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“Mom. Are we there yet?”   Summer traveling have you stumped on how you will entertain your children on long car rides? They can be miserable when your children are bored. Here are a few games to help pass the time and keep your sanity on these hot days and long family car trips! This familiar question of “how much longggeerrr?” is heard by moms and dads everywhere and fills them with dread as it is usually a signal their little ones are getting bored. Make it a stress-free car journey!

I Spy
“I spy with my little eye, something red.” This easy-to-learn game is perfect for preschoolers, and can keep them entertained for unbelievably long periods of time.  Choosing an object that they can see and giving them the first letter also helps with their spelling and encourages them to look around and take in the sights.

I’m Going on a Picnic
This alphabet-based memory game is great for kids 5 and up. You don’t need a game board or any materials. The game can be played with as few as two players, but it’s more fun when the whole family joins in. The first player says “I’m going on a picnic and I’m bringing…” followed by something that begins with A, such as apples. The second player repeats what the first person said, but adds something that begins with B. So she might say “I’m going on a picnic and I’m bringing apples and bananas.” And so on with C, D, and the rest of the alphabet. If someone forgets an item, she is out. To be fair, feel free to be lenient and give hints to younger players. The last player to be able to recite all the items on the list wins.

20 Questions
This easy-peasy game is great for younger kids, thanks to its straightforward rules. Player One thinks of a person, place or thing. Everyone else takes turns asking questions that can be answered with a simple yes or no. After each answer, the questioner gets one guess. Play continues until a player guesses correctly.

Telephone
This is great if there are a large number of people in the car, school trips being perfect. One person starts by whispering a sentence into their friend’s ear and it then goes all around the car with the last to hear required to repeat it to everyone else. It is very fun and shows how “rumors” can change very easily from one person to the next!

Treasure Hunt
This game is great fun for the kids and requires minimal interaction from you while on the journey, so you can concentrate on driving. Before leaving give each child a list of objects such as cow, sheep, red car, church, castle and ask them to mark each one off as and when they see it along the way. Of course, there will be a prize for each of them at the end of the journey if they have all succeeded in the task and it will keep them quiet for hours as their eyes will be glued to the window!

iPad or Kindle or Tablet
With the explosion of tablets on the market in the last few years many parents have invested in the new technology, some of which cost as little as $100. They are great to hand over to the kids before embarking on a long journey because they are packed full of games that will keep the kids busy. Most have an app store from which you can download several games beforehand with the kids, so they can simply access these on the go.

License Plate Game
When we were kids, everyone seemed to play the license plate game on family road trips. Armed with a pad of paper, we would write down the name of each state as we spotted it. The goal, of course, was to nab all 50 states. If we were lucky, we’d bag the Canadian provinces, too.

The game of silence
This one really works a treat and gives parents a few minutes of peace and quiet. Simply put, the child who can stay quiet the longest wins a treat. The longer they are quiet, the better the treat becomes. It could be considered bribery but, in a car full of screaming kids, anything goes!

CHECK OUT LE TOP CHILDREN’S CLOTHING AT
www.letop-usa.com

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No, I did not say that!

My favorite ride at Disneyland was Pirates of the Can of Bean.”
– Carmine, age 6

Editor’s Note:
Please spread the giggles and share your funny quote with us by sending it to editor@letop-usa.com!

Visit our home page at
www.letop-usa.com

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Last week was Chinese New Year and the start of the year of the Dragon! In Chinese culture, many Chinese women in China are superstitious in feeling that because the year of the dragon is the “luckiest” year in the lunar calendar, they need to scramble to have a “dragon baby” this Chinese Zodiac year.  I have been reading that there has been a surge in the number of mainland China women going to Hong Kong to give birth in order to avoid China’s one-child policy, which is now prompting authorities to cap the number of births permitted in the former British colony.

