The Kindle Fire – My Favorite for Traveling Kids

I have been writing this article in my head for the last few months. When Kindle Fire 7” tablets went on sale for Cyber Monday in 2015, my FIL bought the girls each one. At $33 he said they were too cheap not to buy. He also got them the bouncy foam cases and clear screen covers that have made them almost kid proof (the only way they could break them at this point would be to drop them in a bucket of water). I was looking forward to my daughter getting more screen reading time, since we can’t find many books in English here and I wanted her to practice. Fast forward to July, when my FIL bought my son his own Kindle Fire, and sent memory upgrades for each of the three tablets. Here are the many reasons why Kindle Fire is the best tablet for the money, and my absolute favorite tablet for travel.

traveling-kids-with-kindle-fire

Portability

My kids are able to take their Kindles and use them when they want. They are light and easy to put in and out of a backpack. This is great, because when you go through airport security, they have to be taken out of the backpacks. I usually keep all three together in my bag before security, that way I grab all three in one motion (yes they are that light), and distribute them to the kids as we are gathering all of our bags once we’re through to the other side of the metal detector.

Battery Life & Quick Recharge Time

The battery life is up to 7 hours. I find that to be plenty of time, even if we are longer trips. The kids will play with their Kindle, take a break and color, eat, and then play on it a little more. And if you can find a place to plug in when you’re in the airport or wherever, you can get one of these with a usb plug so that you can charge all your devices at once. I like this option because I can use it in the US and Europe… all I have to do is switch the plug. Just make sure that the plug you have is able to convert the power in volts so you don’t ruin your devices. I use the iClever BoostCube and have never had any problems with it. The Fire Tablet 7” only takes 3.3 hours to fully charge, so if you can plug it in for 30 minutes you will get around 2 more hours of play time.

The Price

You cannot beat the price of this tablet. With the memory update for 64 GB at only $20, you can make your Kindle like an iPad for only $70. Add the case for $25 and the screen protector for $7, and you have a really awesome kids tablet for $102 before taxes.

Amazon Underground – Actually Free Apps

There are hundreds of apps that you can get for free through Amazon’s program “Amazon Underground,” which means you can amass a pretty great collection of games without spending any extra money. The games offered in this program change, but once you have purchased them through Amazon Underground, they stay free on your devices, even if they aren’t offered for free any longer. To find these games, search under the “Apps & Games” part of the Amazon drop down menu, and then select “Actually Free Apps” under “Amazon Underground” under “Refine by.”

amazon underground actually free apps

Amazon FreeTime

FreeTime is a program that lets you severely limit what your child is able to access on the Kindle. The only problem with FreeTime is that is difficult to exit, which makes sense since you don’t want your kids to be able to exit if they are small. You go through your apps, movies, and books and can add them to individual FreeTime profiles that you make for each child. The only reason I don’t use FreeTime for my younger kids is because I want them to be able to watch Netflix on their Kindles, and that doesn’t work with FreeTime. Again, that makes sense because with the Netflix App, you can’t limit access to adult Netflix profiles.

Parental Controls

The parental controls on the Kindle Fire are robust. You can limit your kids on almost everything. My one major complaint is that the home screen on my kids’ kindles automatically loads images of my most recently acquired books. Most of the books are not for my kids, nor do I want them to have access to them. I have to manually go through each of their kindles and delete the books from their home screens. I have researched a way to avoid this, but so far everyone agrees that there is no way to get rid of this annoyance. You can also a curfew and choose which days it works. It allows you to set the earliest time they are able to use the device, and when the device will automatically stop their access. There is also the ability to provide a unique code for the kindle that is separate from the parental code. I love that, because it keeps my 4-year-old from messing up my 9-year-old’s reading and game progress.

Downloadable Content

You have the option to download movies and television shows onto your device after you have purchased them. I love this option because it means the kids still have access to their video content when the internet is not available.

