Crafts, Toys and Activity Ideas for Tricky Three Year Olds

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I love listening to Vir’s stories when he plays with these toys. He loves to see his favorite Sago Mini charterers come to life with this Road Trip Collection.

Forget the ‘terrible twos’ – meet the ‘tricky threes’! As our little ones toddle their way into preschooler-hood, they leave the obsession with ‘no’ behind, and begin to develop their own unique tastes, faves and dislikes. While it’s a unique privilege to watch them blossom into little people, it does make coming up with activities they’ll like even trickier.

In my previous post I shared our love for Sago Mini and few other apps on our Top 10 Best Educational, Interactive and Engaging apps for toddlers and preschoolers. Check it out if you haven’t already!

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One of Vir’s favorite toys. Robin’s barn, you can pack it all up in the box and head to the cafe.

This post covers a master list of fun toys, crafts, apps and activities that even the pickiest, trickiest three-year-old will get into! (Originally published on Sago Mini’s website (Click Here

22.Practice sorting with a muffin tin.
21. Play dress up (or try a mess-free virtual version!)
20. Host an epic play date.
19. Head out on an impromptu scavenger hunt – ask your child to find anything from all the purple fruits in the grocery store, to all the red cars on your road trip!
18. Have an indoor dance-til’-you-drop party.
17. Collect leaves on your nature walk and create crayon rubbings of them in a special ‘explore journal’.

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16.Explore textures and practice sensory skills by placing various objects in a paper bag and have your child guess what they are.
15.Take a Portable Playset to your neighborhood cafe.
14. Work on a puzzle together.
13. Clean up your craft game with these zero-waste activities.
12. Practice organization by packing a suitcase for a pretend-play trip.
11. Fill up the bathtub with water, throw in some fun water toys and create a splash-zone play area!

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10.Create an on-the-go puppet show with the Walk & Play Finger Puppets.
9.Act out your favorite fairy tale – or better yet, create your own!
8. Learn all the dance moves to your kid’s favorite song (Baby Shark, anyone?)
7. Craft a creative hat (& then try it on unsuspecting family members.)
6. Take the subway or drive to a new area, and be a tourist in your own town.

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If you follow me on Instagram you know we love to go to our neighborhood library every other weekend.

5.Set up your very own Tickle Trunk.
4.Get some help in the kitchen.
3. Check out the local library or community center for free activities.
2. Find a petting zoo – or create your own with animal figurines and stuffed animals!
1. Snuggle up with some sweets and their favorite story – this one’s fun for both the 3-year-olds and the 30-ish-year-olds. 🙂

I will love to know how you keep your little one’s busy!

Love

Arushi (2)

Top 10 Products For Kids That Can Make Traveling Easier For Parents.

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Vir at the Delhi International Airport all set for the long flight

After travelling to over 6 countries and taking several long haul flights with my son when he was baby to now when he is a toddler, I have come across several brands and products that I have loved and hated. We parents on our travel come across so many hiccups like a frantic airport terminal, rogue luggage carts, judgmental passengers and thousands other possible hiccups that can make daily parenting battles a bit more strenuous? So being prepared with the right travel gear and travelling light has become my mantra for traveling!

The key to successfully flying with kids boils down to three things:getting to the airport early, planning, and packing light and the right gear. And extra snacks always help.

Below is a list of items I recommend for travelling with toddlers.

1.) JetKids BedBox

I highly recommend this JetKids Bedbox to all parents who are traveling with their kids in flights especially on long haul flights. We got this for our 23 hour journey to India and I knew that it would simplify traveling for me and my son. This suitcase comes with adjustable strap,two sheets of decorative stickers and a mattress with seat extension.

Although Vir is young to have his feet on the floor to roll the bedbox, he comfortably sat on it while I pulled the jet-box around the airport. The mattress is convenient to extend the seat in the flight and turn it into a bed. It is great for keeping little children’s feet up and also gives space to stretch especially on long flights.