Parents across China right now are aspiring to produce “Dragon Babies” in the hope that the symbol, long associated with emperors, power and intelligence will bring wealth and luck. Doctors have warned some women may even turn to illegal means to dodge the cap. Newspapers have reported cases of mainland women illegally crossing the border and skirting the rules by going straight to emergency rooms in public hospitals to deliver their babies. As a special administrative region within China, Hong Kong largely runs its own affairs under the “one country, two systems formula.” Hong Kong also has its own currency and legal system — the “one child” rule does not apply. Who knew that the year of the Dragon could cause a baby boom! I thought you might find this topic interesting – what are your thoughts on the topic? Next year is the year of the snake in the lunar calendar and it is speculated there will be a drop in baby births in China.

CHECK OUT LE TOP CHILDREN’S CLOTHING AT
www.letop-usa.com

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Today is the beginning of Chinese New Year – the year of the Dragon! If you are or are not Chinese, it is great to teach your child about different cultures, and it can be fun for you and your family! In 2012, Chinese New Year is celebrated on January 23. In the Chinese calendar, it is the year 4709, and the Year of the Dragon!

This post has been moved to our website. To view the full post go to: http://blog.letop-usa.com/?p=23605

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Elijah in Le Top's Fall 2011 "Ready for Takeoff" Footed Coverall

We are getting ready for our first flight with our four and half month old baby. Can I just say, I am more nervous about this flight, than possibly the labor of having the baby! Nothing is worse than being on a plane with a screaming baby, I can attest to that. I am terrified that we are going to be those people! So what can you do to make the flight go smoothly? Well, I asked that same question to google and here are some great tips that were pinged back (ok and some that our friends have shared with us too!)

  1. Nurse that baby on the way up and the way down to help his ears pop, as babies do not have the ability to “naturally” clear their ears. Using a bottle or a pacifier is supposed to help as well.
  2. Speak with a flight attendant when you first get on the plane to point you in the direction of the best changing area for your infant. Not all planes have changing tables.
  3. We use expressed milk, so heating a bottle mid-air can be tricky. It’s best to nurse your baby in the air, or come prepared with a room temperature bottle. Unrefrigerated milk is good for 4-8 hours. (If you are on an overseas flight, you may want to plan ahead and check in prior to departure what options the crew can give you for warming a bottle.)
  4. Bring a compact play mat, we have a small thin one, that you can put at your feet, so baby has some where to lay when he gets restless in your arms. Small toys that don’t make too much noise are also good distractions and won’t bother other passengers.
  5. If all else fails, apologize to those around you and assure them you are doing the best that you can to calm the baby. Most people have been in your situation and should be at least sympathetic.

I will let you know how goes, and what worked best! If you have suggestions, please feel free to leave them in comments section below….it will be very appreciated!!!

Source: pregnancy.about.com

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So this past Friday, I decided to jet over to California to see the family and visit Le Top’s headquarters. My flight was due to depart at 7:30am (a very early wake up of 4:15am…), and as the plane took off, I thought, “Now to get some Zzzz’s and then do a bit of work for our website.” Only to realize there were 2 toddlers and a baby DIRECTLY behind me on the plane – GREAT. The kids bumped my seat the entire flight and it didn’t help it was a touch screen on the back of the seat either….as their baby decided to test her Christina Aguilera skills and wail the entire flight at shrilling tones. Oh joy. Hence…what are the tricks of the trade of flying with toddlers and how can I avoid being “THAT Mom” on the plane…

Wait – did I mention we just launched Le Top’s pre-fall collection called “Ready for Takeoff”? Oh the irony…but such a cute collection – check it out here!


The main difference between traveling with toddlers and babies is that toddlers are much more mobile. More precisely, toddlers are more “squirmy” than babies. Toddlers are also much less likely to sleep the whole flight or at unusual times just because there is the steady hum of an airplane engine.

Situation — Arriving at the Airport
By the time you get through airport security and board the plane, you’ve already done a ton of waiting. Add in strangers and loud noises and you’re practically begging for a tantrum. Younger toddlers can be overwhelmed by all the sensory stimulation.

What to Do:
Leading up to the day of departure, build positive anticipation for the journey by pointing out planes flying by in the sky or giving your child a toy airplane to play with. When you pack for the flight, be sure to include both old and new toys for the trip. Go to the airport prepared with plenty of toys and activities that you know your kid likes — but also save something special to engage him on the plane, like a new set of crayons or a book that he’s never seen before, which will be extra cool. At the airport, let your kid burn energy before you board. Have him help push a small suitcase around the waiting area and ride the escalators. Once you’re up in the air, narrate everything.

