When we talk about our destination and all the fun activities we have planned, everyone gets very excited and counts the Little Travelerdays until departure. Finally, the day arrives, and our whole family is finished packing and is getting ready to leave the house. The car is loaded and we pile inside. Half an hour later, we hear the inevitable: “I’m bored,” “I’m hungry” and “Are we there yet?”

It is normal for children to feel this way. Sitting in the back seat with little to do can make a long trip seem endless. If we, as adults, sometimes have a hard time sitting in the car for too long, how can we expect children to enjoy it? The answer is to plan fun activities that will help pass the time.

Keep your child occupied for the duration of the car ride by bringing headphones for music and movies, books, stuffed animals, coloring books, crayons, pillows and blankets. Bring a variety of snacks and drinks. Depending on how long the ride will be, you should make a few rest stops along the way so your child can stretch and use the restroom. This breaks up the journey so the ride does not seem as long.

Interact with your child so she does not feel isolated in the back seat. Talk about how much fun she is going to have and what she is going to do when you arrive. Child-friendly podcasts can encourage conversations among all family members and help pass time quickly.

You can also practice the alphabet. Ask your child to point out signs with words that start with each letter of the alphabet in order, such as A for Applebee’s, B for bus stop and C for church. This game is fun and challenging, and it takes up a lot of time.

What are some ways you pass the time with your little ones on long car rides?