 

 

While sleeping my son’s legs were curled up and although it helped a lot as now there was more space to sleep, the area between the seats is still limited for growing kids to stretch comfortably. It will be perfect for infants! Also I recommend getting an economy plus or the front row seats for more leg room if your are traveling coach. The jetbox also had ample of storage space to hold some snacks,books, iPad and headphones . When my son didn’t feel like sitting on it while we were waking around the airport, he enjoyed pulling it . Since he is still young to understand proper directions , I had to assist him while walking . But older kids will be able to navigate the bedbox very conveniently. We also used the JetKids Bedbox in a train chair car from Kota to Delhi which was a 7 hours journey! And I seriously felt I hit the jackpot as my son slept comfortably on it. Also there was way more leg space than in a flight.

2. A Busy Bag

In my previous post I shared a lot of ideas for toys and activities you need to have ready in case your in flight entertainment is not going as you preferred. I added below items on my list. With growing kids, we need activities that keeps them interested and occupied.

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Water Wow color book – If you don’t already know about it, the Water Wow! is pretty much the greatest coloring book ever invented. I love that there is no hassle of taking markers, paints, or crayons. I bought 2 new books for Vir to keep him busy!

Play dough with new shapes and cutters.

New books -We love reading and so I got some new Pete the Cat books for my son. For older kids I recommend some cultural books that can educate them more about the destination. Please send me recommendations if you have any for India.

3. Foldable earphones

earphones JL BuddyWe have the J Buddies folding headphones that are east to pack in a bag and not bulky. Also they aren’t too expensive so I am not worried about misplacing them.

 

 

4.Tablet

We can’t leave without one anywhere. And the tablet or ipad is absolutely a must when locked in an aircraft. I took it out only when Vir was done with everything else or when I needed to catch a nap for atleast 1 hour. We took the youtube subscription where you can download the videos in offline mode. I also downloaded his favorite Nat Geo animal documentary series and many games.  I highly recommend having a variety of age appropriate games to keep them busy. And one tip, definitely download some new games and videos that you think the kids will enjoy.

5. Fold-able potty seat

potty seatWe are still working on potty training so I made sure we had a convenient potty seat that I can carry with me anywhere. Thanks to my cousin I was introduced to this easy to carry potty seat that came with liners and a carry bag. And yes it was so convenient than buying a potty seat in India and carrying it within the cities I was going too.

 

 

6.Hand sanitizer and wipes

We cant do without wipes, but we carried a big and small pack for lots of cleaning. The hand sanitizer is very important on travels. I didn’t want Vir to be sick for any reason and was almost sanitizing hands almost every few hours in flight and outdoors.

7.Blanket and sleeping toy

I definitely recommend carrying your child’s favorite blanket and plush toy. Its is especially helpful in a long flight and also when you are sleeping in new places and  beds. My son slept comfortably with his Pooh everywhere and I carried it with me on flight and in train too.

8. Collapsible bottle 

BOTTLEOne of my favorite gift items and must have item for people on the go. This collapsible bottle from Hydaway is truly the best. It is ultra portable, easy to pack , non toxic and leak proof. This is one of the portable bottles that have a spout , so my son was able to sip easily. I carry it with me everywhere, and the best part is that there is no need to carry any plastic bottles that take space in a backpack or bag.

 

 

9.Insulated food jar

Thermos jarThis jar has saved us so many times. If your baby or toddler is eating solids but is picky, likes warm snacks, or is just not into eating restaurant food yet (and you aren’t too keen on always giving them jars of pre-packaged food), I would bring along one of these Thermos insulated jars.

 

10. Tegu Blocks

We love the Tegu Blocks  as they are so easy to carry and stick to each other. I love the convenience of having a simple and compact toy that is so versatile. Definitely get a new one for a long flight so it keeps them interested.tegu blocks

I hope you find these recommendations helpful . Also you can read some more information on travelling with kids/ babies below on my previous blog posts.

