“Are we there yet?”
How do you keep kids from asking the question (repeatedly) that all parents dread? Pack comfort, convenience, cuddlies and creativity along with their clothing to keep the kiddos entertained and engaged on road trips and plane and train rides – even the long ones.
VERSATILITY WITH A CAPITAL ‘E’
Who better than a kid to know what kids need and want when they travel? Meet EvanMarie Brasington, a savvy 12-year-old entrepreneur who invented the Versillo Travel Pillow ($19.95), a patented, multifunctional travel pillow that can be rolled, scrunched, twisted, cuddled, propped and packed.
Inspired by a pillow shaped like the letter “E” for her first name, EvanMarie set out to create a pillow that would offer outstanding head and neck support and convenient no-hassle storage while traveling for kids and adults alike. But, in this case, the “E” could stand for electronics, as EvanMarie’s pillow also provides a stand for propping up electronic devices for hands-free use.
The machine-washable pillow can be secured to rolling luggage with snaps; placed against the airplane window for side sleeping; arranged on lap or seatback tray to prop a laptop, phone or tablet for movie watching or working; and tucked behind the lower back for lumbar support and relief. It comes in rich blue. (www.versillo.net)
Kids will forget all about their electronics – at least for a while – with portable and practical eco-friendly toys from SO Handmade, including playmats, crayon purses, coloring and travel gift sets, and more. For instance, the Adventure Wallet ($40) is designed to pack along on vacations, road trips, favorite hikes and other destinations. It’s an imagination sparker perfect for an older child who loves to take notes and collect keepsakes of his or her adventures.
Designed by Sarah Omura, the founder, artist and maker of SO Handmade, the hand screen-printed wallet in soft and sturdy canvas fabric features adventure travel themes with its compass, tents and mountains on the exterior and boats, backpacks and “campfire crew” badges on the interior.
The wallet comes with a field notes memo book and a field notes pencil to jot down those important observations. There are slots for four additional pens or pencils; a pocket for tucking maps, passport and leaflets; sewn-in tape measure; and a small, zippered pouch for trinkets and treasures. Kids can attach compass or keys to a keychain stitched into the wallet, fold it closed and secure it with its wooden compass button. A matching passport holder is available. (www.sohandmade.com)
Airplane cabins tend to be nippy, and as parents know, if Baby gets cold, Baby gets irritable. Little Sleepies’ Zippies ($32) has come to the rescue. These buttery-soft sleepers keep kids cozy in cold airplane cabins, but when it gets hot, they also cool kids down, thanks to the custom-milled bamboo fabric from which they are made. Not only that, Zippies feature fold-over feet and mittens so tiny hands and feet stay warm, as well as a double zipper so middle-of-the-night or in-flight diaper changes are easier on Mom or Dad.
Zippies come in a variety of bright colors and cute patterns, like tie-dye, mermaids, rainbows and birthday cakes. Parents can count on the soft, snuggly fabric to do its job regardless of fluctuating temperatures, but it is also gentle on children’s sensitive skin. They can also depend on getting their money’s worth, as Zippies are designed to grow with little ones and fit three times longer than the average sleeper. (www.littlesleepies.com)
Little ones can travel with a BFF with Huggaroo’s puppy or lamb ($39.99/each), adorable and cuddly weighted plushies that make for sweet snuggle and sleep buddies on the road, in a plane or at home.
Stretching out 32 inches long, oh-so-soft Huggaroos are portable and packable and can step in as a warm, comforting travel blankie when needed. An alternative to a weighted blanket, these weighted lap pads calm and ground children with deep pressure stimulation. And with such cute little faces and velvety-soft ears, don’t be surprised if kids fall in love with their puppy or lamb at first sight. The entire lap pad (cover and weighted insert) is machine-washable. (www.huggaroo.com)
SIZED FOR LITTLE EARS
When the kiddos want to plug into a movie or game while on the road or in a plane, hand them a pair of LilGadgets’ Connect+ Pro ($17) high-performance wired children’s headphones, a Gold Recipient of the Mom’s Choice Awards. Compact and foldable, they take up little room in the backpack or bag, leaving plenty of space for travel activities. They are made of SoftTouch material for rugged durability and are non-pinching and comfortable for a child’s head, with snag-free cushioning on the headband and ear pieces.
With a max volume of 93db that reduces outside noise so kids don’t have to crank up the volume, this best-selling model features a larger, over-the-ear headphone that is reinforced with stainless steel. Additionally, the driver range provides a full-spectrum, realistic sound that is crisp and clear. Designed for kids ages 3 and older, the headphones come with a SharePort so two children can share a device without sharing headphones, and they have a built-in microphone. Six colors are offered, including red, blue and purple. Available through Amazon. (www.lilgadgets.com)