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10 Tips for Baby’s First Road Trip

How to survive those long hours in the car.

10 Tips for Baby’s First Road Trip

*We partnered with Skip Hop to help you survive your first long haul with baby.

You’ve finally gotten into a baby groove. You’ve got all the gear in the right corners of your home, you’ve got your stroll down to a science, you’ve even got some leads on getting a good night’s sleep. But then it’s time to head to Grandma’s. Or your BFF’s house in that beautiful suburb she swore was justrightoutside the city. Now you’ve got to take your baby show out on the road.

Baby’s first road trip is unlike any other travel you’ve done; there’s no cuddling or babywearing allowed, meals will be few and far-between, and there’s (generally) no TV to save you. Crying -- and possibly wailing -- will happen. And while we can’t promise baby’s first road trip will ever be pleasurable (warning: you may need marriage counseling when you arrive), we do have a few tricks and tips to make it tolerable.

Check out the 10 things you need to know before you hit the road, then scroll down for a for a chance to win all the Skip Hop baby travel gear & accessories you see in the pics below!

1. Plan before you pack. Start a few days before you leave. Make a list of everything you’ll be doing while away and plan for every contingency. You may even want to run through a typical day with your baby with a notebook in hand, and jot down all those items you just can’t seem to live without. If you start early enough, you’ll also ensure that particular blue and green striped T-shirt you just love baby in so much isn’t in the wash.

2. Distract your kiddos while you’re packing. The best time to pack isn’t actually while baby naps since everything you need to pack for her is in her room. Instead, let baby spend some quality time on a cool baby activity gym, where she can have some plush playtime while you have some serious packing time.

3. Avoid packing while your toddler’s around. That game of “Can I fit in the suitcase?” is only cute in pictures.

4. Prep your tech before you leave. Stock your phone or iPad with your child’s favorite shows and tunes, and pick a few new things that will feel like treats. Spotify offers free children’s stories, which could be a nice break from Old MacDonald. Again. And don’t guilt yourself over using screen time as a distraction -- just let your kiddo know that “what happens on the road trip stays on the road trip,” and regular rules commence once you climb out of the car.

5. Map your trip. Gone are the days when you can power through a 4 (or even 2!)-hour drive. Pick your driving breaks strategically, and use each one as an opportunity to get some kid-friendly action in. Pinpoint parks, obscure museums, even a mall. The most mundane spot can be new and exciting to your little one, and provide some room for you all to stretch your legs.

6. Snack smart. Finding a healthy, child-friendly option can be tough on the fly, so make sure you’re prepared with plenty to eat during the drive. Consider nutritional value, of course, but messiness counts for something as well -- no sticky fingers on mama’s car please! For a baby, pack teethers and pacifiers to satiate that desire to suck, especially since bottle and boob are off-limits mid-drive.

7. Accessorize, accessorize, accessorize. Your car, that is. A back seat mirror will help you keep an eye on your rear-facing babe right from your rearview mirror. A backseat organizer will offer plenty of options to tempt your toddler, and can be a convenient spot to set up his screen. You can even place a car storage box filled with toys, snacks and other fun stuff beside his car seat to empower him to choose his own road trip distraction. And don’t overlook the window shade -- many a tears have been caused by a little sun in the eyes!

8. Plan some activities for the ride. Bring along a few individually packed activities to offer throughout the trip, like a coloring book and crayons, or a bag of cereal to string into a “candy” necklace. Snap on a travel activity tray to your toddler’s car seat, and he’s got his own little workspace to (hopefully) keep himself busy for, well, at least the next 4 minutes.

9. Time your drive with naptime, or bedtime. “They” say a moving car can help lull baby to sleep, but why not give your little one a nudge by hitting the road when he’s actually tired?

10. Bring extras of everything! There’s no time like a road trip for baby to have her first mega-blowout, or lose a sock, pacifier or that other thing you just can’t live without at the gas station. Double up on everything in your diaper bag, then throw in one more of each for good luck. And remember to keep it all at arm’s length, rather than packed deep in your suitcase.

Photography by Jonica Moore Studio for Well Rounded NY.

Win all the Skip Hop Baby Travel Gear & Accessories you see here by entering below!

14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

$30

Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

$75

Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

$40

Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.

$120

Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

$30

Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

$100

Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

$40

Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

$121

Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.

$100

Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

$45

Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.

$179

Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.

$100

Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

$33

Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

$88

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