“Can you find Iceland on the map? I’ll give you a hint, it’s in the North and it’s in the Atlantic Ocean.”
We’ve been traveling since our kids were very small and now that my twin boys are nearly six, we’re finding it’s getting a lot easier and a lot more fun… and they’re really curious about where we’re going to go next! Our last trip was a European trip which included Iceland and Denmark that were new to both my husband and me, we weren’t sure what to expect. But, that is the adventure in traveling with our family and all of us learn a lot along the way. For me, the toughest part of packing is realizing I can’t bring 5 pairs of shoes or outfits that I “might” wear… that space goes to an extra pair of shoes for the kids or a just-in-case outfit for them if they spill or have an accident. We like to travel lightly so that we can take public transportation and walk with our luggage if we have to. But every family travels differently! For us, here are a few of our favorite tips and maybe they might be helpful to you too:
The first thing we do when we book a trip is find it with our kids on a map we have in our office. We talk about how many hours it will take to get there by plane or train and discuss where it is in comparison to other places we’ve been. We wonder together if it will be hot or cold and if there will be swimming pools or animals to see. We think about the food that is grown there and what we might like to eat.
Then we buy books. Sometimes I buy them online so they show up when we first start talking about a trip, or the kids and I go to the library or bookstore to pick them up together. We like picture books that are set in the place we’re visiting or travel books about the place. If we can find a family-friendly DVD we do that too. For our recent Iceland trip, my guys enjoyed the travel clips on the Tourism Bureau’s website. We also like the Dodsworth books by Tim Egan -we’ve read them for Paris and Tokyo and we’re curious where Dodsworth will travel next.
If the country speaks a different language we make sure we know at least “hello” and “thank you”. Dover Publications makes coloring books that are in French, Spanish and English and Usborne Books have great 1000 words books in many languages too. We’ve found that if the kids can say “hello” and “thank you”, many people are much more receptive to us bringing our kids almost anywhere.
A couple days before the airport we buy a small toy that’s under $10. This saves the panic of having to find souvenirs or treats for the kids when we get somewhere to entertain them, and it gives them something to look forward to after they nap on the plane, or get to the airport or whatever the agreed pact is for opening the toy.
And when the travel day arrives, we think of some kind of walking/running/energy-burning activity before the flight – especially if it’s a long one! We wake up extra early if we want don’t want a late night in our destination or we nap if we want to keep them up to get our family on a new time schedule if we cross a couple time zones. We’ve found that walking and taking public transit to the airport from our home in Seattle gets a lot of pre-trip energy out and saves us a few extra dollars for coffee at the airport. Which is definitely another travel must for my husband and I!
And then we go…
Terumi is a 30-something Seattle mom of twin boys. You can learn more about her and her family’s travels on her blog, An Emerald City Life.
I have been a fan of Zid Zid Kids for a long time, admiring the work of Julie and Moulay. They create beautiful items for play and home, all made in Morocco by hand. I find the pieces and overall aesthetic to be so charming.
Moulay and Julie live in Morocco and speak French, Arabic and Spanish to their children daily – so it was only natural that their next endeavor would be a creative hands-on language program for children! Petit Zarafa is a play-based multi-language learning subscription website for little citizens ages 2 and up.
My children have Chinese flashcards that they play with when their grandmother visits from Taiwan, but we haven’t picked them up in a while.
The combination of the activities with learning lessons, grasping different sounds with familiar tasks, is inspiring to me. My kids love playing with games and are currently learning letters & numbers at their own schools – it will be interesting to see what they gravitate to most with this program. In general, my kids love listening to stories… I’m sure my mom, a former French language teacher, would love to teach them French stories. It would be magical if they could speak a little bit of French when we visit my sister in Europe this summer.
Are you teaching your children a second language? What do you find works best? I’d love to know!
Warm weather opportunities are popping up all over. But with the possibility of April showers, there are a number of indoor activities to plan for eager (and antsy) kids. Here are few crafts that can build excitement and enthusiasm for the season. Plus, they’re perfect for nannies and sitters looking for more hands-on projects to engage kids.