 

 

Airplane Busy Bag Must Haves + Tips on Flying Internationally with a Baby or Toddler

A Pediatrician’s advice on caring for your child’s health while travelling to a new country

Tips for Traveling with a baby. (Our short trip to New York)

How I Survived a Long Haul Flight With a Lap Baby

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Girl Room (1)

Arushi (2)

5 Ways To Make Bath Time Safe And Easy For Kids

This post is sponsored by JOHNSON’S®. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

As a working mom, especially one who travels every month, I often feel guilty about missing some remarkable moments with my son. So, I have made special rituals to combat this guilt. From going on long bike rides with my son in the evening after I pick him up from the daycare, to singing his favorite nursery rhymes during his bath time, I make sure I am present and am making the most of every moment when I am with him.

My son looks forward to his bubble bath every night before he goes to sleep. He holds my hand and climbs up the stairs chanting, “bubble bath mama,” till we reach his room. We have introduced a waterfall station and a few bath toys to make this experience more fun. From rubber ducks, to boats, a funnel, spoons, cups—I got him some bath crayons too.

I believe sticking to a routine, such as a bath before bedtime, has been very crucial in sleep training my son. I always bathe him before sleep when he isn’t too hungry and not too full. This daily routine has become a special bonding experience for both of us as we make it more interactive by singing songs, practicing ABCs and counting together. I love to see my son giggling and splashing, and honestly it takes away all my stress after a long day. So instead of rushing through it like a chore, we take advantage of bath time by turning it into a fun and sensory activity!

As a long-trusted brand for me and my husband, we’ve been using JOHNSON’S® baby products for a very long time with our son (I too use these products). The company has recently redesigned all of their washes, lotions and hair care products and reduces the ingredients in their portfolio by more than 50%, including sulfates and dyes!

The baby shampoo is our favorite! I love the tender fragrance and how it rinses easily.

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The gentle formula helps keep my son’s hair soft, shiny, manageable and clean, while maintaining a fresh smell. Personally, I cherish nothing more in this world than wrapping my freshly bathed son in a towel and inhaling that soft, damp, fuzzy head. Not only does the shampoo make my son’s hair shiny, but also enhances the post-bathing and sleeping routine experience for us.

 

I would also like to point out that within these 2 years, I have realized there are different safety concerns involved during bath time. Apart from ensuring that we use gentle bath products on our child, we also need to avoid any bathroom injuries. Here are a few tips I use:

  1. Supervision– I never leave my son in the bathtub unsupervised. If there was something to attend to immediately, I would wrap him in a towel and carry him with me.
  2. Slips and falls: With an active toddler, there is hardly any sitting involved for more than a few minutes. Also, with soapy water there are chances to slip and fall and so I installed a no-slip mat on the bottom of the bathtub. Cushioned water faucet covers are a must as well, to avoid any head bumps. Also, we always make sure the toilet lid is closed to avoid any accidents.
  3. Water temperature: Now that my son is two years old, he can turn the faucets, so I am working on teaching him how to start the cold water and not turn it over all the way to hot. However, monitoring during bath time is always important—even if they understand the differences in the faucets.
  4. Toiletry storage: Although most of the medicines and products have child- resistant caps, they are not childproof. I always make sure that the toothpaste, shampoo, soaps and other products are in a hard-to-reach cabinet with safety locks and latches.
  5. Door lock safety- Recently, my son learned how to turn the door locks. From that moment, we realized we needed to keep a close watch during bath time, so he doesn’t lock himself in the bathroom. I recommend attaching a latch on the door that is to your height, so that your child doesn’t get locked in the bathroom when/if  you aren’t around or turn your back for a minute

I hope these safety tips help you prepare for the fun toddler stage, where bath time turns into an exciting activity. Thankfully a brand like JOHNSON’S® has been providing safe products that are formulated and designed with baby in mind for over 120 years and has taken away one bathing worry off parents’ mind. Did you know JOHNSON’S® is the 1st baby skincare company to study how baby’s skin develops from birth and evaluates products across different skin ethnicities and continents? Also, JOHNSON’S® has been leading science and setting global standards in baby skincare by developing high-quality products that are safe and extensively tested.

