Christmas Traditions Around the World

Hi Guys,

Sorry for the silence. I promise to be back next week with lots of new books and travel tips! In the meantime, go check out my guest post on Sicily’s Heart and Home where I share our favorite holiday books about holiday traditions around the world.

Happy Holidays!

10 Holiday Gifts for Kids who Travel

Guys, I can’t believe it is already November! I had goals to accomplish before Thanksgiving. Goals like get in shape, eat healthily, and finish my holiday shopping. Well, I exercised once so far this fall and I am sitting here eating peanut M&Ms while I write this so we’ll call the first two goals a work in progress. But I totally rocked the last one. I have almost finished my holiday shopping! Woot woot!

When putting together my gift lists I gravitate toward gifts that travel well. We love to travel as a family and there are many toys, books, and entertainment that make traveling with kids more enjoyable. So this year, I put together my top holiday gifts for kids who travel. Regardless of whether you take a short road trip or a long international flight, these toys for elementary school aged kids are a must have for your trips!

(This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase through these links there is no cost to you, but I receive a small amount of money for the upkeep of this blog. And for coffee.)

Top Ten Holiday Gifts for Kids Who Travel

Travel Games and Toys

A solid collection of travel games will keep kids entertained for hours! Our favorites are:

1.Connect 4 Grab and Go Game

2. Battleship Grab and Go Game

Connect Four and Battleship are classic, fun games. The travel versions are sturdy and durable for anyone who travels. We use them at home as well because the size is easier to store than the full-size versions!

3. Educational Insights Kanoodle

Kanoodle is our favorite travel game because you play it alone! My eight-year-old son loves challenging himself to solve the puzzles while we are in the car. We even take it when we are just running errands or going out to dinner.

4. LEGO Classic Quad Pack 66554 Building Kit

Lego sets are the perfect travel toy. They are small and light. Toss a few handfuls into a ziplock bag and you have hours of fun anywhere. I also love that legos are STEM toys thus meeting the perfect toy criteria-fun and educational!

STEM toys are super popular and make great holiday gifts. Check out Crystal’s page for a great guide of STEM gifts for curious kids!

Recording your Trip

Kids love to record their travels! We love to give travel journals and cameras as gifts because they keep our kids busy for hours on vacation.

5. Kids’ Travel Journal (Interactive Diary, Notebook)

I love this travel journal because it includes games, a space to write about each adventure, and space to draw or paste in photos of the trip.

6. Sony DSCW800/B 20.1 MP Digital Camera (Black)

I love giving kids cameras for so many reasons and this one is a great deal at under $100. Kids love having the ability to take their own photos and videos on any vacation or trip. We find it very helpful when we visit a museum that I know the kids are not really excited about going to. They are always engaged when I give them a camera and challenge them to find the most interesting exhibits in the museum to photograph. Or when I tell them we’ll print the photos to put in their travel journal. It’s always very interesting to see what kids find fascinating. They see so many details that we, as adults, miss! Of course, they also find naked Greek statutes funny so fair warning, you may end up with lots of pictures of nude marble bottoms….

Books, AudioBooks, Electronics

We are a family of readers so you know we pack books on every trip! I recommend a combination of paper activity books and electronic books and audiobooks.

7. Kindle Fire

I’m really not a fan of parking kids in front of electronics but they are really helpful when traveling. I love this tablet because it’s easy to use, it’s easy to find educational, fun game apps, and I can easily control screen time.

8. $25 Gift Card in a Gift Box Reveal (Classic Black Card Design)

Along with a table, I love to give a gift card so the recipient can start filling up their kindle with books and movies. I always recommend getting Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone to listen to on trips! I haven’t met a kid who doesn’t love the story, even if they’ve already read it.

And if you have a Harry Potter fan, check out Beth’s page for more Harry Potter gift ideas for kids! She has a fantastic guide of gifts for Harry Potter fans! (And who isn’t a HP fan?!)

9. LilGadgets Connect+ Pro Premium Volume Limited Wired Headphones with SharePort for Children

You can’t listen to Harry Potter on a plane without a set of good headphones! Also great for kids who want to watch Frozen for the 100000th time in the car.

10. Adventures Around the Globe: Packed Full of Maps, Activities and Over 250 Stickers

I love activity books because they pack well and keep kids entertained for hours. The Lonely Planet Kids activity books rock! They are chock full of information, puzzles, and games. We also love their City Books series. Again, these books fulfill my criteria of a great gift being both educational and fun!

