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Family travel for children can be fun and exciting, but sometimes the kids get bored on the journey there and back. Packing a backpack full of easy to transport activities can alleviate the “I’m so bored” argument and keep your child occupied (and the driver sane). Not only will this feel like a life-saver to you, but your child will feel important and responsible by keeping up with their own bag. Here are a few tips of what to include in your child’s activity backpack to make that spring break holiday or summer vacation that much easier for everyone:
Healthy Snacks – A small bag of healthy munchies will help satisfy the endless hunger children seem to experience while traveling. They can also be enjoyed while making a stop at an odd roadside attraction.
Crayons – A box of crayons will come in handy. Just be sure to place them in a plastic zip bag. The boxes the crayons come in always seem to fall apart. You’ll have colors everywhere rolling around on your floorboard or the airport floors.
Activity Sheets – Enchanted Learning offers educational color sheets for every occasion. Select the activities by the theme of your trip or your child’s interests.
Journal – If your child can write, encourage journaling so they will always remember their trip, such as a visit to an aquarium or zoo.
Sketch pad – A small sketch pad can provide imaginative entertainment for your child. Don’t forget the pencils! The sketch paper can also be useful for tic-tac-toe, hangman, and other easy games.
Compass – Your child will have fun using a compass to keep up with the direction of travel. Plus, you never know when the driver will need it.
Deck of Cards – The kids and parents can make use of these.
Books – They are never too young to enjoy reading.
Travel Size Games – Retail stores sell miniature travel sizes of popular games. Some of them are magnetic, reducing the chances of losing a piece.
Legos – A small plastic container of Legos can occupy a child for hours. This was a life-saver when mine were smaller. My son would sit in the hotel room and play quietly while I unpacked in our hotel or resort room.
The choices are endless and can vary from child to child. Don’t forget to pack other essentials such as wipes, a toothbrush (for after the snacks), handheld video games and extra batteries for any electronics. Portable DVD players can be a lifesaver after all the other activities have been exhausted. Also, giving your child a map will not only make him/her feel important, but they might even learn a bit of geography!
Children are like sponges, soaking up every experience. You can sneak in a bit of education, but the most important activity is to have fun as a family and create lasting family travel memories.
Can’t see the video? Watch it on YouTube.
If anyone has ever noticed the footer on this website, they’ll see that TravelingMamas.com is not only powered by the WordPress content management system, but also Community Coffee. I’ve personally been drinking this caffeinated brew since I was a toddler watching Saturday morning cartoons and my mother would prepare a diluted version of cafe au lait (coffee milk) in my sippy cup.
Community Coffee may not be popular with the trendy Los Angeles or NYC java drinkers, but that’s because these coffee drinkers have yet to sample a quality cup of Joe by this honest, family-owned company. The name says it all – Community. This private company has been around for over 90 years and has been an integral part of business deals and law passing in Louisiana. They also support local schools with Community Cash for Schools program. In their subtle, unassuming manner, this company even supports the places where a few types of their coffee beans are harvested. They quietly have brought prosperity and a means of support to African tribes and South American villages.
This humble company won my heart many years ago and it is apparent that they have the hearts of Louisianians everywhere. Community Coffee kept me going when I worked long, hard nights building the bones TravelingMamas.com and many of the other sites I’ve created and developed. It gave me a much needed boost as I finished the manuscript of my latest book. It keeps me and coworkers awake and aware as we work many long nights and weekends in the emergency services field. Community Coffee was even there when my grandfather passed away and the family gathered at his farm after his funeral, adding a small bit of comfort to our family during a time of grief and remembrance. Most recently, Community Coffee helped me get through my son’s recent emergency surgery. Their CC’s Coffee Shop employees at Our Lady of the Lake Hospital in Baton Rouge gave me a laugh and smile with their personalities (see below).
Community Coffee doesn’t brag about what they’ve done for almost a century. Instead, this company focuses their energy on continually providing a quality product that brings family and friends together. For some that have moved away, a sip of fresh brewed Community Coffee may spark a memory of their time living in Louisiana.
Community Coffee has gernerously supplied a gift pack of their New Orleans Blend coffee and a Fleur-de-Lis travel tumbler for one randomly chosen commenter. I have one of these tumblers and take it with me anytime I leave the house. Its shape fits comfortably in my hand and always sparks up a conversation, either by someone in an airport who misses Louisiana or a passerby hollering “Whodat!”
