WIN: Game stores launches the Kids Toy Club

📣THE NEWS IS OUT! 📣

You could stand a chance to be 1 of 10 Game Kids’ Toys Club reviewers and WIN a R3000 Toy hamper!

Game stores has launched the Kids Toy Club and is looking for kids to review the must-have new festive season toys.
If you think your child will be the perfect fit, be sure to follow the easy steps below:

1. Grab a sneak peak of Game’s festive toy range by viewing the latest GAME Toy Catalogue.
2. Upload your 30-sec video of your little one telling us which 3 toys from the catalogue they want to add to their festive wish list.
3. Don’t forget to complete the Entry Form!

Good luck!

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Thomas and Friends: Cassia Crane

Thomas the Tank is one of those enduring favorites. I remember reading the Thomas books when I was little, and all these years later, my own daughters enjoy watching the Thomas and Friends series.

The Cassia Crane playset has arrived just in time to make it onto the Christmas wish lists of young boys and girls alike.

Fans of the show will know Cassia Crane is one of Thomas’s friends who is always eager to lend a helping hand. This playset is jam-packed with fun details.

Cassia helps Thomas get the barrels on board the cargo car, and Thomas then speeds off to make the delivery. At the dock the barrels are then automatically offloaded and Cassia is needed once again to assist.

The playset is fun and engaging. It can get repetitive, but this can easily be avoided by adding it to other Thomas the Train playsets since all the Trackmaster tracks are interchangeable so fans of this series can mix and match to build the track of their dreams.

This awesome playset includes the mechanical crane Cassia, a battery-powered Thomas the Train (with motorized engine), cargo car, dock pieces, barrels for loading and seven train track pieces.

The crane spins a full 360 degrees and has a real-working claw for grabbing, lifting and dripping the barrels into the cargo car.

Some assembly is required for this playset, but it was simple enough to put together in a few minutes.

For me, personally it’s lovely to see the enduring appeal of a character I remember and loved from my childhood. Fans of the popular TV series Thomas and Friends will definitely have this on their wish lists!

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Having a baby in France

I moved to Paris, France in 2009 after my marriage to a French citizen. I had already been residing there for 7 years when we found out we were expecting twins, yet my first thought was to get on a plane (while I was still allowed to fly) and go home to SA.

I wanted to have my pregnancy experience in South Africa. Amidst family and friends and familiarity. With doctors who spoke fluent English. I didn’t know it then, but eventually deciding to have the babies in France was the best decision I ever made.

A twin pregnancy is automatically deemed “high risk”. There was a high possibility of the babies arriving prematurely and my team of doctors were outstanding.

My “social security” benefits covered every doctor visit, including ultrasounds (I had monthly visits and scans due to being high risk). It also covered the numerous blood tests and screening tests that are performed in the first trimester.

Social security benefits also ensure that comprehensive antenatal classes are fully covered. And thankfully I was also fully covered for multiple sessions of physiotherapy for lower back and sciatic pain.

There wasn’t a single thing I paid for out of pocket, not did I have any co-payments of any sort.

I developed gestational diabetes about halfway through my pregnancy and was immediately referred to a specialist diabetologist. I had weekly meetings with this specialist that included meal planning, testing and review of my daily finger-prick glucose records. I was also assigned a dietitian.

Pregnant women can collect a “badge” from their local municipality which ensures they receive a seat on any of the public transport modalities. I traveled to and from work on the metro, but found I never needed the badge, as I was automatically ushered to a seat each time I stepped onto the train.

The hospital was amazing! The private room was of hotel standard… really! Equipped with a large cupboard, flat screen TV, modern baby bassinet and bath, sofa and a large reclining chair that converted into a bed. It was bright and airy and spotlessly clean.

My pre-delivery room had a large hot tub where I could “work through the contractions” although I never used it.

The standard of care was amazing! The hospital provided literally everything we needed in the first few days for both myself and the babies.