Bath time is often a struggle. Make it a little more fun with double-duty bunnies. You can create these little rabbits out of brightly-colored washcloths that can later be used in the bath. Check out this example.
Using plastic eggs and hot glue (kids will need help with this!), there are a few fun filled ways to create festive headdress. Encourage their creativity by allowing them to add whatever accessories please them. Here are some images to jump start your creativity.
Here’s a project you haven’t done since preschool, but perfect for an Earth Day lesson. Grab a pinecone from the yard; tie about a 12-inch piece of yarn or ribbon in a tight knot around the top so that the ends hang evenly (these will then be tied around a tree). Spread peanut butter or honey all over the pine cone. Then pour bird seed onto a plate and roll the sticky pinecone over it. Hang the pinecone on a tree — and tie another knot. Gather around and wait for the birds to come.
Re-create the World
Who doesn’t love an excuse to make marshmallow rice treats? Your kids will love sculpting a globe out of the yummy dessert and covering it with green and blue sugar. As a sweet bonus, try putting some gummy creatures on the earth too! Give a little planetary talk, discuss the amount of water versus land and explain how we need to take care of these elements… And then dig-in!
Whether it’s your front yard or a neighborhood eye-sore that needs a little sprucing, nothing helps decorate more than flowers. In honor of Earth Day, head down to your local garden center (preferably by bike, it’s Earth Day, after all!) and buy some blooms. Then get planting. Tip: A perennial flower will allow your kids to see their hard work year after year.
Here is an April-version of the wintery gingerbread house! Encourage your children to play with their food (finally!) by creating this Matzo house that is fun to make and actually tastes good too.
We were so thrilled to have Care.com on board for our Hello Little Citizen sweepstakes we thought we’d invite them to Studio T! Katie Bugbee is the senior managing editor and global parenting expert at Care.com.
*photo courtesy of purchasepawprints.com
“This is how the rocks look in Suzhou.”
The peaceful Chi Lin Nunnery
“This is a photo of my parents on the train.”
“This is a picture of my dad and brother on a elephant I got to ride on one to.”
“So much seafood at the Paragon Mall!”
Yummy dumpling dinner.
“This is a bonsai tree.”
“This is honey ice cream.”
“My dad tried to make a dumpling but he failed. Sadly.”
Star Ferry in Hong Kong
“This is a picture of my brother and I standing next to a guard!”
“This is a picture of giants holding up something that looks like a pyramid but it’s a temple. I like it because it is gold and it has giants holding it up.”
Plane to Guilin
“This is a dead jellyfish. We found it on a beach in Thailand. I get why it has jelly in its name because it is jelly!”
We’ve partnered with 4Moms, Care.com, Minted, Petunia Pickle Bottom and Plum Organics to bring you one amazing prize package for baby. You have two weeks to enter and receive special offers (get $10 off your tea order of $50+) when you sign up for mailing lists. So, just what will you win?
Don’t miss out! Enter today: http://bit.ly/1e5X6nx
We were thrilled when San Francisco photographer, Carol Vaziri, reached out to Tea about working together on a photo shoot. Her “natural and curious” style of photography captured Tea perfectly. The idea behind the shoot — “How Do You Wear Tea?”. Dressed up or dressed down, kids are constantly climbing, running, jumping and Tea is right there with them. We love seeing Tea in action, keeping children comfortable and stylish while they experience everyday magic. So, how does your little one wear Tea? Share your photos with us… they could end up on teacollection.com!
*Thank you Carol for sharing your beautiful photos with Tea!
We asked you to use #teacollection in your Instagram photos and we were so excited to find that you did! Each month we’ll round up 12 of our favorites and share them with you here. Now, it’s possible that your #teacollection photos may end up be on teacollection.com, so show us how your little citizen’s wear Tea and don’t forget to use our hashtag! See our new gallery here: http://www.teacollection.com/static/tealook.html