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VTech Toys Blog

Discover, Play, & Explore!




Have you ever planned an epic vacation for your family? Something you've looked forward to for months and thought you had everything planned out perfectly? Only to realize an hour into the trip you forgot the cooler. Or the charger for the toddler's favorite toy. As a mom of seven who loves to travel, I'm all about anything that makes our trips go a little smoother. However, I also know that it's hard to remember all the things. Whether it be snacks or screens, blankets or books, I've learned there are just certain items you have to have along for the journey. These family travel hacks will help make your trip less stressful and more fun, whether you're taking to the skies or the open road.



Family Travel Hacks


When planning a family vacation, time is your friend. Take the time to plan ahead and leave the spontaneity for when the kids are older. Young kids thrive on routine and familiarity. Several of these family travel hacks are all about planning ahead. Trust me when I say--it will make all the difference. Don't miss the tech tips I've included for even more help, from the tiniest toddler explorers to the trickiest teenagers.





Pre-travel Hacks

Master the Art of Packing


Packing - the exciting, but time-consuming start to every trip. Clothes and toiletries are kind of a necessity while traveling, even without kids, right? Packing cubes can work wonders for keeping everything organized. You can coordinate outfits for each day, which I find makes your kids easier to spot in a crowd. Try to leave clothes that get excessively wrinkled at home, and roll clothes to save space. Use the smallest packing cubes for all your charging cords--more on that later.


Tech Tip: Use a packing app to create a checklist for each family member. There are several to choose from, and that way, you always have your must-need packing items at the palm of your hand. More old school? Paper and pencil work great, too. Sticky notes are especially helpful for remembering those last-minute items.


Snacks for the Win


Hunger is the arch-nemesis of happy travels, especially with kids. Save yourself from overpriced and limited food options at rest stops or airports. Plan ahead and pack a variety of snacks in easy-to-reach places. Snacks are the last thing you want to be fumbling around for when your toddler is starting to be hangry. If you're on a road trip, keep things cool by freezing juice pouches or water bottles the night before so they can double as ice packs.


Tech Tip: If you're road-tripping, use a navigation app that shows nearby grocery stores or fast food options. This way, you can plan ahead, restocking your cooler with fresh goodies, and giving everyone a stretch break.




Family Travel Hacks on the Go

Entertainment Extravaganza


Whether you're a kid or an adult, nobody likes to be bored. Pack a bag with kid-friendly options for little ones, like coloring books or educational electronics. Items like the VTech Baby Click & Count Remote and the LeapFrog Chat & Count Emoji Phone are easy for babies to grasp in their hands. My littlest traveling companion loves the colors, lights, and sounds of these products. Another VTech product I love for road trips is the I See Me Lion Mirror. With its songs and phrases, it encourages her to work on her language skills and babble back. Plus, you can interact with your rear-facing children from the front seat with the mirror!



For the kids that are a little older, we love the Mr. Pencil's Scribble Write & Read from LeapFrog. Intended for beginner readers ages 3 and above, kids can practice their letter writing and sounding out words. The electronic stylus means that kids can practice over and over again and no pencils go rolling under car seats. The LeapFrog LeapReader Learn-to-Read 10-Book Mega Pack is the perfect option for kids in the 4- to 8-year-old range. This system offers interactive reading that will advance with your growing reader.



It's also great to include a few things that are new to help keep kids busy while traveling. Sometimes just the novelty of an item will greatly increase the amount of time your traveling companions will be captivated, aka. quiet.


Tech Tip: Load up your tablets with educational apps and games. And don't forget to pack headphones for everyone's sanity. Also, remember that many VTech toys have a volume control slider on them for easy sound adjustment.


Power Play


Speaking of electronics, you'll need to keep everything powered up. Before you leave, make sure you have the charging cord, or the needed extra batteries, for everything. Consider getting a power bank that can charge multiple devices at the same time. Label each family member's charger with a different color or sticker to keep everything organized while traveling and at your final destination.