I did not need a single diaper or toiletry item during my hospital stay. Everything was provided. The hospital also provided top up formula specific for premature babies during the time we stayed.

My glucose levels were monitored closely as well the swelling in my legs (with daily anticoagulant injections). The dietician visiter me is hospital and checked in on my meals.

I had a lactation specialist visit me in my room to walk me through the initial breastfeeding experience. She spent a good hour with me, never feeling rushed or harried as we went through the latching process.

The girls had their newborn assessments done by my bedside and this included hearing testing.

The staff were so invested in us and our well-being… it was unbelievable to think we were just another patient.

Hospital meals were not only edible, but actually delicious, and came with a cheese course. It was after all, France.

The absolute best part was that a municipal officer visited us in the privacy of our room to register the girls birth. We received their birth certificates two days later which she hand-delivered. Can you imagine how much stress this eliminates?!

We left the hospital exactly 7 days after the girls were born. Correctly installed car seats were mandatory.

Post natal care for the babies included vaccines, growth and development assessments and a mandatory ultrasound on the girl’s hips as they were both breech In utero.

For me, apart from (more) glucose testing, and a continuation of fully-covered visits with my dietician. And here’s the kicker: I was also covered for 20 sessions of “pelvic re-education” which is a type of psychical therapy to retrain and tighten the muscles of the pelvic floor. I’m NOT kidding. The French take this very seriously.

I had a midwife visit us at home a few days after we settled, and this was also fully covered by the social security benefits. She spent a whole afternoon with us, helping me with breastfeeding challenges and discussing the routine we had going. She checked the babies weight, and vitals and specifically looked for lip-tie issues. All this in the comfort of our own home.

After all this, I got to enjoy 34 weeks (yes, you read correctly) of fully paid maternity leave. Parents are then welcome to take time off from work (until the child reaches 3 years of age), to raise their children, while their job and salary is guaranteed to them when they return. They receive a social grant during this time if they opt for this benefit.

But even with all these amazing perks my birth itself did not according to plan… as many moms can attest to. Mine was traumatic, due to a massive hemorrhage after my C-section… so much so that it was touch and go for a minute with numerous interventions and even blood transfusions. Due to this I was particularly thankful to be in a world class hospital. My OB-gyn was knowledgeable and I had complete trust in her. Her actions on that day were faultless and without hesitation. It would not be an exaggeration to say I owe her my life.

I am so happy with my ultimate decision to have continued with my pregnancy and birth in France. From the experiences some of my friends describe, I think South Africa still has a way to go to ensure the birthing experience is pleasant and enjoyable for families.

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ScruffALuv’s From Scruffy to Fluffy

The concept of ScruffALuv’s is something that resonates very deeply with me, and I’m sure many parents will agree.

The ScruffALuv’s arrive as a somewhat ugly ball of matted fur. They are abandoned and unloved. You can’t even tell what animal they are due to their scruffiness!!

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All they need is a little bit of TLC and you’re guaranteed to find a FFF! (Furry Friend Forever!)

First up, they needed a bath. The girls lovingly washed their mystery ScruffALuv in a bowl of water, and there were squeals of delights as the mystery pet was slowly revealed. Would it be a puppy? A kitten? Or a llama?

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Next up we got the hairdryer and started brushing out the matted fur whilst drying our pet. Slowly but surely, the lovable creature underneath was starting to emerge. There’s also a brush and hair clip so the grooming process is extra fun.B3E8D512-F467-4DFE-82B2-7E9040D74E3C

 

Every Scruff-A-Luv comes with their own cute coloured collar and matching tag so you can name them. An adoption certificate seals the deal, and your ScruffALuv then becomes your furever friend.

The new range of ScruffALuvs include mystery pets with pink ombré fur, multi-colored candy floss fur and the limited edition ScruffALuv’s Snow Pals which is my personal favorite because can rescue a Polar Bear, Penguin or a Walrus!

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And if that wasn’t enough cuteness, the ScruffALuv’s Babies have just launched which will appeal to those that love collectibles.

