Hit the road with happy little ones in tow this season! We’ve rounded up five perfect toys for road trips, flying the friendly skies, and spending a night or two out of the house. ? ✈️ ?

1. Perfect for soothing on the go: Oball Grasp & Teethe Teether

When your baby’s schedule is disrupted, you could all use a little help chilling out. The solution? The Oball Grasp & Teethe Teether. Your baby will love the colorful design and variety of textures perfect for soothing achy gums, and you’ll love how easy it is for your little one to hold onto thanks to the Oball core (because no one wants to give their baby back a toy after it has been dropped on the airport floor).


Pro tip: When you’re ready to clean it after a day of gumming, simply wipe the toy clean with a damp cloth.


2. Perfect for getting them excited for the flight to Grandma’s: Go Grippers Cargo Jet

Got a first-time flier? Give your toddler a toy that encourages her imagination to take flight! We love the Go Grippers Cargo Jet, made from the same Oball material your child loved as a baby because it’s easy to grip and carry. The set includes one jet and a compatible Go Gripper car to load into the plane’s cargo bay before taking off.

Pro tip: When playtime is over, keep the jet and car clean by wiping with a damp cloth and mild soap.


3. Perfect for long road trips: Oball Go Grippers Custom Rides

Traveling to see family is great, but the long car rides aren’t always so enjoyable. For car-time entertaining, babies 18 months and up will love the Oball Go Grippers Custom Rides with their easy-to-grasp design and eye-catching collection of colors and patterns. Plus, the compact design makes this is the perfect toy to throw in your diaper bag for entertainment on the go.

Pro tip: More than one kid to keep entertained? The set comes with six cars, meaning you can split up the fun on the way to Grandma’s.


4. Perfect for distracting little ones in the TSA line: Oball Rattle

Long waits in line are every parent’s nemesis. But you can fend off impatient baby fussing with a little preparation—and a great toy. The Oball Rattle shakes, rattles, and rolls, thanks to colorful shaker beads that encourage motor skills. The 29 finger holes and flexible, patented shape are easy for tiny hands to hold onto, and the bright color options will make this a fast favorite for your baby.

Pro tip: Purchase a few balls to keep in the nursery, diaper bag, and car so you always have one on hand.


5. Perfect for playtime at their cousin’s house: Go Grippers Adventure Park Playset

You can’t bring every toy when you travel, so opt for a play system that packs in multiple modes of play. The Go Grippers Adventure Park Playset features easy-to-grip cars (they’re made with the same tech as your favorite Oballs!) that drive on tracks, scoot up and over hills, and spin around on their own Merry-Go-Round. Plus, having multiple cars will make it easier to thwart any meltdowns over sharing with new relatives.

Pro tip: Once playtime is over, clean the toys with a damp cloth and mild soap so they’re ready to roll another day.


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When I was expecting my first child, I wanted to know everything that could possibly be in store for his first year.

I quizzed my own mom and the friends who ventured into motherhood before I did. I absorbed parenting books and articles like a sponge. I signed up for classes on childbirth, breastfeeding and even baby-led weaning. My philosophy? The more I knew, the better.

Yet, despite my best efforts, I didn't know it all. Not by a long shot. Instead, my firstborn, my husband and I had to figure it out together—day by day, challenge by challenge, triumph by triumph.


The funny thing is that although I wanted to know it all, the surprises—those moments that were unique to us—were what made that first year so beautiful.

Of course, my research provided a helpful outline as I graduated from never having changed a diaper to conquering the newborn haze, my return to work, the milestones and the challenges. But while I did need much of that tactical knowledge, I also learned the value of following my baby's lead and trusting my gut.

I realized the importance of advice from fellow mamas, too. I vividly remember a conversation with a friend who had her first child shortly before I welcomed mine. My friend, who had already returned to work after maternity leave, encouraged me to be patient when introducing a bottle and to help my son get comfortable with taking that bottle from someone else.

Yes, from a logistical standpoint, that's great advice for any working mama. But I also took an incredibly important point from this conversation: This was less about the act of bottle-feeding itself, and more about what it represented for my peace of mind when I was away from my son.

This fellow mama encouraged me to honor my emotions and give myself permission to do what was best for my family—and that really set the tone for my whole approach to parenting. Because honestly, that was just the first of many big transitions during that first year, and each of them came with their own set of mixed emotions.

I felt proud and also strangely nostalgic as my baby seamlessly graduated to a sippy bottle.

I felt my baby's teething pain along with him and also felt confident that we could get through it with the right tools.

I felt relieved as my baby learned to self-soothe by finding his own pacifier and also sad to realize how quickly he was becoming his own person.

As I look back on everything now, some four years and two more kids later, I can't remember the exact day my son crawled, the project I tackled on my first day back at work, or even what his first word was. (It's written somewhere in a baby book!)

But I do remember how I felt with each milestone: the joy, the overwhelming love, the anxiety, the exhaustion and the sense of wonder. That truly was the greatest gift of the first year… and nothing could have prepared me for all those feelings.

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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As mamas we want our babies to be safe, and that's what makes what happened to Glee actress Naya Rivera and her 4-year-old son Josey so heartbreaking.

On July 13, the Ventura County Sheriff's Department announced the 33-year-old mother's body was found at Lake Piru, five days after her son was found floating alone on a rented boat. According to Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub, Rivera's last action was to save her son.

"We know from speaking with her son that he and Naya swam in the lake together at some point in her journey. It was at that time that her son described being helped into the boat by Naya, who boosted him onto the deck from behind. He told investigators that he looked back and saw her disappear under the surface of the water," Ayub explained, adding that Rivera's son was wearing his life vest, but the adult life vest was left on the unanchored boat.


Ayub says exactly what caused the drowning is still speculation but investigators believe the boat started drifting and that Rivera "mustered enough energy to get her son back onto the boat but not enough to save herself."

Our hearts are breaking for Josey and his dad right now. So much is unknown about what happened on Lake Piru but one thing is crystal clear: Naya Rivera has always loved her son with all her heart.

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