Happy bath time!

Arushi (2)

Tips for Travelling and Working Moms. Handling the emotional logistics while on a business trip (3)

The Gift of Gentleness. How I am working towards raising a gentle and compassionate child.

 

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This post was sponsored by JOHNSON’S ®, as always opinions are my own

 

“You cannot give your children what you do not have.”

– Brene Brown

 

This is one of my favorite parenting quotes and a good reminder for us to teach and character-build our children. This also include confidence, resilience, perseverance, kindness and self-esteem. But to teach this, we must first exhibit these characteristics ourselves.

When I was pregnant, I couldn’t stop myself from finding out the gender of my child. One of the biggest reasons was choosing the name early on. It was important to me to bond and connect with the life growing inside me. The feeling of having a child, a baby boy, became more real to us at that moment.

This also helped me prepare for a boy. I’d spent time thinking about how I’d raise a baby boy to be strong and gentle and to not feel forced into the super hero, big muscles and bravery stereotypes. For every car or truck toy I have given to my little boy, I gave him a color book or musical instrument.

While growing up my mom empowered me by laying emphasis on dreaming big and not be confined to society’s boxes. Similarly, I knew I didn’t want to raise my boy with society’s idea of a real man. I want to raise a little man who knows that it’s ok to cry; who knows what it means to respect others, including animals; that showing compassion and empathy is a good thing; and that if he’d rather play with a soft toy than an action figure, that it is just fine with me. Also, I remind myself every day that I too need to be gentle with his dreams and ambitions.

I can’t believe our baby is already a feisty two-year-old, and is growing, learning and exploring the world daily. We are ensuring he learns to be kind with actions and soon with his thoughts. Now that Vir is in full toddler mode, he has become incredibly enthusiastic about both exploring things and asserting his will. Kids at this age don’t understand that pushing and pulling can hurt someone and so we are teaching him how to be gentle to his friends at daycare and to his furry brother at home. By patting or caressing his hand, we tell him, “This is Gentle.” One of the best ways to explain to him this concept has been to practice it with his favorite stuff toy.

When a company too thinks like a parent, you know that they are doing something right. Like how I want to be gentle with my child’s dream and ambitions, and want my child to be kind and caring to the world, JOHNSON’S mission for last 125 years has been to create the gentlest baby products in the world. When I think of JOHNSON’S I think of pure. And for that reason, I grew up using JOHNSON’S products and today, my son is also growing up with the same. The brand recently redesigned all their washes, lotions, and haircare products and reduced the number of ingredients by more than 50%, including removing sulfates and dyes!

What caught my attention is that 96% of the ingredients in their products are naturally derived.

I wanted to share with you why JOHNSON’S new standard of gentle guided by the below five promises to parents struck a chord with me. Here are the 5 promises made by the company:

  1. Use Purposeful ingredients
  2. Never stop raising the bar
  3. Be open and honest
  4. Think like a parent first
  5. Help make the world a gentle place.

I want to use a brand in my daily routine that wants to make the world a better place. In our home we try to practice this in our daily life by choosing goods and services that give back to the community or care for our environment or even source raw materials that are fairly traded. This is the simplest ways to make sure a portion of every dollar or cent we spend goes to a better cause as well.

When I dug deeper to see how JOHNSON’S contributes to the community, I was glad to find that they partner with Save The Children on international efforts to provide healthcare, aid and education to families in communities affected by crisis or poverty. This promise resonated with me at many levels. One of the life lessons taught by my dad was to give back to the poor and needy. And every year on Diwali, we would visit an orphanage in Bombay and celebrate the spirit of Diwali with the kids by playing board games, sharing sweets and gifts and dancing to some Bollywood music. That life lesson did change the world for me and my brother when I was 11 and my brother was 9 years old. We have continued this tradition and have promised to give back to the community what we can, when we can. I want to continue this tradition with my son too and teach him the importance of being kind, generous, loving and help make the world a gentler place.