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The ScruffALuv’s Babies are true to the original concept, but these are baby balls of fur that are in desperate need of rescue. They arrive in a durable plastic pet carrier and there are 21 to collect, including and ultra rare lion.

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We love this toy, and this concept: taking something that appears “ugly” and unwanted, and showing it some love to reveal something beautiful underneath. For me, that goes so much deeper than just a toy. That’s a life lesson. Whether you come at it from a point of rescuing an animal or just on a much larger scale of finding beauty in the everyday things.

It’s a lesson I enjoyed imparting to my girls… who now agree that they they will never shop for a pet, but rather rescue. And if a toy can help deliver a lesson as important as that, then that toy is a winner in my book!

The full range of ScruffALuv’s can be purchased from The Kidzone, Takealot, Toy Kingdom & Toyzone.

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Baby Born – The Doll That Does It All

My girls are at a stage where they love playing “mommy”. They are role playing traditional momma roles and one thing the just adore is feeding their babies.

You can imagine their utter delight when we were sent the Baby Born Soft Touch Doll for review.

I have talked about how great these dolls are in a previous post, and I wanted to do an updated review seeing as the brand has gotten bigger and better with a whole new range of accessories also on the market that will appeal to any age.

The doll is super soft, almost plush. So it’s perfect for cuddles and even makes a great toy to cuddle with at night unlike most hard plastic baby dolls.

The Baby Born play concept grows with the child and there are no limits in terms of the imagination.

The soft touch Baby Born dolls are able to perform 9 life like functions. They can drink from their bottle and wee in their nappy or in the potty. She can be fed (matching bowl and spoon included) and then does a poo in the potty as well.

But perhaps the feature my kids love the best is that she cries real tears when her upper body is squeezed!

Baby Born dolls are also perfect for the bath. I love the fact that there are no batteries to fuss with, kids are able to start playing immediately.

Significant improvements have gone into the new models to ensure full mobility in the arms making dressing and undressing a breeze. Gently laying down the Baby Born doll will see her closing her eyes and drifting off to dreamland.

There’s a full range of accessories to choose from that will complement your Baby Born doll, including car seat, feeding chair, changing bag, bottles and feeding accessories, carrier, toilet and tooth are spa. You can also buy extra nappies and food sachets when they run out as these are sold separately.

If your little one is at an age where they’re exploring parental roles in their playtime, I’d highly recommend a Baby Born Doll.

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Hasbro’s Top Toy & Games 2019

With the festive season and summer holidays fast approaching, Hasbro, one of the largest toy, game and entertainment experience companies, has released their anticipated 2019 list of suggested toy and gifting solutions.

HASBRO’S 2019 ‘BEST SELLER’ SELECTION FOR THE UP-COMING SEASON:

FurReal Cubby, the Curious Bear Interactive Plush Toy, is a dream companion for kids. He has over 100 different interactions and responds to touch, voice and motion with moving eyes, nose, and mouth, his face is delightfully expressive. Cubby is a totally lovable, curious young cub and is eager to be picked up and held (he hugs you back), plays peek-a-boo, and let’s not forget snack time – feed him his bottle or treat and he’ll make eating sounds. Then, when it comes to bedtime, you switch him into a nighttime mode and he slowly falls asleep and plays a variety of music and white noise to also help the child sleep.

• There is an exciting range of Nerf blasting options on offer:

The Nerf Trilogy DS-15 toy blaster has ejecting shells to heat up your Nerf dart-blasting action. Unleash a triple-dart blast with this Nerf N-Strike Elite blaster that shoots 3 darts at once from each shell.

The Nerf Fortnite AR-E blaster, inspired by the blaster used in Fortnite, is the only way to play Fortnite in real life. Drop into indoor and outdoor Fortnite action with this motorised, dart-firing Nerf Elite Fortnite blaster that features two flip-up sights to help you align your shot and an acceleration button to power up the motor.