So there you have it, my argument as to why I love the Kindle Fire 7” for my kids. I feel like it has all of the appeal of an iPad, but at 1/4 the price, and the price I gave you includes accessories.

JVC Kidphones

My Headphones Pick

We found these JVC Kidsphones at the airport in Gatwick. The large plastic headband and cushioned ear area make these durable and comfortable. Coincidentally, they come in colors that match the Kindle Kids Cases, which makes my kids happy.

Do you have any experience traveling with a Kindle Fire 7″ for your kids? What does your pro & con list look like?

Happy travels,

Kristin

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This post contains Amazon Affiliate Links.

Mighty Mug Product Review

Mighty Mug : The Mug That Won’t Fall Over from Mighty Mug on Vimeo.

The Mighty Mug – The Ultimate Travel Mug

Every day I receive offers to promote products, kickstarter campaigns, and subscriptions on this blog. Honestly, a lot of times, I say no. I don’t want to waste your time, even if it means I get free stuff. When I heard from one of the representatives of Mighty Mug, I was super excited, because they actually have products that make traveling better. They were kind enough to send me my very own Mighty Mug so I could test it and write a review for you. All of the opinions you read below are mine, and they in no way influenced these opinions. They also want to give you a chance to win your own Mighty Mug, and they ship internationally, so this giveaway is also open for all my global readers!

Mighty Mug_1

Not Your Ordinary Travel Mug

The market is saturated with choices for your hot beverage travel, but the Mighty Mug is different. It has patented technology that makes it impossible to knock over. The instructions say that if a surface is curved, or it is textured, then the Mighty Mug won’t work. I found that to be accurate information. So, it is very likely that it wouldn’t work on the inside of your car. However, if you are like me, you don’t care about that because that is what your car cup holders are for. This mug does make my travel routine a lot easier. Let me share with you what a typical travel day set up would be for me.

Mighty Mug_kid proof
This is not him acting, but genuinely befuddled.

Everyone is dressed, and taking turns in the bathroom. I have just started to pack everything we will need for the day, and have set everything I haven’t packed on the dining room table. Now that I am finished tying shoes, I can finally make my coffee. I drink coffee almost every day, and in fact I also count it as my breakfast, and I want it hot, not luke warm (yuck). So I make my coffee, in whatever 5 minutes I can squeeze into our travel prep, and put it in my travel mug. Then I place the mug on the dining room table next to my purse so I don’t forget it. Enter curious children. My three year old especially wants my coffee. I don’t understand why, but he likes it (and no, I don’t take sugar in my coffee). I was interested to see how my son would respond to the Mighty Mug. He couldn’t knock it sideways, and he couldn’t open it. Score one for the tired mommies out there! Before I would have to guard the table to keep him from opening my mug and spilling it, or even worse, drinking it!

Testing the Mighty Mug

This thing is ingenious. Even though you can’t knock it over accidentally, you can lift it easily if you just pull straight up from the table. I really appreciate the engineering that went into this product, because you can tell they thought about what would make the consumer happy. This product works so well, that they even include a warning that you should not punch it from the side.

Mighty Mug_2

I thought that was a ridiculous warning to include in the instructions, but I have to admit I was tempted to see just how strong of a force this travel mug could take. My husband was too, and I actually had to remind him that it said no punching on the instructions. I also filled the mug with hot coffee and screwed the lid on before shaking it violently upside down over my sink. Not a drop leaked. Several hours later, my coffee was still hot.

The Price

Although this is an amazing feat of engineering, one of the things I find the most impressive about this mug is the price. It is around the same price as many of the travel mugs you find at other places, but it won’t tip over. They also come in a large variety of colors (I got my favorite color, teal), and are now available in Stainless Steel as well. Plus they have options for non-coffee drinkers, including a straw option which I am tempted to order for our kids to use during smoothie time. The mugs, cups, and desk mugs range in price from $14.99 to $24.99.

