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If the thought of flying with your newest addition leaves a pit at the bottom of your stomach, don't worry—you're not alone. Flying the friendly skies with littles can feel super stressful + overwhelming, even for the most seasoned of mamas. (I mean, even George + Amal Clooney had some pre-flight anxiety!) Does baby need her own seat? What will I need to pack? How will I carry it all? And what if she cries the whole time?

We feel you, mamas. But with a great game plan and a tried and true, been-there-loved-that hit list of our absolute favorite flight essentials, we promise you'll be boarding that plane with confidence on your next adventure.

Here are 14 products every mama needs for baby's first flight:

1. A travel-friendly car seat

"Does my baby need her own seat on an airplane?" It's the question we get asked again and again when it comes to air travel + little ones. The technical answer is no. In the US, infants under 2 years of age may be carried free of charge when traveling with an adult. But the answer that we always give? 100% yes.

As one of our favorite sources for all things car seat safety, the Car Seat Lady, says, "Simply put, it's much safer for a child to ride in a child safety seat on an airplane. You aren't allowed to hold a coffee cup during takeoff and landing. All bags much be stowed. This is because anything not secured is liable to fly around if a problem were to occur...Doesn't your child deserve the same protection as you—or your suitcase?" We couldn't agree more.

A simple, lightweight car seat is a must for air travel. Our all-time favorite for value + portability is the Cosco Scenera NEXT. The NEXT can be used rear-facing from 5-40 pounds or forward-facing from 22-40 pounds. It doesn't have a ton of bells and whistles, but it's certified for airplane use, easy to install, and easy to clean. (And you certainly cannot beat the price.) And weighing in at a light 10.4 pounds, it's light enough to sling over your shoulder at the airport and while on the plane.

Cosco Scenera Next
$44.98, Walmart

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2. A place for all the stuff

There's no denying that traveling with an infant or toddler also brings with it a wholllle lot of stuff. A roomy, backpack-style diaper bag is a must to wrangle the chaos and prepare for whatever your travel day may throw your way—all while having your hands free.

We heart this streamlined, no-nonsense gender neutral bag for keeping everything organized and easily accessible. It's roomy (12"L x 17.5"H x 6.5"D), packed with interior + exterior pockets, stain-repellent (and machine washable!), and features padded backpack straps and a top carry handle.

Ju-Ju-Be XY Vector Diaper Backpack
$135.00, Nordstrom

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3. A lightweight travel crib

If you're going to be schlepping your littles through the airport, a travel crib that's lightweight, compact, and easy to carry on the plane or check with your luggage is a no-brainer. Enter the BabyBjorn Travel Crib Light: our absolute favorite travel crib, ever. Yup, it's that good.

Weighing in at only 13 pounds, this crib is perfect for any family adventure. The travel cribs folds up easily into a tiny carrying case, making it perfect to take on the go. (You could even put it in a large suitcase if you'd like!) Setup is super easy (truly—once you get the hang of it, it takes about one minute), and the mattress is much more comfortable than any other travel crib on the market that we've tried. The mesh sides allow for great air flow, and the crib works for kiddos up to 35 lbs.

Baby Bjorn Travel Crib Light
$299.99, Bed Bath & Beyond

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4. A jack of all trades

Any mama knows the benefits of a good swaddle, but this multi-purpose workhorse of a baby product may not immediately come to mind when you're thinking about flying with your baby. Well, think again, because the swaddle for air travel is where it's at, mama!

Need to do a quick diaper change on your lap while the seat belt sign is on? Throw a swaddle over your legs. Need to breastfeed or pump mid-flight? Use a swaddle for privacy. Little one seems chilly from the cold airplane air? Toss a swaddle over her to warm her up. It's truly the gift that keeps on giving when traveling with baby. We 💜 Little Unicorn's options for their soft, breathable fabric and over-the-top-adorable patterns + styles.