Here are few things we are working on at our home to make sure we teach our son the characteristics that we as parents can model first.

  • Think before reacting. This is something I am working on myself daily. As moms our patience get tested every minute however, I am trying to take the time to think about how my reactions and responses affect others, especially my kid.
  • React in a calm manner. Screaming only escalates the situation with my toddler, so I have realized approaching a situation more calmly is the best way to react. I sit down at his eye level and look right into eyes to let him know what he did was wrong or he needs to stop it. This is a work in progress lesson. It’s all about the tone in our voice, and so speaking softly is one of them.
  • Teach our kids to empathize with others. As I mentioned above, the best way to tell our kids to not end up hurting anyone is by being gentle. I often tell my son that please don’t give anyone “Ouchie” as it hurts, Mama doesn’t like Ouchies. He has started to understand and relate the concept and we are trying to ensure that there are no signs of hitting, biting or pulling expressed by our child.

  • Always Respond with kindness. Teaching our child ways to treat things with care helps him develop the understanding that actions have consequences. We are ensuring our son understand that he needs to share his toys with kids in the park. Also, I have started to say sorry to my son if I have been short tempered with him. All parents make mistakes. It’s how you address them afterwards that makes the difference. He’ll learn that everyone, even Mom, admits it when she’s wrong.

We have influence in fostering our child’s ability to empathize, with so much hatred and turmoil in the world today, it seems more important than ever to raise kids who can understand and be kind to other people.

Love

arushi

5 Fun Ways to Celebrate Holi at Home With Your Kids. Free Holi Banner Included

Among the many festivals we celebrate, HOLI has always been my favorite since childhood. This year I am so excited about being able to share my love for Holi with my son . Although he is very young to understand the culture and its essence in our lives, I cannot wait for him to sprinkle colored powder on me and enjoy the water balloons and water pistol battles with his friends and siblings in the years to come.

Simply defined HOLI is the celebration of the vibrancy of spring, fertility, love and the triumph of good over evil. The festival is usually celebrated in March and signals the coming of spring in India. It’s the start of new hopes and relationships, signified through the burst of colors everywhere. Holi is also about warmer weather, sweet delicacies and of course, special Holi crafts and activities for kids.

In this post I am sharing some fun ideas to enjoy the festival of colors with some easy to do colorful play for toddlers. Also, I made this

PRINT THIS BANNER FOR 

Pre and  Post Holi picture memories. 

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CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE HOLI BANNER by thesnazzymom.com

I got the print out from Office depot on four A4 sheets. You can get them laminated so that they are sturdy and can be reused later. Note you will have to cut them into circles and can use tape to attach them to a thread. I used white wool.

DIY,  TWO INGREDIENT EDIBLE PAINT FOR BABIES.

Last year during Holi, our son was only 7 months old. We celebrated the festival with him with these simple and safe DIY water colors in our bath tub. It’s a great activity for babies and note the paints are edible too.

Click here for the post and make your own paints

 FLOWER HOLI

We also played Holi outside with some rose petals. Our son  wasn’t interested earlier but later tried to throw the rose petals and joined in the fun. Playing with rose petals will also make great photo opportunities with your baby. Try it out and let me know.

RAINBOW FOAM BUBBLES PARTY

rainbow soap

Picture by Funathomewithkids.com

Rainbow Foam bubbles is a great sensory activity for kids to play and learn colors and celebrate Holi in a fun and easy way.  Note this will be good for older kids as younger kids might eat the foam and the soap could also get in their eyes.

Click here for the post and learn to make the colored foam bubbles.

COLORED TOASTS FOR TREATS

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Picture by HelloWonderful.co

Rainbow toasts is a must try! You can remove the sprinkles and just get your little one to eat his/her toast when they are fussy. It is also a great kids party snack idea and healthier than cake, cookies or donuts. The frosting is actually cream cheese and not frosting!