Go into battle with the bolt-action Nerf Rival Helios XVIII-700 blaster. Pull back the bolt to prime the blaster and unleash rounds at a velocity of 30 meters per second. The bolt placement can be customised to accommodate right or left-handed battlers.

Transformers War for Cybertron: Siege plunges fans into the epic fight to survive on the final day of the Autobot and Decepticon battle to control Cybertron. Build the ultimate battlefield with Transformers War for Cybertron: Siege toy figures with customisable weapon configurations.

• On the Transformers Cyberverse animated series the Allspark can harness incredible new powers, including the power to convert Earth vehicles into Spark Armor: battle-ready gear that allows them to fight in new places and in new ways. Kids can collect assorted Spark Armor figures (each sold separately) to discover more exciting characters from the Cyberverse series.

• Imagine teaming up and battling the Power Rangers’ toughest enemies with these Power Rangers Beast Morphers Action Zord figure assortment (which include: Beast-X Megazord and Beast Racer Megazord). Standing 25 cm tall, and with the included accessories, these action figure toys are ready for action against any foe.

• Young fans of the Disney Frozen movies will love the Frozen 2 Singing Elsa and Anna Fashion dolls (each sold separately). Each doll includes a Frozen 2 inspired outfit, press the button on the bodice to watch the dress light up and hear a snippet of an original song from the Frozen 2 movie. Sing along while imagining scenes with Arendelle’s favourite sister duo. Kids can take magical Frozen adventures on the go with the Fold and Go Arendelle Castle portable playset. Inspired by Disney’s Frozen 2, this castle set has two floors of fun that fold up and fun accessories are included to decorate the rooms.

Baby Alive Happy Hungry Baby loves to eat. Mix baby’s food with water to make doll food that looks like the real thing. When you give baby her spoon, she opens wide and really eats her doll food. She also giggles, moves, and asks for more. With over 50 sounds and phrases, this sweet baby doll makes feeding and changing time feel oh-so-real and fun for little mommies and daddies. The Baby Alive Snip ‘n Style Baby is ready for you to brush, trim, and style her hair. Brush baby’s fringe with her interactive brush and watch it grow then hold the interactive scissors up to baby’s fringe and pretend to trim and watch the fringe get shorter! Includes 35+ sounds and phrases, and 12 hair accessories to style baby’s hair for any occasion.

Play-Doh continues to captivate kid’s imaginations. Picture a land of colourful dreams where unicorns poop Play-Doh ice cream. Meet Tootie, the hilarious unicorn ice cream maker who loves to create silly Play-Doh sundaes. As she dispenses Play-Doh colours this unicorn toy makes laugh-out-loud sounds and even changes her facial expression. There’s no stoppin’ the poppin’ fun with the Play-Doh popcorn maker toy, which includes everything you need to make creative Play-Doh popcorn masterpieces. Crank pretend popcorn into the 3 bucket sizes and mix it up with silly snack mixes. Add fun play food toppings like pretend pretzels, crazy candy, and more with the candy-themed stamps and moulds. Don’t forget to squeeze in some silly syrup or butter with the syrup tool. Little chefs can go pizza crazy with the Play-Doh Stamp ‘n Top Pizza Oven. Stamp a pizza crust in the oven, then go wild creating and customising with the variety of tools and moulds included.

• The My Little Pony world is filled with magic, friendship, fun and laughter. Tickle Oh My Giggles Pinkie Pie toy and watch as she starts to giggle, wiggle and laugh – the more she is tickled the harder she laughs and the faster she moves. Cuddle and play with an adorable baby pony doll. Each My Little Pony baby doll has a moulded diaper and removable bib and bottle accessories. Feed the doll her bottle to activate sound. Poseable figure can sit or stand and is made of soft plastic for kids to cuddle and hug.

• Gear up and get ready to ‘earn your wings’ with Top Wing. Now kids can join Swift in his Deluxe Rescue Vehicle for high-flying rescue missions as he zooms through the sky on the Flash Wing, which includes a Rescue mode (talons down) and Turbo mode (talons up), each with sounds for even more fun.