Little Unicorn 3-Pack Cotton Muslin Blankets
$38.00, Nordstrom

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5. A stowaway stroller

Strollers are a travel must-have, but they're also big, bulky, and cumbersome—not exactly what you're going for when you're ready to board a plane with your family. But this stroller changes all of that; it boasts the conveniences of a larger stroller with some insane portability capabilities.

Weighing 13 pounds, the stroller features a two-button (and super simple) fold that transforms it down to 21" x 12" x 20"—small enough to easily fit in an overhead airplane bin. It has a one-handed unfold option, so you'll be able to pop it open as soon as you deplane. It maneuvers easily thanks to built-in rear wheel suspension and swivel wheels, and can even be popped over curbs while you're out exploring.

Mountain Buggy Nano Travel Stroller
$249.99, Nordstrom

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6. A hands-free carrier

If you're looking to leave the stroller at home during your next flight, you're going to need another option for keeping your hands free at the airport, and a baby carrier is the perfect option. Baby carrying is a great way to keep baby close while you're going through the always fun process of luggage hauling, checking in, security, and boarding.

This soft, structured carrier is a great choice for travel with your babe. It offers four carry positions and is simple to get the hang of once you've practiced a few times. It's also easily adjustable and does a great job distributing baby's weight so you'll never have to worry about back or shoulder pain. This one is even made with mesh so it will keep you—and baby—cool no matter how hot it gets at your destination.

Ergobaby Omni 360 Cool Air Baby Carrier
$180.00, Nordstrom

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7. For hitching a ride

Really looking to pack like a minimalist and go hands-free on your next trip? Then you're going to want to snag the ingenious Bagrider—the rolling suitcase + baby travel seat all in one!

Unlike many multi-purpose products that fall short, this one truly combines two great products into one brilliant solution. In suitcase mode, this carry-on rolling bag has great maneuverability and is roomy enough to fit all your must-haves. Then, with an easy turn of a button, it seamlessly transforms into a travelling seat, complete with a 5-point harness + cushioned seat liner, that can hold up to 33 lbs. And have we mentioned all the awesome looks you'll get while rolling through the airport with your little one (literally) in tow? 🤣

Mountain Buggy Bagrider

$74.99, Amazon

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8. Ear relief

Air travel can wreak havoc on the ears, especially for a little one who's even more sensitive to changes in air pressure and altitude. One way to remedy this and prevent ear popping is through sucking + swallowing, two motions that help equalize the ears and relieve any pressure.

Feeding baby during takeoff and landing is always a great option, but if it's not time for a snack, a pacifier is our go-to. We love this 100% natural rubber option that's made without chemical softeners or colorants, BPA free, and totally adorable.

Natursutten BPA-Free Natural Rubber Pacifier

$11.99, Amazon

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9. A change of clothes

We realize we're not telling you anything you don't already know here, but we can't reinforce this one enough. Babies have blowouts. And spit-up. And food spills. The list goes on. And being trapped on a plane with a poop-covered baby? No thank you.

Rompers are a gender-neutral, all-in-one, easy on/easy off outfit that are perfect for airplane travel. They won't take up a lot of space in your diaper bag and they make a great backup outfit. This one is especially soft + stretchy but will hold its shape over lots of wears, and your little one will look as cute as ever rocking the modern, trendy design. (Pro tip: in addition to packing a change of clothes for your little, pack one for YOU, too! Trust us.)

RAGS Tank Henley Pocket Capri Rag
$44.50, Rags

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10. Mess-free art

You can never pack enough things to keep your little one busy during a flight, but you'll also need to consider that you'll be in a tight space and wanting to create as little of a mess as possible. Water Wow reusable water painting books for the (mess-free) win!

These sturdy, spiral-bound books come with four reusable pages and a "paint" brush that stores right in the cover. Kids love them, and we promise they'll buy you at least a few minutes of peace and quiet during your trip 😉

Melissa & Doug Water Wow! Reusable Color Pads, 3-pack

$12.99, Amazon

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11. A sanity saver

Whether or not screen time is your thing, we subscribe to the idea that when on a plane, all the usual rules go out the window. If you have a toddler who'll watch a few shows or play some games on the iPad, then we say go for it. 👍

To make sure you're not bothering other passengers, though, you'll need some kid-friendly headphones. We like these for their affordable price, great color choices, and built-in volume control. They even feature a sharing port so multiple kids can link up and listen all at once!