Click here for full recipe.

FUNFETTI MALAI KULFI IN EDIBLE SPRINKLE BOWLS

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Picture by LoveLaughMirch.com

A modern and colorful take on traditional malai kulfi. This frozen desert is a staple on Indian festivals and this twist of sprinkles will add some more fun to your Holi celebrations ! Also a great way to involve older kids in the festivities of making fun, delicious and colorful dessert while making memories. Check out this latest blog post on making this delicious desert . Sprinkle some colors on my Kulfi !!

I wish you a fun filled HOLI with your friends and family and these ideas can add to the celebration !!

HAPPY HOLI !! XOXO

Arushi (2)

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How My Toddler is Learning Basic Life Skills Through Age Appropriate Chores

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Few months back I observed my little guy wanted to lend a hand in our daily home chores. He insisted on holding the mop or putting the clothes in the washing machine to feeding our pet. I thought it would just be a temporary phase and he would soon be bored of it. However, to my surprise my 20-month-old loves to be busy with these daily tasks and now it has become more of a daily fun routine for us. ( #momwin )

There are many benefits of house chore for kids. First and foremost, it is some Help after all !

But one of the main benefits is that giving my son his own special chores has made him more confident of his still developing skills. He feels valued and appreciated with the plenty of praise we offer him after he completed his chore. Also, he can concentrate longer and his sense of coordination has improved too. I have also used this opportunity to teach him the concept of responsibility from an early age by reminding him about the tasks he need to complete like cleaning up after play and feeding our pet a treat after a walk.

Before I share my list of chores I want to say that we should take the advantage of our child’s desire to imitate whatever we as parent work on at home. Children are natural imitators they learn everything by watching us. Therefore, it is so important to allow them to watch you work from the time they are born. Modeling how work should be done and assisting your child can be tough. Sometimes it can even be painful. But by asking them to leave you alone when you are doing a chore, might send an idea that they are not good enough or they don’t need to help, since mom will do everything for them.

I have realized young children love to feel useful and want to help around the house. I had read somewhere that

“Allowing them to help, even when it makes it harder for us, encourages this aspect of their nature. When we discourage them from helping, we eliminate this natural tendency.”

This left an impact on me and I worked with my son on this thought.

Below are few steps I recommend to engage your kid or toddler in your household chores. You can also make a chore chart for older kids. At the end of this post I have one image that you can save or Pin.

Simply invite and allow your child to help. If your child is not interested… no problem. No pushing, forcing, or shaming. The kid will usually find something else to do, which is a win win situation.

Using kind works like please, thank you, very good … etc. matters. As all our kids want is to be like us and to please us

Guide your child on what he or she is doing. Help them help you.

Unless there is a safety issue, allow your child struggle and figure things out on their own whenever possible. Don’t help your child unless they absolutely need it.

And always praise their effort not their ability. I try to use phrased like “Thankyou Vir, you are doing a great job. I really appreciate the help” I know he will not understand all of it now, but he knows he is being appreciated and will associate the words as positive reinforcement.

Below are a few home chores ideas we introduced to our son in past few months-

  1. Toys Clean Up – Once my son is done playing with his mega blocks or the plastic dinner wear in my kitchen’s pantry closet, I start repeating “Clean Up, Let’s Clean Up” and picking up the blocks, toys and putting them in their place. He follows along and once it’s all done we clap!
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My little Helper ! Time to unload the dishwasher

