article by Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Note that this post contains affiliate sales links that will take you to  If you then order the items, this website gets credit and a small commission that does not affect your purchase price.  So please do order directly from here when convenient.  It is win-win.  It costs you nothing, and it gives us a small stipend–even if you just put it in your cart and wait to actually order it later.

Miles of Smiles:  101 Great Car Games & Activities
Anyone who has ever been trapped in a hot car with bored kids is well aware that they need a sure-fire way of easing the resulting tensions.  This book (written by yours truly) fills that need and, according to one enthusiastic user, “may be the ultimate solution for back seat squabbling.”  It contains games and activities with travel-related themes.  97 games require just minds and mouths to play, and the other 4 need only simple props: a penny, a pencil, and some crayons.  Recommended for ages 4+.

No-Jet-Lag homeopathic tablets
I always take these tablets when I am flying on a long trip that crosses several time zones.  I have found that when I take them, I adjust to the local time faster and I don’t experience that dizzy jet-lag feeling.  I actually am able to hit the ground running.

luggage rack
This luggage rack is the best.  It is well made, sturdy, and easy to store.  I bought one for each of my adult children, so that when I visit I have a comfortable place to put my suitcase.  I no longer have to bend over to the ground to extract things.

rice cooker
Though this rice maker does make rice, everyone I know uses it to make oatmeal.  It is such a treat to add the ingredients the night before, then wake up in the morning to piping hot cereal.  It plays a little song when it is ready, in case you are up early.  Each of my adult children also has one of these, but I think they bought it themselves. 

Royal Horticulture Society desk calendar
I still buy a calendar desk diary calendar every year to keep track of my appointments.  I love looking a the new picture each week, and I like to think in terms of an entire week at a time.  The Royal Horticulture Society Desk Diary is one of my two favorites.

Tower of Tracks toy
My cat, Barney, plays with this toy every day. I wonder what he thinks about never being able to catch that ball? He gives up, but always goes back and plays some more.

butterfly kit for kids
I gave this kit once to one of my grandkids, and I plan to give it again a few more times.  This particular kit includes the live caterpillars and is ready to go.  Consider the weather when you give it.  If it is cold wintertime, consider giving a gift certificate for the child to redeem when the weather is more suitable. 

3-D safari book
Last Christmas I gave this to both my son and my son-in-law, figuring they would enjoy sharing it with the family.  I was right.  I enjoy looking at it, too, when I am visiting.

The Tale of Peter Rabbit
Written by Beatrix Potter, this classic children’s book was first published in 1902.  It is a popular and well-loved tale that “tells the story of a very mischievous rabbit and the trouble he encounters in Mr. McGregor’s vegetable garden!”  I was quite surprised when my granddaughter showed no interest in it, but I still intend to give one to my other granddaughters as well.  Hmmm, maybe next time I see her I will ask her to “borrow” the copy I gave her.  Or maybe I’ll read it to her again, now that she is a little older.  

Insect Shield Bandana
I am just back from a trip to Trinidad, where the Zika virus is a danger.  Before I left on the trip, I was quite concerned about mosquitoes and repelling them.  I was given one of these bandanas and wore it around my neck whenever I was in a mosquito-possible situation.  I loved the bandana–it has no odor, is just like a regular bandana and quite cute, and repels more than mosquitoes.  By the way, I only saw a few mosquitoes on my trip, and did get a few bites on my feet, but none of them messed with my neck.  

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
This pop-up version of the classic tale is spectacular.  I gave it to my granddaughter when she was five but am having even more fun reading it with her now that she is eight.  The pop-ups are intricate and somewhat fragile, so you will want to read it with children and make a rule about no reading it alone until they are older.  I will be buying it for another grandchild when she turns five. 

Baby Einstein Take Along Tunes Musical Toy
This colorful toy is a must to entertain babies.  They become mesmerized by its songs, and it doesn’t drive adults too nuts from hearing it over and over. 

Dear Zoo: A Lift-the-Flap Book
Though this little board book was written more than thirty years ago, it is as popular now as ever.  Toddlers adore lifting those flaps! 

The SheepOver (Sweet Pea & Friends)
This sweet book won me over because it is inspired by a true story and was originally self-published by the author.  I also like that it is oversize.  Now it has a major publisher, but it is as sweet as ever.  My three-year-old granddaughter loves it, and I love reading it to her and so does everyone else. 

sticker books for kids
Everyone knows kids love stickers.  I keep a stash of these inexpensive Dover sticker books for my grandkids, and dole them out when things start to go downhill.  These are my favorites: 
Make Your Own Pizza
Decorate a Birthday Cake
Make Your Own Aquarium
Create Your Own Monsters
Make Your Own Butterfly
Decorate a Snowman
Gingerbread House
Glitter Cats