Tech Tip: Make sure you pay special attention to which electronics need cords, and which need batteries. For example, we love the LeapFrog LeapStart Learning Success Bundle for young readers because it's all self-contained in a carrying case that's perfect for traveling! This system takes two AA batteries. However, the LeapFrog LeapReader uses a rechargeable stylus.




Hacks for your Arrival

Create an Essentials Bag


If you're planning a long road trip, streamline your luggage by packing an essentials bag. Include toothbrushes, pajamas, and any bedtime favorites. This way, you won't need to unpack the entire car for a quick pit stop. Likewise, when flying to a destination it's good to pack a small carry-on with things that could get you through if your luggage didn't make it to the airport at the same time as you do... we've all been there.


Tech Tip: Do you or your little ones have trouble sleeping while you're traveling? Consider using a white noise app or a relaxing playlist to create a familiar bedtime atmosphere.


Capture the Memories


This might be the favorite of my family travel hacks! Being in the moment is important, but don't be so in the moment that you forget to capture all the fun memories you're making! Luckily, VTech makes some great products that can let your kids get in on the fun also!



The KidiZoom Smartwatch DX3 from VTech is perfect for kids as young as four. It's sturdy enough for little travelers and gives them the ability to easily snap pictures while they're exploring. My kids have loved capturing moments with us for several years--lots of laughs and memories have been had! Besides that, there are also fun games and other activities included to help keep kids entertained. Did I mention it's water-resistant too?



For slightly older kids, the VTech KidiZoom Creator Cam is a ton of fun. This is a high-definition video camera that comes with a tabletop tripod that's perfect for all those vacation memories. It even comes with a green screen and all the editing can happen on the camera itself. This makes it incredibly easy for your kids to use and create epic home videos all by themselves!


Tech Tip: Nothing can ruin a great picture more easily than a dirty lens. Give your lens a quick swipe with a cleaning cloth or simply your soft shirt before snapping a photo.


What is your favorite family travel hack? Which of these tech tips will you be trying out on your next family adventure?






Author Bio:



Justine Young is the proud owner and content creator of Little Dove, a motherhood and family travel blog. With seven kids causing chaos in the background she navigates motherhood and blogging while constantly planning their next adventure. She has been blogging for over 13 years and her work has been featured in POPSUGAR, Fox 40 Sacramento, and Visit Sacramento Magazine. Justine and her family of nine call northern California their homebase as they explore one national park at a time.




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As a mom of 3, having daily routines is a lifesaver for keeping the household together. We all know parenting can be overwhelming at times so it’s crucial that moms make it a point to find some “me time” throughout the day. Here are a few things that have helped me with my toddler:


Find Me Time Before The Kids Get Up Or After They Go Down

I like to use this time while the house is quiet to really think through the start of my day or wind down from the day. I also use this time to pick up toys and tidy up the house. With the VTech V-Care Over-the-Crib Smart Nursery Baby Monitor, I can lay Sarai down for a nap and watch her in real time.

  

This baby camera has so many features, like a built-in temperature sensor, a built-in night light, and calming lullabies that play right from the camera unit. With a high-definition video like this, I can clearly see and hear Sarai when she wakes up. The best part is I can watch from the parent unit, my phone, or tablet.


Naptime is also another opportunity for us moms to catch our breath. Whether your toddler is napping in their crib or pack-and-play, use this time to unwind. Even if you want to sit in complete silence, prioritize the things that will relax and restore you.




Pull Out All The Interactive Toys

We know toddlers don’t have the longest attention span. Keeping them surrounded with interactive toys that light up and make noise will keep them engaged long enough for me to find time for a breather. Our VTech toys teach fine motor skills, colors, and numbers which make play time just as educational and fun.

 



 

 

Some of Sarai’s toys that keep her engaged for a while are:


She can turn gears, spin the rollers, and move the ladybug slider to flex her little finger muscles. There are motion-activated sounds and music that reward every roll.