Snug SNPLPLBL Play + Kids Headphones

$18.95, Amazon

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12. Hands-on fun

If you want to forgo the iPad, interactive books are an educational + fun way to keep your littles entertained on a flight. Anything tactile is always a hit with the younger set, which makes this board book the perfect choice for little fingers. It's filled with twists + turns and zigs + zags that will keep tiny hands very busy!

TouchThinkLearn: Wiggles

$14.99, Amazon

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13. A mess tamer

Snacks are a mom's best friend, especially on a plane—but the last thing you want to spend your flight doing is picking smashed up puffs out of the crevices of your seat.

This stainless container features silicone flaps that make it easy for little hands to get in but tough for snacks to fall out. There's also a flip top that seals to keep your snacks fresh while on the go.

Munchkin Snack Plus Stainless Steel Snack Catcher

$9.96, Amazon

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14. A catch-all

Last but certainly not least, meet the everyday item that is truly the mama gift that keeps on giving: the Ziploc bag. Don't leave home—for a flight, or any other time, either!—without a few of these stashed in your diaper bag. They are perfect for organizing, for snacks, for separating wet + dry items, and of course for stuffing that adorable outfit in after your babe spits up all over it

Ziploc Storage Slider Gallon Bags, 68 count
$8.29, Target

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As a former beauty editor, I pride myself in housing the best skincare products in my bathroom. Walk in and you're sure to be greeted with purifying masks, micellar water, retinol ceramide capsules and Vitamin C serums. What can I say? Old habits die hard. But when I had my son, I was hesitant to use products on him. I wanted to keep his baby-soft skin for as long as possible, without tainting it with harsh chemicals.

Eventually, I acquiesced and began using leading brands on his sensitive skin. I immediately regretted it. His skin became dry and itchy and regardless of what I used on him, it never seemed to get better. I found myself asking, "Why don't beauty brands care about baby skin as much as they care about adult skin?"

When I had my daughter in May, I knew I had to take a different approach for her skin. Instead of using popular brands that are loaded with petroleum and parabens, I opted for cleaner products. These days I'm all about skincare that contains super-fruits (like pomegranate sterols, which are brimming with antioxidants) and sulfate-free cleansers that contain glycolipids that won't over-dry her skin. And, so far, Pipette gets it right.

What's in it

At first glance, the collection of shampoo, wipes, balm, oil and lotion looks like your typical baby line—I swear cute colors and a clean look gets me everytime—but there's one major difference: All products are environmentally friendly and cruelty-free, with ingredients derived from plants or nontoxic synthetic sources. Also, at the core of Pipette's formula is squalane, which is basically a powerhouse moisturizing ingredient that babies make in utero that helps protect their skin for the first few hours after birth. And, thanks to research, we know that squalane isn't an irritant, and is best for those with sensitive skin. Finally, a brand really considered my baby's dry skin.

Off the bat, I was most interested in the baby balm because let's be honest, can you ever have too much protection down there? After applying, I noticed it quickly absorbed into her delicate skin. No rash. No irritation. No annoyed baby. Mama was happy. It's also worth noting there wasn't any white residue left on her bottom that usually requires several wipes to remove.


Why it's different

I love that Pipette doesn't smell like an artificial baby—you, know that powdery, musky note that never actually smells like a newborn. It's fragrance free, which means I can continue to smell my daughter's natural scent that's seriously out of this world. I also enjoy that the products are lightweight, making her skin (and my fingers) feel super smooth and soft even hours after application.

The bottom line

Caring for a baby's sensitive skin isn't easy. There's so much to think about, but Pipette makes it easier for mamas who don't want to compromise on safety or sustainability. I'm obsessed, and I plan to start using the entire collection on my toddler as well. What can I say, old habits indeed die hard.

