If you read my post about my newfound trepidation about traveling with not one, but two, kids in tow, you'll know that we're considering taking our kids to Italy this winter.  Italy is, hands down, our favourite place on earth...and we've been to a lot of places!  The pace, the food, the scenery, the people - just can't be beat!  But how do we visit our favourite place with a 2.5 year old and a 6 month old and actually enjoy ourselves? 

Recently, MSN Today posted an article titled "Went to Europe, loved the playground: Why travel with kids is a waste"   The title is a bit misleading because the article does attempt to be balanced and even says that traveling with your children is a good thing - it just shouldn't be "THE" thing.  You need to spend time together at home and create those strong bonds at home before whisking everyone off to some exotic island or far-flung country. 

So I began to think more seriously about Italy...will I be disappointed if we travel all that way knowing that the day after we get back my toddler will already have forgotten half of the things we saw? Or will I be frustrated spending half the day at a playground that looks like the playground that's three doors down from our own house? 
Not really.  As long as the other half of the day is spent doing a little exploring (after naptime, of course).  I suppose it might be upsetting if this was a 'once in a lifetime' trip.  But it's not.  It's just the beginning, really. 

And yes, *I* want to go to Italy.  My kids haven't been begging me.  But I don't see anything wrong with that.  The whole trip will expose them to things they just won't experience at home.

And it will serve as an opportunity for JR to practice his newfound* skills of patience and adaptability to different surroundings.  And an opportunity for us to learn how we best travel as a family.

So when Laura Davis, from Playground Parents, told me about her new site, I started thinking that maybe it's not so silly to travel a great distance with such young kids. She and her husband are building a new online resource for traveling families.  If you're away from home and your kids need to burn off some energy, you can go to their site, plug in your location and it will map playgrounds in your area.  The site is populated by fellow travelers, so if you have a favourite playground near your own home, or somewhere you've traveled, you can add it to their database.  It's a great concept and once more listings are added, I bet will be invaluable to all those intrepid family travelers with rambunctious kids!

*At 2 years old, JR has neither patience nor adaptability yet, but practice makes perfect, right?!

What playgrounds are you traveling to this winter?



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