Family-friendly ideas that made shopping and traveling much easier

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A playroom on a train in Finland, a children's bedroom in Geneva's airport and a toy hidden in aisles in a grocery store in the US

From a playroom on a train to a toy hunt in a grocery store. These are the best ideas from the companies around the world that turned the shopping and traveling experience with kids into an adventure.

Most families agree that traveling, shopping or going out with small children sometimes could be a real challenge. However, more and more companies around the world come up with great ideas how to make these experiences easier for families by keeping the little ones entertained.

Here are 5 family-friendly ideas from companies around the world that made shopping and traveling a pleasant experience for families.

A play area on a train
A girl is playing in a playroom on a train

A girl enjoys playing on a train while traveling from Helsinki to Turku in Finland. Photo courtesy of Neringa Pursiainen

While some railway companies offer a family area for an additional fee – in fact, in most of the cases it is nothing more than just a compartment, the Finnish government-owned railway company VR Group made sure that traveling by train would be a fun experience for all kids on board.

The InterCity trains operating long-distance services are equipped with a playroom that is available for all children free of charge. Parents traveling with small children can relax as slides, a mini-locomotive, toys and books keep the little passengers occupied the whole journey.

A hidden toy hunt in a grocery store


A post shared by Frank E (@fotosdeacosta) on

A girl found a plastic lobster hidden in a grocery store. Photo courtesy of Frank E/Instagram

Grocery shopping with kids is a daily routine for many families. Small wonder that many supermarket chains around the world do their best to make a shopping experience easier for families with small children.

Traditionally, many grocery store chains in Europe, Australia and the US have been offering race car or double-seated carts, free fruits for kids or kid-size shopping trolleys. Some supermarket chains have even installed playgrounds inside their stores. For example a play area could be found in Nations Experience grocery store in Canada, Whole Food market in the US, or Rimi supermarket in Lithuania.

On top of that, supermarket chain Trader Joe’s in the US came up with one of the most interesting ideas in the market. Trader Joe’s organizes an activity for kids: in most stores, a stuffed animal toy and a plastic lobster are hidden somewhere in aisles. A child who locates a toy gets a small reward.

Each store has its own stuffed animal: a penguin, a monkey, an elephant, a whale, an eagle, etc. It’s a brilliant way to make families not only survive but enjoy a grocery shopping.

A children’s bedroom in an airport
Beds for children who want to take a nap are available in Geneva's airport

Children can take a nap in a bedroom in Geneva’s airport, Switzerland. Photo courtesy of Jurgita Simeleviciene

Strangely, but these days when families with children account for a substantial part of all passengers, some airports still don’t have a play area.

On the contrary, some airports are renowned for amazing playgrounds for kids. In Singapore Changi airport’s play area children can let off steam by playing on many slides, while in Chicago O’Hare airport children enjoy an interactive playground with an airplane, a control tower, and a helicopter model.

In fact, some airports provide everything families could think of. In Geneva’s airport, Switzerland, a kid’s area is equipped not only with a playground, changing facilities, and a kitchen but also with a bedroom for kids. Children can take a nap before a flight in a quiet room. Similarly, Amsterdam Schiphol airport’s (the Netherlands) Baby Care Lounge is open for families to feed, bath and put a baby to sleep in one of the cribs. While a baby is sleeping parents can relax in a comfortable seating area.

A flying nanny

Flying with small kids, especially on long-haul flights, has always been a stressful experience for parents. In order to help families traveling with kids, Etihad Airways (the United Arab Emirates) has introduced a flying nanny service, which is free for all passengers.

Dressed in an orange apron, a flying nanny offers parents a helping hand to take care of babies and entertain toddlers. Although she keeps her traditional duties as a flight attendant, a flying nanny can provide some free diapers or a baby meal, warm up milk bottles, do some craft with a toddler, paint faces or play a finger puppets game.

That sounds great, but whether a flying nanny will actually interact with your kid during a flight, or won’t be seen again after handing over a children’s kit, depends on a person in an orange apron. Passengers are sharing both delightful and disappointing experiences from their travels with a sky nanny.

 A childcare service in a grocery store

The larger Fred Meyer grocery stores in the US offer a free babysitting service for up to one hour. While parents go grocery shopping, toddlers can play in a supervised Playland play area.

Similarly, Scandinavian furniture and home accessories chain IKEA offers a supervised children care service for its customers free of charge. Smaland play area has a ball-pit and plenty of toys.

Photos by pittsburghmetblogpics/Flick, Neringa Pursiainen, Jurgita Simeleviciene are used in the photo collage.

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