If you want more gifts that make learning fun, visit Julia! I am loving her list of educational gifts for the holidays!

These are my top 10 holiday gifts for kids who travel! This post is part of a blog hop of holiday gifts. For a full list of the best gifts for elementary and school-aged kids, visit Catrina’s page! There are some fantastic ideas for holiday gifts in this year’s gift guide!

What is your favorite holiday travel gift? Let me know in the comments below! And remember to subscribe for blog updates and newsletters!

Top Things to do in Chamonix with Kids

Chamonix, FranceThis past April we fulfilled a dream of mine. I finally went to Europe, specifically Chamonix, France, with the kids. If my husband’s reading this, he’s rolling his eyes because, guys, it’s not like I haven’t been to Europe before. In fact, I am sure I’ve been there more than the average American. I spent a semester of college in London and traveled all over Western Europe. I went to Zurich when I was pregnant with W. But that was 8 years ago. Several circumstances (ahem…law school…law school loans…ahem) have prevented me from returning to Europe until this year. And this is the first time I’ve gone with my husband and kids. To say I was excited about this trip was the understatement of the year. And despite a few hiccups (like when I was deported from Switzerland-read on, friends) we had an amazing time. Chamonix, France is spectacular, the food is amazing, and there is a lot to do in Chamonix with kids!

It all started when we were planning a ski trip and realized that it cost less to fly to Zurich than it did to fly to the Rockies. So we quickly booked our flights and then discussed where to ski. My brother-in-law, M, suggested Chamonix, France, and the planning began! If you know me, you know that planning for a trip is half the fun for me. I read every yelp review. I write list after list of what I want to pack. Even when we visit my family on Cape Cod, I end up with pages of notes. Happily, all the planning was worth it and we had an amazing time.

Getting to Chamonix with Kids

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Books about Strong Princesses

Last week I shared my son, W’s, third-grade reading list.  Not to be left out, Little A asked me to help her chose books to read this fall.  Because Little A loves everything involving sparkles and princesses, but I want her to know that a true princess is smart, strong, brave, and kind, we chose books about strong princesses who are independent, smart, and kind to read this fall!

8 Books About Strong Princesses

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8 Books for Your Third Grader to Read this Fall

*This post contains affiliate links. See disclaimer on homepage.*

Guys, I can’t believe my baby is in the third grade! Wasn’t it just yesterday that he was a tiny baby with a big gummy smile? Time passes too quickly but I can’t deny that I love having another independent reader in the house (and so does amazon.com).

With the beginning of school and fall just around the corner, W and I sat down to put together our fall 2017 third grade-reading list. I purposefully requested he read a few books beyond his reading level and a few books that have a broader message to them than some of the more lighthearted reads from this summer. I promised that we’ll read them together so he’s not struggling with words and concepts on his own. Usually, we read at least one book a month out loud together so that I can help him with new words and so we can discuss the book’s message. Of course, he’s also chosen some fun new books that he’ll read on his own too!

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Book Review Written By A Kid For a Kid: The 26 Story Treehouse by Andy Griffiths

Hi Guys! I’ve mentioned before that my son, W was a reluctant reader. He still prefers Minecraft to books but, at least now he requests reading material. He’s almost done with his summer reading so I asked him to help me out by reviewing his favorite book. With no further ado, here is W’s book review of The 26-Story Treehouse !

The 26 Story Treehouse by Andy Griffiths

This post contains affiliate links to amazon.com. If you purchase anything through these links, I will receive money for the upkeep of this site! There is no cost to you. So click away and buy, my friends.

An 8 Year Old’s Review of The 26 Story Treehouse by Andy Griffiths.

What is this book about?

It’s about these people who live in a 26 story treehouse. It’s 26 stories! It used to be 13, but they added 13 stories. Each book they add 13 more stories.

Who are the people who live in the treehouse?

Andy and Terry. There’s a person who lives in a cottage next to them and her name is Jill.

What’s your favorite floor of the treehouse?

Hmm, that’s hard. Probably the bowling alley because that’s pretty cool to have in a treehouse. Maybe the bumper cars, too.

