Friday, September 28, 2012

Child Safety Month: Emergency Preparedness Tips!

September is Child Safety Month!  Until you have a toddler, it is hard to understand how many facets there are to keeping your littlest family members safe; car seats, childproofing (at home and on the go!), infant/child CPR classes, baby monitors, identification tags, cribs, toys, strollers - and the list goes on and on! 

However, one of the most basic things you can do to keep your children safe is to create a comprehensive listing of all medical and emergency contact  information.  Print multiple copies so that you can post one on your refrigerator at home, pack one in your wallet for whenever you go out, and provide a copy to each of your children's caregivers (i.e. pre-school, after care, sitters, relatives, etc.).  Be sure to include:

Emergency Numbers:
  • Parent's cell phone numbers;
  • Parent's work phone numbers;
  • 911;
  • Non-emergency Police Department phone number;
  • Poison control phone number;
  • Fire department phone number;
  • Child's doctor's practice, name, and phone number;
  • Off-hours doctor's phone number;
  • Child's chart number;
  • Child's dentist's practice, name, and phone number;
  • Address, phone number, and directions to preferred hospital;
  • Emergency contact information for two people other than parents, including:
    • Name;
    • Phone number(s);
    • Relation.
Emergency Information:
  • Home address;
  • Mom's full name;
  • Dad's full name;
  • Child's full name;
  • Child's date of birth;
  • Any allergies, medications, or special conditions;
  • Insurance provider;
  • Insurance provider phone;
  • Insured name and ID;
  • Group ID;
  • Policy ID.
Travel-Tot is pleased to provide an easy-to-use Emergency Information Form here for our readers!  Having such information available all in one place in an easy-to-distribute format could be the difference between life and death, particularly when your child is under the care of someone who may not have all that information committed to memory!

Safe and happy September!
-Destination Mom

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Fantastic Fall Snack Idea!

One of the trademark snacks of autumn in our house is roasted pumpkin seeds; not only are they a delicious treat, they are a ton of fun to make!  Get the whole family involved: from extracting the seeds from the funky pumpkin "guts" to arranging them on a baking sheet, this is an easy, kid-family recipe that'll have your kids begging for more!

image courtesy of SOMMAI/

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

1 1/2 c. raw whole pumpkin seeds

Friday, September 21, 2012

15 Fantastic Fall Family Activities

For adults and kids alike, autumn can seem like the last chance to make a frantic dash to enjoy the great outdoors; as temperatures cool and daylight fades earlier, days seem shorter.  But  fall is also one of the best seasons for creating fantastic family fun!  Below are fifteen of our favorite fall family activities to help inspire you and your family to get out and enjoy all the season has to offer:

  1. Hiking: From the stunning foliage to the interesting natural wonders your children find along the path, hiking offers families a great chance to connect to one another and the natural world around them!
  2. Apple picking: Orchards are bursting with apples in the fall and spending an afternoon collecting these delicious fruits can pay huge dividends; apples are great for everything from cooking and baking to arts and crafts!
  3. Hayrides: Quintessential family fun; many hayrides offer families beautiful tours of farmland as well as a great chance to engage in sing-alongs or story telling together!
  4. Pumpkin picking: There is endless fun to be had in traipsing about fields filled with enormous pumpkins ripe for the picking; enjoy a few hours together selecting just the right pumpkin for your family's jack-o-lantern!
  5. Corn Maze: If you or your children have never gotten lost in a corn maze, you are truly missing out on one of fall's most simple pleasures!
  6. Baking: Pumpkins and apples aren't the only great treats fall has to offer; spend an afternoon sharing the joy of baking and cooking delicious fall foods with your children (i.e., breads, muffins, pies, cookies, etc.)!
  7. Farmer's Market: A family trip to your local farmer's market can be a great way to explore all the bounty that fall has to offer; from flowers to fruits and vegetables, it's a fun adventure for the whole family!
  8. Crafting: There are literally an endless number of fall crafts for families with children of all ages!  Collect leaves, pine cones, and acorns and create a natural centerpiece or wreath; or check out your local craft store and select fall-themed items to create fun, decorative, seasonal pieces!
  9. Bonfires: Whether you enjoy s'mores, hotdogs on a stick, or just sharing spooky ghost stories, a bonfire is a fun way to enjoy a brisk fall evening as a family!
  10. Visiting local farms: Many farms offer visitors a number of fun fall activities; from hayrides and pumpkin picking to cider mills and fresh baked goodies, a farm is a great place to spend the day as a family!
  11. Planting bulbs and fall flowers: A great way to beautify your yard or terrace and enjoy some one-o-one time with your kids!
  12. Raking leaves: To adults it may seem like work, but to children raking leaves and playing in the piles can be an adventure!
  13. Petting zoos: Fall is a great time to hit local petting zoos; feeding and petting the animals offers families a chance to spend time together and to learn something new about the critters they are visiting!
  14. Making scarecrows: What could be more fun than spending time together as a family stuffing old clothes with straw and creating a scarecrow?  If you have the time and resources, it can even be fun to do a whole scarecrow family!
  15. Decorating for the holiday seasons: Pumpkins, chrysanthemums, hay bales, and other decorative accessories can dress up your home and give you and your kids a chance to work together to make your home truly "homey!"
So whether you have fifteen minutes or a whole afternoon to spend making fun fall family memories, embrace all the season has to offer; from crisp breezes to delicious treats, autumn is rife with opportunities for enjoying family togetherness! 