Rules: Leave one comment per email address regarding your experience with Community Coffee or if you haven’t tried it, just say you haven’t tried it. Want extra entries? Fan Community Coffee Company on Facebook and/or tweet about them on Twitter (@CommunityCoffee). Leave another comment stating you’re a fan and another that you’ve tweeted about it. Must be a US or Canadian citizen at least 18 years old. Contest ends 11:59pm (CST) Tuesday March 2, 2010. Winner will be notified by email and must supply mailing address within three days of contest closing or will forfeit their prize, which will be awarded to another entrant.
This contest item was supplied by the company and has in no way influenced my opinion. I’ve been using this product for 34 years and have no problem in promoting something I use every day. Community Coffee is available online and in select stores throughout the southern United States.
Update: A few entries commented about the one-cup coffee pods for those hotels that use this style coffee maker. Community Coffee has them available for purchase – Community Coffee One-Cup Coffee Pods.
“Sadly, I have never tasted Community Coffee….after reading about it here, I feel my life has been incomplete without it. I love coffee and would love to try this java taste bud sensation!”
Jaque, let us know what you think of your fabulous travel tumbler and Community Coffee New Orleans Blend.
Just before the Olympic Opening Ceremonies NBC aired a Tom Brokaw segment on the relationship between the US and Canada. I watched the beautiful scenery play before my eyes and the history of a country that is so close, yet to some of us, so far away.
Canada is a beautiful country inhabited by the nicest people. I’ve been to Vancouver, Quebec City and Montreal. During each visit I only encountered kindness and friendliness. Social media has also brought me closer to the people of Canada and being asked to speak at Canada e-Connect was an honor. I hope to stay in touch with many of the personalities who crossed my path and visit other parts of this gorgeous and rugged country.
When I think of Canada, I see visions of First Nations People, Anne of Green Gables and a fluffy white snowman called Bonhomme. I think of maple leaves, snow and more recently the Winter Olympics. What do you think of when someone mentions Canada?
The story behind Ecogear is simple, as told by Ecogear’s founder, Jimmy Chen:
“My inspiration for creating eco-friendly bags came while I was on vacation with my family. In the summer of 2006, watched my kids play on the beach. Realizing how special these moments were and thinking about how fast my kids were growing up, I was struck by a thought. What can I do to help to ensure my children have a clean and healthy planet to enjoy?”
Jimmy not only had the environment and his kids in mind when developing products, but also the moms who travel and make the purchases. These bags come in a variety of styles and colors to suit any personality. The best part? Ecogear products are not only eco-friendly but they’re super-affordable!
The company sent me a sample from their new Earth Series so that I could test it out while on the road. I was delighted to open the box and see the color – pink. I’m always on the lookout for bags that are colorful and make a statement. The Fjord messenger-style bag looked a bit small at first glance, but I soon found out just how much this smaller bag can handle.
The Earth Series by Ecogear is a sustainable line of bags made from RPET (recycled polyethylene terephthalate) water bottles with PVC/toxic free backing. The buckles are recycled plastic and includes natural cotton webbing and details.
I tested this bag on a day trip to Houmas House Plantation and Gardens to research their Art Gumbo Days which are held on the third Saturday of each month. I was able to pack my mini-notebook in the larger back padded pocket. In the front area I placed my Canon Digital Rebel SLR, with extra lens, travel harddrive and various other travel writer supplies. In a side pocket I packed a small reporter’s notepad and my Blackberry (along with a few dollars to get a morning Mimosa at the Turtle Bar). The other side pocket was claimed by my mother, who didn’t want to carry around a purse.
The Ecogear Earth Series Fjord would make a decent diaper bag in addition to doubling as a traveling mama’s best friend. I still had room to add a few magazines and full size folders inside the back pocket. The strap expands for carrying messenger-style, but can be folded nicely and secured by the padded velcro strap to act as a handle.
This item is currently available at Ecogear’s official website for a retail price of $39.99. Other products, including the sassy kid’s line start at $17.99. The Ecozoo line would be a hit with the little kids and they retail at $29.99 and there are other styles available for the men of the family. Follow Ecogear on Twitter @Ecogear
This product impressed me with both quality and affordability, making it On the Move Approved.