What’s your favorite part of the book?The 26 Story Treehouse

Top 5 Dumbest things Terry has ever done. Because it’s really funny. Terry put gelatin in the Penguin’s bath. That’s number 5. Number 4 is when he rode his horse along the beach and past a sign that read “Danger Quicksand” and Terry said, “It’s going to work out just fine, Horse!” Number 3 involves rowing with an Elephant Friend. Number 2: Took a boa constrictor to a movie. And number 1: Tried to wash his underpants in a shark tank. (Yes, they have their own shark tank! A man eating shark tank!)

Why do you think people should read this book?

They should read it because it’s funny. It made me laugh a lot. It has some action but mostly it’s really really funny.

Do you recommend the whole series to kids?

Yes, I recommend the whole series but this one is the funniest!

What ages do you think it would be good for?

I think it’s good for maybe six-year-olds to 100-year-olds.

Anything else you want to add?

I just really liked it. That’s it.

Mom’s Review: Book Review: The 26 Story Treehouse

The 26 Story Treehouse is the second book in the series that starts with The 13 Story Treehouse. It’s a hilarious book about the author, Andy, and illustrator, Terry, living in a huge treehouse. I have to hand it to them, they are both super creative. I would never have thought to put a Maze of Doom in a treehouse. Between eating marshmallows the two characters get into and then out of crazy situations.  The jokes are funny and the situations are ridiculous. No kid can resist these illustrated stories. They are great for kids from second to fourth grade.

What are your favorite kids’ books? Do you kids have a favorite? Let me know in the comments below!

Books Review: By a Kid, For A Kid

Don't Avoid Travel with Kids: How to Have Fun with Young Kids at Museums

5 Ways to Keep Kids Happy At Museums

This post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase an item through these links, I receive money for the upkeep of the blog. NO additional fees to you.

Guys, I love museums. I mean, I really love museums. During a college trip to Italy, I dragged all my friends to the tiniest, most obscure museums I could find just to see one or two specific pieces of art. By day three, they revolted and went shopping. Granted, I am an art history minor and my legal interest is in cultural property law so I am definitely biased, but museums are a great place to learn about and interact with world cultures. They are often the highlight of my family vacation. And yet, when I suggest bringing the kids to museums like the Louvre or the Rijksmuseum, I often hear, “They’ll be bored,” or “You should wait until they are older and can appreciate the art,” or “They’ll only have fun at children’s museums.”

Well, the heck with that, I say! There are a lot of ways to engage young kids at museums to set the foundation for a love of culture and learning. Living in DC, my kids happily spend rainy days at the Smithsonians exploring all the exhibits. Here are my top five ways to keep kids happy at museums!

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Blogging 101: Starting a Blog: Lessons from the first month of Blogging

Starting a Blog

 

Starting a Blog: Lessons from the First Month of Blogging!

Happy Friday!  I think the blogging process is fascinating and many of you do too. If you are thinking about starting a blog or are just curious about my blogging journey check out Blogging 101 on the main menu. I just posted How to Blog: Lessons from My First Month of Blogging, which details my stats, future plans for BooksKidsTravel, and resources I’ve found super helpful. I will update Blogging 101 regularly. Guys, I am very honest about what hasn’t worked for me and what has worked so hopefully you will find it useful. Check it out and remember to subscribe!

 

Summer Reading: My 4 year old’s summer reading list!

A few weeks ago, I posted my eight-year-old son’s choices for summer reading.  Not to be left out, his four and a half-year-old (that half year is VERY important!) sister pulled out her favorite books that we are reading this summer.

Little A loves books and spends a lot of time choosing what to read every night. I hope you enjoy her top summer books as much as we do!

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Kid Friendly Cape Cod: Heritage Museums & Gardens and The Adventure Park

photo from https://heritageadventurepark.org

The kids and I are on Cape Cod for two weeks. We have gone to the beach, played mini golf at Pirate’s Cove, eaten more ice cream than we should, and jumped at the inflatable park multiple times. So when I asked William what new activity he wanted to try, he immediately said The Adventure Park at Heritage Museums and Gardens.

*This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase something through the blog, I receive a small amount of money. There are no additional charges to you.*

The Adventure Park at Heritage Museums and Gardens

The Adventure Park is an aerial, forest adventure for ages 7+ in Sandwich, MA. There are five separate climbing trails of varying difficulty. Participants are given harnesses and a brief tutorial before they head out on the trails.  Yellow trails are easiest, green trails are harder, blue trails are intermediate, and black trails are the hardest. Younger kids are limited to the yellow and green trails.

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