Safe and happy travels!
-Destination Mom

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

5 Fun Money Skills Activities for Kids

image courtesy of Simon Howden/

Looking for some edu-tainment to engage those little minds? Money skill activities can be a fun way to reinforce fundamental concepts like saving, estimation, and even basic math!  Below are five of our favorite money skill activities for young children:
  1. Coin and paper currency recognition: Gather an assortment of coins and allow your child to sort them according to size and color.  Spend time discussing the names of each coin, and, if they are old enough, the value of each coin. 
  2. Counting and value: Using mixed coins, have children count using different denominations of coin. Older children can practice making groups of equal amounts using different coin combinations.
  3. Play store: Collect a few items and create a fake "store." Put a fake price tag on each item and have your children go "shopping" with money they have saved up in their piggy banks.  Teach them the value of money by showing them which choices are more reasonable for their budgeted amounts and how saving up for a purchase takes time and planning.
  4. Let your child play cashier: Pretend to make a purchase and allow your child to "ring up" your total and make change.  It's a great opportunity to use addition and subtraction skills and to reinforce currency recognition!
  5. Check out these great apps: Count Money, Coin Math, Jungle Coins, and Make Change.

Friday, September 14, 2012

7 Spooktacular Family Halloween Sleepover Spots!

image courtesy of digitalart/
 Looking for something family-friendly and different to do this Halloween? How about a Halloween family sleepover?  Numerous museums, aquariums, and other family-friendly venues host annual Halloween sleepovers each year; offering a fantastic, safe, and fun alternative to traditional trick-or-treating!  For local venues in your area, a quick online search should yield nearby results; but below you'll find a list of some of our regional favorites!

  1. Night at the Museum Halloween Sleepover at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, NY (October 20th and 27th, 2012)
  2. Spooky Seas Family Sleepover at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, IL (October 26th)
  3. Halloween Family Sleepover at the Museum of the Pacific in Long Beach, CA (October 26)
  4. Spooky Sleepover at the San Diego Zoo in San Diego, CA (October 13, 20, and 27th)
  5. Zoo Boo Sleepover at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa, FL (October 6)
  6. Scared Shrekless at Gaylord Hotels (National, Texan, Palms, and Opryland in Washington, DC, Dallas/Fort Worth, TX, Orlando, FL, and Nashville, TN, respectively) (October 13 and 27th)
So dress up your little ghouls and goblins, grab your sleeping bags, embrace your spirit of adventure and reserve a Halloween sleepover getaway today; you'll make memories that will last a lifetime!  Safe and happy hauntings!
-Destination Mom

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Travel-Tot Tip: Nourishing Body and Mind!

Ever notice how kids always seem to be hungry after school? Take advantage of that  by using after-school snack time to connect with them! Engage them about their day and teach them good eating habits by having nutritious snacks available.  Some of our favorite picks:

  • peanut butter on celery
  • veggies and dip
  • fruit
  • cheese sticks or slices
  • nuts (in moderation)
  • yogurt with granola
  • cottage cheese with fruit
Nutritious snacks and a chance to share time with you one-on-one can refuel their bodies, minds and souls, and can provide them with healthy eating habits that can last a lifetime!

Friday, September 7, 2012

8 Great Shower Gifts for Adventurous Families!

Looking for that perfect shower gift for the family that loves to travel?  Well search no more!  From the company that believes that family travel is one of life's greatest joys, come...

8 Great Shower Gift Ideas for Adventurous Families!

  1. Baby Bjorn Baby Carrier Air - a fantastic all-around carrier!  Lightweight, non-toxic, ergonomically correct; this is the quintessential gift for families who like to get out and about!
  2. Traveling Toddler Car Seat Travel Accessory - If their adventures take them anywhere via air, they'll thank you for this must have!  Make that trek through the airport comfortable and easy with this strap system that attaches your child's car seat to any wheeled upright bag, creating a comfortable transport!  Allows families to bring their own car seats onto the flight, providing traveling infants with maximum comfort and safety.
  3. Am Safe Aviation CARES Kids Fly Safe Airline Safety Harness - For those times when bringing along a car seat is simply not possible; this airline safety harness adjusts to provide comfortable upper body support and protection for children over one year of age between 22 and 44 lbs.
  4. The Portable Baby TravelRest Pillow - The perfect solution to making car seat travel more sleep-friendly!  Easily inflated and deflated, this portable travel pillow supports the head and body providing more comfort without the bulk of a real pillow!
  5. Baby Med Infant Emergency Reference Guide - Lifesaving information at a glace; this portable, pocket guide features critical information about infant emergency and illness.
  6. Travel-Tot Travel Childproofing Kit - Turn any lodging accommodations into a toddler-friendly space with the temporary, non-damaging safety devices inside this fantastically portable kit!
  7. Phil & Ted's Nest Bed - For the ultimate in portable comfort and convenience, this compact nest bed is a great sleep solution away from home!  Also comes with a attachable netting screen and features a storage bag that can accommodate plenty of children's clothes, diapers, toys, etc. for the trip!
  8. Britax B-Agile and B-Safe Travel System (or just the Stroller!) - While the price tag may seem cost prohibitive for an individual, this makes a great group gift!  One that will serve the family for years, providing a smooth ride and convenient ease of folding!
Encourage adventurous young families to travel with one of these fantastic gifts; sharing the joy of exploration can create an even stronger family bond and can make memories that will last a lifetime!  Safe and happy travels!
-Destination Mom

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Travel-Tot Tip: Prepping for Back-to-School

Preparation is the name of the game for back-to-school success! Our three favorite ways to shift back into the school-year-gear:
  1. Get your kids and yourself back into a normal sleep routine before school starts (especially for those students who have an early rising time); the transition will be far less painful for all of you if you can ease into it over a week or so! 
  2. Keep plenty of healthy snack and lunch items on hand to pack for those little learners; its easier to learn when you're not distracted by a grumbling tummy!
  3. Reiterate safety information; whether your children ride the bus or walk to school, remind them of all transportation safety procedures and rules
image courtesy of anankkml/