Travelling with kids can be daunting. As soon as plans are made to take a trip by car, train, bus or plane a certain feeling of uneasiness is always lurking in the back of our minds. What if the kids freak out / cry / throw tantrums / get bored / shout / fight / ... all the time? As a mum of two, who quite frequently has to hop on an airplane to visit family abroad, I know now that preparation is everything. It is important to plan your flight or road trip and be prepared, not only mentally and physically but also with the right merchandise. Don't worry about the latter, as for everything your kids need in their carry-on bag, Baba Me has got you covered.
Depending on the age of your child or toddler, they might not necessarily understand what the fuss in regards to travelling is all about. They don't really mind where they are. As long as they are with you, they are happy and just want to carry on being themselves. That means, they want to discover, explore and play. Travelling might be a method to get from A to B for you, but it is often a big and exciting adventure for your children. So get them involved in your travel-planning and all the to-do-lists. Let them help you pack and organise and also explain to them what to expect when you arrive at the airport or train station, or on a long car journey.
If they are over two years old, they will be allowed to carry their own piece of hand luggage with most airlines (always check the specific regulations for your particular flights), which means they can have their very own carry-on bag with them. I absolutely adore the Zip & Zoe backpacks, as their prints are very appealing to kids and they are big enough to fit all sorts of travel toys, surprises and snacks. Also, the Mini Backpacks come with a detachable safety harness, which will keep your little ones by your side in a busy airport or train station.
What goes in the bag?
Think ahead and hide some of the toys, you would like to bring for your children a couple of weeks before your trip. Once your child finds them unexpectedly in their bag while travelling, they will be a novelty and all exciting for them. For an extra special surprise effect, you could even wrap them like little presents.
What kind of toys you can bring depends on the method of transport you are using. Obviously, there are strict regulations for air travel, which means toys that require batteries or liquid can cause problems going through the security check at the airport and as that is the last thing you need on the day it is better to avoid them. You know your child better than anyone else, so when choosing new travel toys keep their likes and dislikes in mind. What are they really into? If they love stickers, drawing and colouring, for example, you can't go wrong with the Plan Toys Art Board! This is a very neat blackboard, which fits on your child's lap in the car on your next road trip, in the bus or on the table in the train. Combine it with some vehicles and other travel toys for toddlers to create some fantastic little worlds on your lap.
I, Noah (3) and Maya (2) have tested some old and new Baba Me Toys in the last couple of weeks in order to decide what we will take with us on our next trip. I really hope, this will be helpful to you in order to keep your little ones entertained and turn your next journeys into some fun-filled family adventures.
Our favourite travel toys
Tegu Pocket Pouch Prism
The six magnetic Tegu blocks in a little felt pouch are an obvious choice and the ideal travel toys for toddlers and older kids. We are big fans of Tegu since they were first launched with Baba Me and there is no way we could attempt to leave the house without our Pocket Pouches. So far they have travelled with us in the car and on an airplane many, many times and kept both my kids, not just happy while we were travelling, but also in restaurants, coffee shops, doctor's waiting rooms, supermarkets and any other places we had to go to. They can be used on their own to create many different shapes and structures or they can be combined with other magnetic toys and are just so much fun. They can even be used on surfaces around you, like the back of a train seat for example. I can't recommend them highly enough, they are very versatile and neat but at the same time chunky enough to be safely used by small children, which is always a bonus. Tegu has recently extended their travel toy range by the Travel Pals - we love how they come in so many different shapes and can be combined with your existing travel pouches to keep the kids busy!
Grimms Magnetic Puzzles
Another magnetic highlight that will be essential on so many occasions to come is the Grimms Magnet Puzzle. These are small pieces of beautifully stained wood, which have a magnet attached to the back. The puzzle comes in a very slim black metal case, which is great to fit in any backpack and doubles as a two-piece play surface when travelling or out and about. The fact that the lid detaches completely and I end up with two sheets of metal of the same size is particularly handy, as I can give one each to my kids and divide the magnets evenly for them to create lots of different pictures, shapes and even storylines. That sparks their imagination and even helps their fine motor skills come along. The fact that the pieces are magnetic and not just lose puzzle pieces make them perfect for travelling, as they will stay in place and don't fall all over the place and cause unnecessary stress by rolling underneath seats.
