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You won't want to leave home without these great picks -- approved by moms around the country by Annie Schoening
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What moms like about Fridgeplay's GoPlay Magnetic Games for Travel: Pieces stay put and store inside the case, which is compact enough that you can stash several in a carry-on bag. The metal box unfolds into a good-size surface, so more than two can play. Available in Four in a Row, Sudoku, Checkers, Bingo, and Hangman. ($10 each; flight001.com)
"Bingo and checkers saved us when our flight was delayed a few hours. It kept the kids from fighting -- they played on their own for forty-five minutes!"
-- Julie Gahm, mom of Ryan, 8, and Lily, 6, Louisville, KY
Better (and greener) than a plastic bag, Boon's Snack Ball keeps Cheerios from getting smashed -- and crumbs from getting all over. The two halves unscrew for quick cleaning. ($7; booninc.com)
"It holds just the right amount for a toddler, and he can grasp it easily."
-- Robin Wilkerson, mom of Audren, 7, Lane, 4 and Tanner, 2 Arvada, CO
"There's extra room in the tummy, so you don¿t have to fold the blanket into a neat shape -- it tucks in easily."
-- Deborah Skolnik, Parenting staffer mom of Clara, 7, and Genie, 4
Philips's sleek DCP850 Docking Entertainment System DVD player also plays and charges iPods, so you can cut down on cords and discs. With dual headphone ports, it can entertain two kids at once. ($200; philipsusa.com)
"The swivel screen is great. I can turn it so no one messes with the buttons!"
-- Maura Rhodes, mom of Will, 17 Eliza, 9, Lucas, 5 and Wyatt, 2 Montclair, NJ
Perfect for an afternoon at Grandma's or a long trip, Graco's Infant Travel Bed weighs just five pounds, folds flat (only three inches thick), and has a padded shoulder strap for comfy carrying. (Once your baby can push himself up on his hands and knees, though, stop using it.) ($50; gracobaby.com and Target stores)
"This is a great multitasker. My infant prefers it over the play yard."
-- Fatima Malik, mom of Rahmeen, 2, and Zoya, 1 month, Olathe, KS
You only get two carry-ons -- why not have a diaper bag that wears like a purse? The chic stain-resistant Canvas and Camel Tote from Desk Top Limited has a changing pad and lots of pockets. ($30; Target stores)
"The lining cleans well, and it doesn't look babyish."
-- Patty Onderko, mom of Theo and Nate 9 months, Brooklyn
At just $30, Evenflo's sturdy XSport Convenience Stroller beats your old clunker: It folds up easily, weighs ten pounds (but holds kids up to 40 pounds), and has a roomy storage basket and cup holders. (at Wal-Mart and Burlington Baby Depot stores)
"It's a brilliant upgrade from the ordinary umbrella stroller."
-- Ashley Sullivan mom of Sydney, 2, and Taylor, 1, Grayson, GA