Mr. Potato Head Movin Lips is an interactive talking toy, that’s fun and entertaining for kids as well as adults. Just attach his mouth and press the buttons, his lips synchronise to wacky songs and some funny phrases.

GET YOUR FAMILY TIME GAME ON WITH A WIDE RANGE OF GAMES TO SUITS ALL AGES FROM HASBRO GAMING

• Meet MS. MONOPOLY – a self-made investment guru, who is here to celebrate women trailblazers in the first game where women make more than men. Instead of buying properties, players invest in groundbreaking inventions and innovations made possible by women throughout history. From inventions like WiFi to chocolate chip cookies to space station batteries, MS. MONOPOLY celebrates everything from scientific advancements to everyday accessories. In the MS. MONOPOLY game, women get a higher payout at the start of the game and more money when passing ‘Go’, but who you are is up to you!

Ms. Monopoly Board Game; First Game Where Women Make More Than Men; Features Inventions by Women; Game for Families and Kids Ages 8 and Up

Monopoly Fortnite – in this thrilling Fortnite inspired edition of the Monopoly game, players claim locations, battle opponents, and avoid the Storm to survive. The gameplay, design, and components of the board game include elements inspired by the video game including Fortnite locations and loot chest cards. Instead of Monopoly money, players earn Health Points (HP). Like in the Fortnite video game, the last player standing wins!

• Make Monopoly Cheaters Edition board game a favourite go-to game for game nights and other fun get-togethers. Lean into those iconic (yet unspoken) Monopoly moments in which rules are bent, money is borrowed, and funny business is welcomed. Fake a die roll, steal some bills from the bank, and even skip out on rent. Complete a cheat to get a reward but fail a cheat and pay the consequences. The pretend handcuff unit that may leave players “chained” to the board is a fun addition to the game.

Monopoly Game: Cheaters Edition

• The Connect 4 Shots game combines the gameplay of the original Connect 4 game with fast- paced, competitive excitement. Two players at a time race to get four balls of their colour in a row to win. Kids can also practice solo to prepare for a future Connect 4 Shots matchup.

Connect 4 Grab & Go Game

Hasbro products are available from leading retailers including:  Takealot.com, Makro, Toys R Us, ToyZone, Toy Kingdom, Game and Checkers.

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Hatchimals Week of WOW

We recently participated in the Hatchimals Week of WOW – and what a fun week it was!

Getting to try out and review one of the hottest toy sensations around was bound to be fun – But being able to giveaway the products to our loyal followers made it all the sweeter.

We kicked off our weekly reviews with the Hatchtopia Life Plushies. They come in large, beautiful eggs, and once hatched they reveal an adorable plush toy. We managed to hatch one of the 6 Rainbow Rare plushies and the girls were thrilled!

We also reviewed the Hatchimals CollEGGtibles 12 pack egg carton. This was from the season 5 mermal magic collection so they’re super on-trend at the moment.

There is so much fun in cracking these pretty eggs to see what mermal is hiding inside. The best part is they change color in warm water so the girls now insist on taking them into the bath each time.

https://twincessdiaries.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/editvideo2.movThere’s also a 4-pack (+bonus) of these mermal eggs that are more cost effective, yet still gives the same thrill and anticipation that comes with each “hatch”.

The Hatchimals Pixies might be my favorite. Not only are the eggs colorful, large and beautifully decorated but inside lies a sassy Pixie complete with sparkly wings and hair, and a fabulous outfit. There are 8 pixies in this collection and each come with 3 unique accessories.

But the product the girls enjoyed the most is definitely the Mermal Magic Coral Castle. It encourages role play – which the girls are very much into at the moment, and it folds away tidily after they’re done, so mom is happy to. The castle also comes with two exclusive Hatchimals characters so it can be enjoyed on its own without having to purchase other items from the range.