If you like the idea, but you worry your children might be too young for the relatively small pieces, you could opt for one of the Djeco Magnetic Games, where your children can dress a pirate with magnetic pieces of clothes and accessories or create a silly looking monster.
Moulin Roty Story Torches
One of the latest additions to the Baba Me range has proven to be a big hit with both my children. Moulin Roty Story Torches are great to spark your children's imagination at home and on the go. They look like normal torches but have a space on top, where you can slot in one of the interchangeable story discs. Every disc holds a different story which will be projected on to any surface. This is particularly handy on a long-haul overnight flight, as your bedtime story will come to life and keep your little ones entertained. Take some paper, crayons and sticker books with you and let them draw up the stories while you show them the story on the torch for a great travel activity.
Grimms Small Rainbow
Everyone loves Grimms Rainbow Toys, especially the famous rainbows of course. The great thing is, they come in different sizes! The small rainbow is an ideal travel companion. My three year old received his as part of his advent calendar after his sister got the 12-piece rainbow for her birthday. Initially, he seemed to be a bit disappointed that his one was so tiny in comparison to Maya's one. But, once I told him that he will be able to take his rainbow on the plane to bring it to his grandparent's house, he got totally excited. Both my children love their rainbows and become incredibly inventive when it comes to creating different shapes. They love to build little huts for their other toys, so when travelling the small Grimms Rainbow will not only be a great toy on its own but will also help to create a backdrop for their little play worlds and stories. This keeps them entertained even on a long-haul flight!
Djeco Arty Toys & Wooden Animals
My little people love to use little people in their pretend roleplay. Djeco Arty Toys are their absolute favourite and it is easy to see why. Firstly they come in so many different types, so you can get exactly those figures your children are interested in and secondly, they are all so incredibly colourful, detailed and creatively designed that it seems like they all have their very unique personality. Our favourites at the moment are numerous Djeco princesses, like Ophelia and pirates, like Jack Skull! Your choice is nearly limitless between all the different Arty Toys. To complete your travel collection, you can always add some Holztiger and Ostheimer animals and figures.
Another favourite in our house are vehicles and it doesn't matter what type of vehicle - as long as it moves it's a total hit with my kids. They are not only used for what they are but also become so many different characters including monsters, dinosaurs, police officers, robbers and doctors, with a bit of imagination anything is possible. My personal favourite vehicle range on Baba Me is the All Aboard range. They are not only very sturdy and a great size, but also make the perfect add-on purchase in order to pass the threshold for free shipping. My kids also really like the Indigo Jamm Classic Collection and British Classics. I think before our next trip, I have to invest in the Indigo Jamm Emergency Vehicles as well as I really love the look of them and I know my kids are big fans of neeennaaaawwwwssss!
Take your time, breath, relax and play
After I have been, like many other parents stressing out about travelling with my children one too many times for actually no reason, I have decided last year to change my mindset. I no longer dread to set foot on a plane with my two smallies, but I actually look forward to it. Of course, there is the annoyance of being there on time, checking in, queuing and getting the security check over and done with - but, once all that is done I completely relax and focus on my children. Travelling (as long as it's not done by car) is a break from your real life, a break from your chores, from your phone, the internet and from things you have to do or figure out. You are sitting beside your kids for a couple of hours with nothing else to do but to spend time with them, to follow them and their imagination into a world they can't wait to share with you! For me, this realisation has turned travelling with toddlers and children of any age from a hated chore that just had to be done, into an opportunity to spend undisturbed quality time with my family, filled with some of our favourite toys and the one thing that makes my kids the happiest: Playing!
Nadja wrote this blog herself, all views are her own (but we agree with her!) As a thank you for taking the time to write as a guest blogger she received some of these products at a special Parent Panel price.