We just came back from a short trip to London with our two boys, ages 8 and 5, where my husband had the brilliant idea of buying a soccer ball (we had lost ours at home) and carrying it around with us as we toured the city mostly by foot. It was a whirlwind last-minute trip, which meant we had to push through jet lag. So in between the British Museum and the London Tower, we would detour through Hyde or Regents Park and kick the ball around with each other, and in some cases with other local kids. While you could easily bring your own ball on the plane if you take out some of the air (you don’t want it to be too hard or it can pop), it’s worth a trip to a place called Soccer Scene (near Oxford and Regent Streets in Oxford Circus), which has all of the exciting, multi-colored Euro soccer paraphernalia. Both of our kids needed new sneakers (we ditched our hole-y ones there), so we made an event of checking out all of the shoe color combinations–many of which you can’t get that easily in the US. It made me think, however, that I would bring the ball to just about any city that has parks and playgrounds. It’s a perfect way to break up a trip that involves lots of sight seeing and walking for kids around this age.