  1. Unload the Dish washer – I take out all the sharp knives and dangerous items, then ask my toddler to pass me the plates , spoons, spatulas from the dishwasher and sort them too. This way he is also learning the different kitchen items
  2. Sweep Up– With the swiffer and small broom, our son likes to brush up old cereal pieces and make a pile. He has seen me using our handheld vacuum cleaner and is also now reaching to hold it and to clean up the dirt we collected.
  3. Helping with laundry–I ask my son to get his dirty clothes from his laundry bin and place them one by one in the washing machine. Post which I put in the detergent and let him finally slam the door shut and press the button of the washing cycle.  It’s obvious he likes the slamming most.
  4. Cleaning the high chair – I spray with water he wipes down the table Or vica-versa.
  5. Putting books away– We do a lot of reading in our family and mainly I like to read on the couch or the bed, so by the end of the day, there are usually several piles of books scattered around the house. He helps collect the books and bring them back to the right shelves or baskets.
  6. Throwing diapers and plastic wrappers– This is simple and self-explanatory. Also, now my son has started getting me all plastic wrappers and any bits and pieces of paper on the floor to throw away in the trash. Yesterday I saw him open the trash and throw his juice box after he was done.
  7. Watering the house plant – We recently started to do this. He likes to pour water and balance the cup so the water doesn’t spill. I give him a small plastic cup to water our house plant. This way he knows to care for the plant too.
  8. Fill the Pet’s dish– My son loves his furry brother “Rio”, he cares for him a lot and loves to share his toys and food with him every day. Once we are back from our daily walks he offers Rio a bone and fills in a fist full of kibbles in his dish for dinner.
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Too much fun with the Swiffer

Home life is one of the developmental domains of childhood along with language (reading), math, science, art, music, gross motor, fine motor, sensory, and social-emotional learning. The primary lesson of home life is learning how to help around the house and learn to become independent. Are you raising a Helper? Do share your thoughts in the comment below.

Arushi (2)

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Airplane Busy Bag Must Haves + Tips on Flying Internationally with a Baby or Toddler

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A recent pic from our Portugal travel diaries. (Pena Palace,Sintra)

Me and my husband love to embrace adventure and explore new places. The idea of exploring this big beautiful world with our toddler is exciting.  Yes it takes a lot of work, time, patience and planning and no doubt it gets difficult sometimes too. But, then anything difficult has the opportunity to help you grow. I have realized after travelling to 4 countries and total of 6 destinations this year with my son,  that each trip comes with new challenges and learnings.

In this post I will be sharing all the different techniques l learned from our past travels for not just surviving but thriving with a growing toddler on our travels.

In April we travelled to Switzerland & Amsterdam for 2 weeks,(Post here with our travel pics and more tips) Our son was 10 months old at that time . His major food source was formula, he was crawling and standing with support and was understanding just a few words. This is a good age to travel as they sleeping comfortably in the stroller.

My learnings from that trip was –

  1. Always carry at least 2 days worth of formula or milk in the carryon luggage, to avoid shopping for your baby’s food in a foreign land (with packaging in foreign language) since they are chances your baggage can be delayed
  2. Try to take only red eye flights so your baby can sleep in your lap and not be awake throughout your ten hour journey
  3. Every country is not baby bathroom friendly (We faced this issue in Amsterdam). It was almost impossible to find a restroom that had a changing table in the city.

In July we travelled to Los Cabos, Mexico (Our Vacay pics are here ) for a 3 day getaway when our son was 13 months, almost walking,  drinking cow’s milk and eating real food.

My learnings from this trip was-

  1. Always carry extra food on the flight or places you visit at your destination -like bread, cheese, fruit or any other snacks, as you will run out of them especially if your kid throws everything on the floor. Be prepared if you have a picky eater at this age.
  2. Plan your day trips around the kid’s nap schedule so they can be happy when you plan to step out, since a tired kid and cranky kid can cause stress if you are miles or hours away from your hotel.

In September we travelled to Seattle for a 4 day trip, where Vir was walking, eating well and understanding many words and communicating with us.

My learnings from this trip was

  1. Even though kids are tiny and can fit in your lap easily, it is a good choice to get their own seat for more comfort. (I carried a pillow with me on the flight on which our son comfortably laid across me and my husband )
  2. Once they learn to walk, it will be hard to have them seated in a stroller for long periods of time, so be prepared to carry them in a baby/toddler carrier or in your arms half of the time when you are sightseeing or shopping.
  3. The best way to keep them excited about visiting new locations is to allow them to explore it by running around in a safe place and burn all that energy. Once they are tired they eat peacefully and want to sit in the stroller.