This article was sponsored by Pipette. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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Parents everywhere are feeling for Hamilton star Miguel Cervantes and his wife, Kelly, who just said goodbye to their daughter, three-year-old Adelaide. She died on Saturday, October 12.

Adelaide had been battling epilepsy prior to her death. Miguel and Kelly, who also share 7-year-old son Jackson, documented their daughter's life via Instagram, where they frequently shared updates on the little girl's condition.

But this week, they are sharing news of her death. "The machines are off. Her bed is empty. The quiet is deafening. Adelaide left us early Saturday. She went peacefully in her mother's arms, surrounded by love. Finally, she is free from pain + seizures but leaves our hearts shattered. We love you so much Adelaideybug and forever after," both Miguel and Kelly write alongside a photo of the girl's empty bed.

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Miguel, who played the title role in Chicago's production of the musical Hamilton, opened up about his daughter's diagnosis to the Chicago Tribune back in 2016. According to the report, Adelaide suffered around a dozen seizures every day. The seizures began when the little girl was just 7 months old.

Adelaide's mother, Kelly, documented the little girl's heartbreaking battle on her blog. Just a few weeks ago, she wrote her daughter a heartfelt letter. "You will not be getting better this time. The skills you have lost will not be regained. I am so sorry that your body has betrayed you in this way. It is not fair and it really, really, really sucks," Kelly writes."...As we make this transition I will be trying to understand what you want and need to keep you as comfortable as possible. Please forgive the extra pictures and videos I'll be taking, I know I'll want to hold on to all the memories I can. It's the things I can't capture that I will miss the most: the way you smell, and not just after a bath, but your sweet, "just you" smell. The feel of your forever baby soft skin and how tightly you squeeze my fingers even still. The way your hair feels when I run my fingers through it trying to comfort you and the weight of your body against mine in those rare moments when you let me snuggle you."

Our hearts are with this beautiful child's family.

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This new family would like you to know they "don't have to match!"

When we saw Sadie Sampson's story of how her baby boy Ezra came into her life, we just had to know more about this loving new mother and her husband, Jarvis.

Their journey to parenthood was slow and then happened practically overnight. The couple went through a complicated fertility journey and had come to terms with the idea that pregnancy and parenthood would not be in their future.

But everything changes when Sadie got a random text message from a friend: "Would you guys foster/adopt a child?"

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To understand their story you have to go back to the beginning of their story. After getting married in 2017, the Texas couple was determined to have a baby. When Sadie didn't get pregnant she sought medical help, and doctors were quick to suggest her weight was the issue.

" 'Lose weight, and you'll get pregnant right away,' said every doctor I saw," Sampson wrote on Love What Matters. "I had tried to lose weight on my own for so long without success, so I started seeking out other options. In February 2019, I underwent gastric bypass surgery."

Sampson has been chronicling her weight loss since then on her Instagram page. Jarvis joined her, getting his surgery this summer. But still, she couldn't get pregnant.

A week after deciding she was going to put her dreams of parenthood aside, Sampson heard from a good friend of hers who had a random question for her.

"Well, a friend of mine, and her boyfriend are considering foster care or adoption for their son," the friend said. "I told them that I thought you guys would be a great fit."

The Sampsons said yes. They were even prepared to be only temporary foster parents for the baby, who was born prematurely. Just over a week after that phone call, a caseworker informed them that the birth mother would like them to adopt.

"We went from not having any children, to the possibility of fostering one, to, 'You guys are parents!,' overnight," Sampson wrote.

Her whole family had been away on a cruise while this was happening, and returned the day before the adoption took place.

"My mom was very confused at first," Sampson told Motherly. "But once I was able to explain everything we stood in the kitchen and jumped up and down and then ran into the living room and told everyone else."

Because this was happening privately, they needed only a lawyer and no agency involved in the paperwork. They were able to greet baby Ezra in the NICU just an hour after he became theirs.

"The first time I saw him it was so hard for me to grasp the fact that he was mine," Sampson told us. "It took a while for me to realize that he is my son and I am his mom."