Having had a chance to dive into the range this past week, I can certainly see where the appeal of Hatchimals lies. The range meets 3 of the top characteristics of successful toys these days:

1. Unboxing: the effect of cracking and slowly peeling open the egg

2. Surprise: the anticipation! Not knowing what you’re going to get

3. Collectible: the need to complete a collection

These 3 characteristics can be seen in most of the top toy ranges currently, and Hatchimals do it with fun and flair.

The eggs would make ideal stocking fillers this holiday, while the larger purchases such as the Coral Castle can make a beautiful stand alone Christmas present. Happy Holidays!

– With Just Fun Toys

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One Like Me! – Dolls and Diversity

One of the first toys a girl will own will most likely be a doll. In the past that doll would, in all likelihood be light-skinned, blue-eyed and perfectly proportioned.

Thankfully today, more and more toy manufacturers are diversifying their doll options to reflect society’s diverse populations.

If you follow any of our social media channels, you’ll know we are huge fans of the Our Generation Doll brand. One of the biggest reasons is that Our Generation understands the need for diverse dolls that represent all girls. The OG range includes dolls of color, dolls of different ethic backgrounds, dolls with disabilities, dolls with different eye color, hair texture and skin complexion. There are both girl and boy dolls available.

There is so much more at stake in the toy aisle than we realize. Our Generation knows that dolls are one of the first and most common toys that children will have, so in turn will provide a great deal of play and learning potential.

There is a huge scope for dolls to help children- from a very early age – to negotiate their racial identity, form a healthy self image and a well-rounded world view.

This is particularly important for me, as a mom raising mixed-race daughters in the cultural melting pot of South Africa.

Children of all races need to see themselves represented in a positive light. And because a child’s identity becomes so wrapped up in their doll, representation has never been more important.

When a parent gives a child a doll that looks like her, they’re saying: ‘There are people like you in the world. You matter just as much as anyone else.’

And Our Generation is taking this empowering message even further with their career dolls. Girls can be anything, and everything they want to be. Astronaut, Pilot, Vet, Doctor… the OG range has it all.

So when a brand commits to building a generation of strong, fearless girls, with limitless potential, you can be sure it’s a brand I will support time and time again. Thank you Our Generation for empowering our girls through your diverse and accomplished range of dolls.

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Toddler Friendly Flights – Emirates Airlines

We recently traveled return on Emirates airlines from SA to Europe (including stopovers at Dubai) with twin 4-year olds.

We chose Emirates airlines as they fly directly out of Durban, and they have excellent perks for little travelers.

Here are some of my favorite things about Emirates when traveling with toddlers:

1. Kid Friendly Meals

Children’s meals are served first, so parents can usually aid their little ones with their meals before their own arrive.

The kids meals are lovely! The girls had Mac and cheese, roast chicken and mash and spaghetti bolognaise (all served with a side of veggies). They were served chocolate cake with sprinkles for dessert and waffles and chocolate sauce for breakfast. They had crackers and cheese, individually packaged cereals, and chocolate bars and strawberry milkshakes. The girls were well fed on our flights, and although they didn’t eat everything, I did not have to worry about them going hungry.

2. Kids Toys and Activities

Emirates is extremely kid-friendly. Little travelers get a blanket and collectible plush animal. Older children get an activity pack in a sling bag that includes puzzles and coloring.

On some flights the girls got little backpacks with an activity book that included stickers and color pencils.

They really enjoyed their blankets and plush toys. They still use them even today.

Our haul from just 4 flights
Lovely bag with a ton of activities
What’s inside
A furry backpack with sticker games

3. Kids Entertainment

There’s an endless supply of entertainment available for children on the Emirates play on demand ICE entertainment system. From puzzles to video games, coloring to cartoons, the screen provides unlimited entertainment for children. There’s a beautiful collection of family movies, including Disney classics, and a long list of children’s popular series and songs. Long haul flights are definitely not the time to be limiting screen time.

4. Cool rewards program

The Emirates Skywards Skysurfer program rewards its young travelers in much the way typical airline loyalty programs do. But there are additional perks for kids, such as guaranteed window seats and points that can be redeemed for toys and gadgets on the Emirates online shop.