 Post these travels I started to plan ahead of time on what I need to do for our recent vacation to Portugal. We were now aware of all possible scenarios   – covering in flight entertainment, meal preps at destinations, planning the day trip around the toddler’s schedule, dealing with jetlag , expected crankiness  and meltdowns at public spaces etc.

However my biggest concern this time around was to handle the 14 hour journey with an extremely active and energetic 18 month toddler.  Unfortunately we didn’t get a red eye flight from Houston to Lisbon and for that reason I worked on my BUSY BAG solution to keep my little guy occupied with the least amount of screen time possible.

Below are the items I used in the busy bag that was a huge success in keeping my little one entertained.  Honestly, I was so happy my tricks worked and we had a smooth journey.  Also as expected my son didn’t sleep the entire flight, which means I had to keep him engaged for over 14 hours.

15 Dinner Ideas for You and Your DadToys

I only pack items that are small and can be sorted, stacked, or otherwise moved from place to place. My son’s favorite are his pull back Cars from My B toys  (good for play at the airport ) Finger puppets, legos , a musical remote,  wooden activity board were a huge hit too. The buckle toywas a new toy we introduced on the plane, it’s great for learning basic skills and kept Vir busy for over 15 minutes.

Books

Small board books with flaps are great to engage also try getting new books so it keeps them interested , I really like this Water coloring On the Go book

Craft Play

Play Dough is low mess and easy to pack , my son tries to eat it but he enjoys cutting it and pressing it too. You can also get felt activity books.

Games

Flashcards are fun and also cheap, easy to find at the dollar store or at Target dollar bin, I never feel sad about losing half the cards by the end of the trip). (They’re great for quizzing her on words and sounds, and making piles to stack and counting the cards as we put them back in the box (that’s a game, right?)

SNACKS

Anything bite-sized is perfect for little fingers…plus, it stretches out the snacking time twice as long. YOU CAN NEVER HAVE TOO MANY SNACKS. I probably pack twice as many snacks as toys, because snacks double as entertainment. When it doubt, get out the snacks. I always carry the Oat bars from Happy Baby, raisins, fruit, cheerios , yogurt and for long haul flights even get homemade pasta, veggie sandwich or  veggie muffins(Recipe here)  and very importantly Horizon organic low fat milk. Always carry extra milk and yes these packs are allowed in flight in carry on luggage along with any other baby food.

Random Things like

Glow stick was very helpful to divert his attention if he was cranky and great play when it got dark on the flight. Stickers are fun to carry too.

Screen time (And yes the ace in your bag of tricks when everything fails )

Let’s face it. As much as I try to avoid giving our toddler the tablet, it’s going to happen on travel days. We expect a lot out of our little guy and we definitely push our limits of what a little body can handle, so I find that bending the rules and treating him to the Amazon Fire HD tablet and his favorite snacks is the least we can do to help ease the stress for everyone involved.

Downloads Shows  from  Amazon Prime or Netflix, Little Baby Bum, Super Simple Songs, Word Party, and Sesame Street are a few of our favorites.

Fun and educational Apps like Peekaboo Barn, PBS kids, Happy Valley Friends and Sago Mini Truck and Diggers are few of our favorites.

I completely forgot to carry headphones for my kid , so definitely going to carry them on our trips moving  forward .

Here is more information and tips on travelling with kids.

A pediatrician’s advice on caring for your child’s health while travelling

How I survived a long haul flight with a lap child

How I prepare to leave my Breastfed baby for a work trip

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Vir wanted to stand for sometime and play on his ping board in the flight

Hope this post was helpful, please do share any tricks or tips you have on travelling with kids. Please feel free to leave me your questions and I will get back to them as early as I can .

XOXO

Arushi (2)