Ezra is the name his birth parents, who are white, had chosen for him. "When Jarvis and I looked up the meaning, which is 'helper,' we couldn't think of a better fit."


Sadie and Jarvis posed for photos proudly proclaiming their adoption story. "Not Showing Still Glowing" reads Sadie's shirt, while Jarvis' tee says, "Families Don't Have to Match #Adoption." Friends and followers on Instagram helped the new family, buying baby supplies on their registry and donating funds for their final adoption process. Now, social media is where they're sharing all the typical milestones of new parenthood.

"We had one plan and God changed the game completely," she wrote on Instagram. "Ezra has given us a larger purpose and we've learned so much from him in the short two weeks he's been with us. Families DON'T have to match! They are built on LOVE!"

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As an ESPN anchor Kevin Negandhi talks to a lot of pro athletes. But as a parent he knows that sometimes raising kids is as hard as training for the big leagues (seriously, science proves that kids energy levels surpass endurance athletes' and parents are running after those kids).

Negandhi knows what it's like to be face-to-face with athletes that so many people idolize, but he also knows that a parent can be more influential than any big league idol, and that's why he's working with Dove Men+Care SPORTCARE to put real dads in the spotlight.

"We have a platform to showcase what they do as everyday athletes, but also as everyday men, everyday fathers," says Negandhi, who has three kids himself. He tells Motherly he tries to make sure he's active with his kids—playing sports with them so that they understand the importance of staying active—but also staying active with the kids when the touch football ends and the real parenting endurance test begins. Like many modern fathers, Negandhi is committed to doing more childcare than his own father did.

"My mom did everything in our house," he tells Motherly. "My dad worked, but my mom worked as well. And she did everything. She raised us. But at the same time she showed me another side. And many times growing up I said, 'How can I be different than my father?'"

Being involved with his kids and doing more of the unpaid work in his household than his own dad did is how Negandhi is doing it, and he's taking time to showcase three fellow dads who—while sharing their names with professional athletes—certainly don't get as much credit as the pros.

That is actually something of a problem in media right now. According to a recent survey by Dove Men+Care, 70% of men wish regular guys who are athletes (but not professionals) got more attention in sports media. Because as much as winning the Superbowl or making it to the major leagues should be celebrated, being a dad who is physically active and active in raising his kids should be celebrated, too.

Research shows that when kids grow up seeing dads exercise they are healthier, and while these three men happen to share their names with famous athletes, they don't get the same glory. So Negandhi and Dove Men+Care are giving these hard working dads some recognition.

Alvin Suarez

Alvin Suarez is teaching his kids that having a disability doesn't disqualify you from being an athlete. As a visually-impaired person, Alvin isn't the standard athlete we see represented in media. He plays Goalball, a sport that relies on keen ear-hand coordination, and he is certainly a keen father, chasing after his twin girls.

Alvin says the difference between sports and fatherhood is that you can train for sports, while parenthood takes you by surprise. "I try to be a good role model for my daughters and I want everyone to know that everyone has potential and that there is no such thing as a nobody."

Alvin has won championships as a Goalball player, but says holding his daughters in his arms for the first time was like winning a medal but multiplied by a million.

Sean Williams

Sean Williams is committed to his community and his kids. He uses physical fitness to connect with his kids and to, literally, save lives. A volunteer firefighter, Sean keeps fit so that he can use his body and energy to maximum impact. He isn't just changing the lives of people impacted by fires, but also his fellow dads.

The founder of The Dad Gang, an organization committed to celebrating and telling the real story of black fatherhood, Sean has created a space for dads to connect with their children and each other while staying active.

"One of the challenges we put out on social media is where you do pushups with our kids on our backs and that merges fatherhood and fitness," he explains.

If there was a Super Bowl for community service, Sean would be wearing the ring.

Chris Paul

A Marine Corps veteran, Chris needs a ton of energy to keep up with his blended family. It started out as an "all-girl Brady Bunch" he explains, as his wife and he had six daughters between them, but they've since added a boy to the family which now included seven kids. .

