There may be snow in the forecast this week, but today marks the official start of spring and we’re keeping our eyes on the prize: warmer temps, longer days, and all the adventures that lie ahead.  While it’s exciting to get back out in the world again, all parents are familiar with the struggles that come with keeping littles fed, rested, and entertained on days that start with a morning stroll at the farmer’s market and end with snoozing in the stroller at your favorite tapas joint long after the sun goes down.  Next time you’re out on one of your marathon days, be sure your diaper bag is stocked with the right goods to keep them pacified, engaged, and entertained on-the-go…no technology needed.

First, know if they need to be pacified. Nobody wants to be the parent with the baby melting down in the middle of the street fair, but chances are all moms and dads will at some point know that reality.  Keep a breathable baby carrier in your diaper bag for those moments when your little one (toddlers included!) needs some snuggles, connection, and rest above all else.  For other soothers, never underestimate the power of a lovey or a stuffed animal—and don’t think their powers stop when baby turns 1.  Toddlers have an increased interested in seeking company, and a trusty stuffed sidekick can fit the bill, especially if you’re in a new place or around new people.

If it’s entertainment that they need, create the ultimate stash. Babies are notorious droppers (translation: throwers), so to keep teething toys and pacifiers contained, clips and links will be your friend.  LouLou Lollipop’s silicone teethers come with a siliconed beaded-clip (and the teether can easily be swapped for a pacifier), and these do-it-all adjustable straps will keep almost anything safely tethered to the stroller.   As for the tried-and-true stroller staples, keep a soft book, a multi-sensory toy, a musical toy, and rattle handy.  When it comes to entertaining at the table, stick to blocks over balls (you know, the roll factor), and for entertainment for all ages, the pipSquigz from Fat Brain Toys is not your average suction toy.  If it’s time to pull out all the stops, surprise them with a zipper toy that doubles as a peak-a-boo buddy and jangles that come as close to real keys as you can.

When it comes to packing for toddlers, take what they love to do in the playroom and find toys that miniaturize and streamline that experience.  This felt gnome set won’t weigh down the diaper bag, and lends well to imaginative play, sequencing, sorting, and counting.  Tegu’s new travel pals provide enough structure for independent play with endless options for creating.   Keep a stash of rock-shaped crayons handy—they won’t fall off the table when you’re dining out, and if you’ve got a budding artist on your hands, Melissa and Doug’s water reveal pads are paint-with-water coloring books that can be used again (and again…).  These are all good options not only to keep your tot entertained, but to redirect any negative emotions or behaviors that surface throughout the day.