Just For You

Mighty Mug wants you to have the opportunity to test one out for yourself. They are going to be giving away one $30 gift certificate to one of you lovely readers. Anyone can enter and the contest will run until Monday, October 12th. So head on over and enter now.

I am really impressed with this product, and I think you will be too. Thanks Mighty Mug.

Happy travels,

Kristin

YourComicStory.com Kickstarter “My First Startup”

Hey everyone,

I don’t often see such interesting Kickstarter ideas as far as books go, but I thought I would share this one with you. Do your kids ever ask you questions about how to make money? This is a great way to answer their questions and teach them about earning money and even the basics about creating a successful business. This is something that would have been amazing to have around when I was growing up with my brother, who went on to start two separate businesses before heading off to Seminary to learn how to teach the Bible. In fact, here is a picture of us selling lemonade as kids with our cousins. My aunt posted it on Facebook a few days ago. Perfect timing.

selling lemonade

 

My First Startup

So go check out “My First Startup,” a Kickstarter campaign by YourComicStory.com by clicking —-> here. Because comic books are awesome, and so is learning new stuff.

my first startup kickstarter

I hope you find it as interesting as I did.

Happy travels (and happy parenting),

Kristin

 

Citrus Clear – Product Review

Happy Tuesday!

Today I wanted to take a few minutes to let you know about a product that I received to review for you all. Citrus Clear makes a line of natural, holistic face wash and moisturizing products. When they asked me if I would do a review, I was pretty excited because I have sensitive skin, and they have a whole line of products just for people like me. They also have several products that are the perfect size for travel (under 100 ml). I thought that was a winning combination for a travel blog, like mine. They sent three different products for me to test out, and I have been using them over the last two months. Here are my opinions of each product.

Citrus clear review

Sensitive Moisturizer $24.99 (on sale for $14.00)

This was by far my favorite product. I use it every day, and I have noticed that my skin is softer, and my pores are smaller. I am not guaranteeing that it will have the same effect on your skin, but I really like it. It is also small enough to travel with, and I have added it to arsenal of travel bath products. It also lasts a long time, since you only need a little each day.

Tangerine Tingle $18.99

I have to be honest, this was my least favorite of the three. I think that it would be great if I didn’t have oily skin, but I do. I just didn’t find that it got rid of the oil. The little beads inside of it did a great job exfoliating my face and removing dead skin cells, but my face did not feel clean, because as I said, the acids in this product were not strong enough to cleanse the oil off of my face. If you have dry skin, this would be a great product for you!

Grapefruit Spot Treatment $12.00

This spot treatment is like a lot of other spot treatments on the market, using salicylic acid, which I find is great for getting rid of problem spots. It is different, though, from other products in the fresh smell and feel, which I assume is due to the grapefruit. It is also travel size, which is a huge bonus. I would definitely recommend this for any spot treatment needs you have.

My overall impressions of these products were good. I would personally be happy purchasing the Sensitive Moisturizer as my regular face lotion, and with the sale price of $14.00, I feel like it is a really good deal. Just a few ideas for you on your next family (or solo) trip.

Happy travels,

Kristin

Awesome Apps for Kids – Road Trip Game

This week Sago Mini has been giving away their app, “Road Trip” for free. I know it is Sunday, and I don’t normally do posts on Sunday, but I wanted to make sure that you had an opportunity to get this app while it is free.

Road Trip App Sago Mini

Road Trip Game

The premise of this app, Road Trip by Sago Mini, is that you are going to visit a friend in your vehicle. Your child gets to choose which friend they will visit. They then pack a suitcase, choose one of many vehicles, and then load the suitcase in the back. Along the way they can fill up at the gas station (which counts up to 100), and jump their vehicle, much to their character’s delight.

My two year old loves this app, but so do my 6 and 8 year old. Go figure. The different vehicles and destinations offer many possibilities, which means they could play with this app for a while. If you are planning a road trip, why not give this app a chance, and let your little one plan a road trip of their own. Thanks Sago Mini, for another fun and kid friendly game.

Happy Travels,

Kristin