He's basically got his own sports team at home so it makes sense that Chris is super committed to staying fit for them. The Marine turned realtor takes time to help other dads in his community stay fit and knows when to draw boundaries to protect his time with his kids.

He's got some good endurance, but he's not going to work 15 hours a day when his kids are waiting at home for him. Chris says in former times dads were often passive figures in their kids' lives as the child rearing was done by others.

Like the other men, he's changing that. "I'm an active participant and I want to make sure that I can contribute to my children's lives."

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Back in 2017 when we learned Beyoncé was starring in a new remake of The Lion King I was thrilled. My son (my only child) was almost 2 years old and I told my partner I wanted The Lion King to be our son's first movie theatre experience. Going to see the original Lion King in a movie theatre was a big deal to me as a kid and I wanted to recreate that experience for my son.

Flash forward to July 2019 and The Lion King is in theaters—but my son and I are not. Turns out I really overestimated how long 3-year-olds can sit still. While my son loves watching 1994's Lion King at home (he always stands on the couch and lifts his stuffed animals to the sky during "Circle of Life") he's just not quite subdued enough for the cinema yet.

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So we have been waiting to see The Lion King at home, and now we finally can! October 11 marks the film's digital home video release, and the Blu-ray hits stores on October 22.

Rob Legato, a VFX supervisor on the film, tells Motherly that "the visuals are so well preserved on 4K and newer television sets that it is literally the mini theatre experience and you're not missing much by seeing it at home."

Basically, the digital version is going to be just as awesome as seeing it in theaters, except that we will be able to pause for potty breaks and my kiddo can stand on his seat pretending to be Rafiki without blocking anyone's view.

The movie is, of course, incredible, but so are the animals it's based on. Screening the movie at home is an amazing way to start conversations with your kids about the various animals in the film as they are of course more similar to the real animals they are based on then their animated counterparts were in 1994.

The filmmakers went to Africa to research the animals they were bringing to life and they also spent a ton of time at the Harambe Wildlife Reserve inside Disney's Animal Kingdom in Orlando, Florida watching various species to try to make their movements as realistic as possible. There, 34 species live on 110 acres and the filmmakers got to watch them closely, making this film incredibly detailed.

Some of the animal experts who work with these animals on a daily basis say that when they watch The Lion King, they can actually tell which characters are based on which of the animals they know in real life.

"This film presented a really wonderful and unique opportunity to bring the production crew to the animals here at Disney's Animal Kingdom. They spent about 6 weeks here collecting reference footage of the animals here and we partnered really closely with the animal care teams at Disney's Animal Kingdom to make sure that all of the filming that we were doing, the impact to the animals was minimized," says Jon Ross of Disney's Animals in TV and Film department

The film crew watched the animals from a distance, which is something families can also do at Disney's Animal Kingdom by taking the Kilimanjaro Safari or staying in Jambo House at the Animal Kingdom Lodge, where giraffes and other animals can be seen right from hotel balconies.

But the work Disney is doing with the animals is more than a tourist attraction. The company is serious about conservation and protecting the animal species featured in the park and in its films. "Tied to the Lion King film we launched the Protect the Pride initiative," Claire Martin of Disney's Conservation & Partnerships team tells Motherly. "We realized that we'd lost half of the world's lions since the first Lion King film debuted and we want to turn that around, so we're working with the Wildlife Conservation Network's Lion Recovery Fund to help their vision to double the amount of lions in the wild by 2050," she explains.

Marin suggests that parents watching The Lion King with their kids can use the film to talk to their children about conservation issues and continue the education long after the end credits roll. "We encourage people to learn more, visit the website, get involved and learn more about how they can make an impact on lions and other wildlife across Africa," says Martin.

Through the website, parents can even download an activity packet (you can print it and make your kids a cool book) with all kinds of information and cool activities and to help kids feed their lion obsession in an educational way even when screen time is over.

The Lion King is available to stream now and will be on Blu-ray October 22 (with even more educational features about the animals!)

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