 

This colorful book includes six familiar nursery rhymes, and they play by simply turning the pages! The cute illustrations and interactive play features encourage gross and fine motor skills for toddlers.

 

This is the ultimate “keep them occupied during snack time” toy! Kids can learn numbers and objects to help build language skills and gross motor skills. It sticks to any smooth surface using the suction cup so you won’t have to keep picking it up off the floor.



 

Finding “me time” as a mom with a toddler may seem impossible at times but it just requires a little creativity. Every day will look different, and plans may change but remember to show yourself grace and prioritize finding that “me time” throughout the day. So, while you’re filling everyone’s cup being super mom, don’t forget to fill yours too.


 



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author Bio:



Natalie Robinson, also known as Millennialmommyboss, is a wife, mother of 3, banker and a digital life sharer. Her blog and social profile consist of all things Family, Finance, and Fun! She enjoys spending time with her family and hopes to encourages others to create their family memories. She started her blog in 2016 and since then has had the opportunity to partner with household brands her family loves.

 

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Play is more than just fun and games.


When raising a child with a disability, playtime is often the secret sauce to honing skills. We learned early on that working on a new skill through play often helps solidify these skills faster than with regular therapy alone. There’s even brain science to back this up.


So, how do we make sure our daughter is having a blast while getting all these awesome brain benefits? By picking super cool toys that encourage her to move and have fun while working on getting stronger.


We’ve used fun VTech Toys in our home therapy routine for years. Two of the all-stars in our lineup are the KidiStar Karaoke Machine and the KidiGo Basketball Hoop.


These are not your average toys; they make home therapy playtime something our daughter looks forward to.





The VTech KidiStar Karaoke Machine has been one of our favorites for years. Our daughter loves to perform, and it happens to be the perfect toy for her to sing along to her favorite songs while working on her standing balance and weight shifting.


With the KidiStar Karaoke Machine, we are able to incorporate fun and play into otherwise routine exercises. 




The KidiStar Karaoke Machine holds her interest far longer than other standing balance activities. She loves that we can hook up our phones to sing along to any song, which is pretty awesome for mixing things up. Plus, with games, voice changes, a recording option, and a cool disco light, she never runs out of new things to try.


Another of our MVPs for working on therapy goals during play is the VTech KidiGo Basketball Hoop. This is a must-have for any home therapy play session. Like the karaoke machine, the KidiGo Basketball hoop has different games to play so that kids don’t get bored, and it's a fantastic way for her to work on moving her body in new ways.





It’s also super motivating as it lights up and cheers when you score. We’ve come up with endless activities to work on and reinforce specific motor skills.


Because this hoop can easily hang on a door, be mounted on a wall, or even hang over a chair, there are all sorts of possibilities for varied games, making it super versatile for therapy play.






Setting Up the Ideal Play Space


Getting these awesome toys is just the start. You also want to make sure the play area is set up to make the most of them. Here are a few tips:


●      Putting Toys in the Right Spots: Place toys where your child can easily get to them and move around. This way, they’re encouraged to play and move as much as they like, not just during focused therapy time.


●      Letting Kids Choose: Giving kids the power to pick what they want to play with during home therapy makes them feel in charge and motivated.


●      Keeping Challenges Just Right: We use the toys' cool features to set small goals for Maya, ensuring she feels fantastic when she reaches them. This keeps playtime both fun and rewarding.


In short, by choosing the right toys and setting up a great space for play, we can make therapy time fun and motivating.


That's how we make sure Maya gets stronger and happier, one playtime at a time.


 






BIO

 



Ann Tisdale, a disability advocate and author from Michigan, has penned two highly acclaimed children's books about disability. She shares her life with her husband, their three kids, and a three-pawed goldendoodle, weaving her personal experiences into her work to educate and connect with others on the journey.

 


 

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