5. Families come first

Emirates is one of the few airlines that still allow passengers traveling with young kids to board first. It is such a relief to get out of those long lines, get seated, set them up with their entertainment and catch our breath while the rest of the plane boards. On long haul flights the boarding process can take up to an hour. Imagine standing in a line with a crabby toddler for that long?!

For some the stopover in Dubai might be off putting, but I really enjoyed the break in a otherwise long trip. I appreciated being able to get off the plane, walk around and use regular-sized bathrooms! I think it also created a good opportunity for the girls to overcome any “cabin fever” that may have started to set in.

I highly recommend Emirates for family-Friendly travel, and I’ll be hard pressed to choose otherwise when we travel again.

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Top 5 Airplane Activities for Toddlers

 

We recently flew from Durban to Europe – two long haul flights – with twin toddlers.

To say I was having sleepless nights prior to the trip is an understatement. You see, prior to having my own kids, I was extremely intolerant with children on flights. I was the mean woman staring you down if your baby would not quiet, and the one tutting at parents whose toddlers threw tantrums.

I judged frazzled, overwhelmed parents without a shred of mercy… so I was convinced that my karma would come back to bite me in the rear. I imagined one (or both of my girls throwing epic tantrums onboard) and a million eyes staring me down with accusatory judgement. I mean, I would deserve it, right?

Since having kids, it’s clear that those parents were not out to get me when their kids cried on my flights. It wasn’t about me at all. It was about toddlers who were bored mindless because they’re not made to sit still for 8 hours at a time. It’s about little babies who’s ears are painfully adjusting to the altitude differences. I know that now, and am able to empathize – something I wasn’t able to do before.

But since I was convinced my kids would be monsters on the plane, I did a ton of research into activities that would keep them busy on the long haul flights.

I can highly recommend the following, bearing in mind that my children are four years old.

  1. Melissa and Doug Water Wow books

This was a standout winner for us. This exciting paint-with-water coloring book includes four reusable pages and a refillable water pen. Simply use the pen to color in each scene–details and vibrant color appear with every stroke! Magic! The girls played with these books for hours on the flights, and they’re still not bored of them months later!

  1. Play Doh

A universal favorite with kids of all ages, we packed a few cans of Play-Doh in the girls backpacks for in case of emergency (aka meltdowns). It is the perfect quiet-time activity and kept their attention just when the flights were starting to feel endless. I didn’t take any cutters/accessories, worrying the girls would lose them, but in hindsight, I should have carried a few to keep them engaged for longer.

  1. Dot to Dot Coloring Books and crayons

I bought inexpensive dot-to-dot coloring books for the girls, along with a pack of crayons each. Emirates Airlines provides a cute activity book for kids as well. We pulled this out when the girls started getting antsy about sitting in one place for over 6 hours. Since they were newly introduced to the dot-to-dot concept, the found it very entertaining.

  1. Melissa and Doug Puffy Stickers

I would recommend this for children who are slightly older (above 5, I think). These reusable stickers come with a folding board scene that can open up to create a playmate for the stickers. You can find different scenes such as Vehicles, Town, Safari and Riding Club. I bought the Fairy and Mermaid ones for the girls. I would recommend it for older kids as I found my girls didn’t fully grasp the concept of creating a “story” with the stickers, and rather stick them on the tray table!

  1. Wrapped surprises

I read this tip on numerous blogs, and it works! Wrap a few inexpensive toys in gift wrap, and present it to the child who’s extremely bored/on the verge of a tantrum. The excitement of opening a ‘present’ will instantly transform their mood and grab their attention. I bought 2-3 cheap toys from the Crazy Store and wrapped them up before the trip. I only had to use this tactic once, but it really does work!

Like I said, I was worried sick about their behavior on the long flights, so I prepared in earnest. You could use just one of these tips -or all- depending on your level of OCD!

If you’ve flown long-haul with little kids before, let me know what’s worked for you!

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