Helpful Tips:
My 2-Cents: The most important tip for flying with a toddler is to get more than one seat. Even though a child under 2-years old can fly free on the lap of a parent, it is virtually impossible to keep a toddler in a single seat for all but the shortest of flights. This is not to say that you should pay for your toddler to have its own seat. If you are traveling with another, older child, or with another parent or adult, then that extra seat of roaming room may be enough. However, if it is just you and your toddler flying on the airplane, you should give consideration to buying the toddler an extra seat.

Regardless of what kind of airline you are flying on, don’t depend on the flight attendants for your baby supplies. So what should you pack?

What to Bring
Rule #1: Pack all your child’s essentials — diapers, food, toys, any medication — in your carry-on. Pack enough to account for flight delays and misplaced luggage.

Pacifier: Rapid changes in cabin pressure can make little ears “pop,” so keep drinks or pacifiers available for takeoffs and landings (sucking helps reduce ear sensitivity).

Food: Most children enjoy eating, or at least eating snacks and treats. So, even if your child is a picky eater, it is smart to bring along some of their favorite foods in case they get hungry. This not only saves you money, but it saves the rest of the passengers from listening to your child cry and complain about hunger or not liking what is offered as a snack.

Drink: Planes do offer a wide variety of beverages, but they also have a lot of passengers to serve. So, in case their drinks do not get to them fast enough, or they do not have the special flavor of orange-colored drink your child likes, bring some along.

Toys: Your child will want to be entertained. After all, it is difficult for most adults to sit still doing nothing in a plane seat all day, that is why most adults bring magazines, books, or sleep while flying. So, bring some quiet, and portable toys for your child to enjoy while flying. Also, to capture their attention longer, consider buying a new toy, one that they have not played with before. Not only will they be more excited, but they will likely enjoy it longer, which means more quiet time.

iPad: Toys only last so long, so be sure to bring and iPad and download great books or movies so your child can stay entertained.

Clothes: A change of clothes may seem unnecessary, but small children have accidents, throw up when stressed or nervous, and sometimes spill. You will not want your child sopping wet and frustrated, so just in case, at least bring a clean t-shirt to change them into if needed – jammies are a great option too for late night flights!

Diapers: Even if you change their diaper one minute before boarding, and the flight is only an hour, you will want to have diapers with you. After all, do you really want to smell a stinky diaper for 2000 or more miles? So stick in a few more than you think you will need; you won’t be sorry.

Wipes: Wipes are extremely useful, not just for changing diapers, but also for making sticky hands and faces clean, removing stains from clothes, etc. Bring along a fairly decent amount of wipes.

Other Notes:  The Federal Aviation Administration recommends that small children be seated in a Child Restraint System, or CRS — i.e., a car seat. According to FAA guidelines:

For babies less than 20 lbs., use a rear-facing car seat
For children 20 – 40 lbs., use a forward-facing car seat
For kids weighing more than 40 lbs., use the airplane seat belt
Every restraint must bear a label indicating that it’s FAA approved, something to check in advance of your flight.

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Paulo is wearing School of Fun and Chameleon Camouflage from LeTop's 2011 Spring Summer Collection.

We took our kids to Disneyland this summer for our family vacation. This was Paulo’s first visit and we didn’t know what to expect. Will he go crazy? Will he love it? Will WE hate it? Well… he LOVED it and we loved that he loved it!

He was in awe when he saw Mickey Mouse standing in front of him. He ran right up to him and gave him a hug. He went nuts when he saw Lightning McQueen right before his eyes. He wanted to climb up in the driver’s seat and take him for a spin. And the rides? A definite two thumbs up on ALL the rides! His favorite ride, I would say, was the Jungle Adventure Ride because of all the animals he encountered while on the boat trip. Although he also liked Autopia because he got to drive his own car with Daddy. He wasn’t a fan of the long lines. (Who is?) But this trooper made the best of it by hanging on the rails, climbing the walls and rolling around on the ground.

Disneyland… the Happiest Place on Earth!

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