Traveling with children, especially small children, can seem daunting. When travel involves long plane rides and/or car rides, it can seem terrifying! Over the past 6 years I have traveled in planes with my children to places like Peru, Hawaii, Japan, Alaska, and Iceland. Also, we do many quick, but long distance car rides. People say I’m crazy, but it is actually quite amazing. With traveling holidays approaching, I wanted to share a few thing that I always take with me for entertaining children on planes, trains, automobiles, and in hotels….
I have tried lots of different plans of attack to this regard, but have decided a few open ended toys and crafts go far and don’t take up too much space. Here are my favorite go-tos and why:
- Magnetic tiles like these wooden ones from Big Future Toys. These might be my favorite hands on toys for travel, home, restaurants, you name it. They never fail to quietly entertain for long periods of time. Not only do my children love them, I love them – because they intrigue the mind. They help foster creativity and problem solving and wonder. “How can I make this a certain way, what else can I do with these, what if I did this….” They keep those little wheels turning, and those faces smiling. Also, I love the natural material option of wood, as I always strive to rid my life of plastic and waste and bring in more natural options.
- Play Silks. Throw in a couple play silks, they compact to nearly nothing and weigh about the same. However, they can provide SO much entertainment. For babies, a simple peek a boo game or cuddle blankie. For toddlers and older kids there are an unending number of imaginative play ideas from babydoll carriers to puppet shows. Throw in a couple wooden clips and build some forts on the airplane seats.
- just a few small figurines and/or cars. A couple wooden peg dolls or animal figurines can lead into so many imaginative play sessions. Pretend they are going to where you are traveling at, what do they see and do? use the play silks to make a scene for them.
- Sketchbook and washable crayons or markers. Instead of stocking up on different coloring books and ‘travel’ art supplies, make it easy on yourself. A blank sketchbook and a pack of WASHABLE (because it’s not our plane or bedspread were staying on haha) crayons, pencils, or markers can lead to travel journaling, drawing, games, and more.
- Crafts. There are so many options for crafts out there. I have found once again that going with an open ended approach is better than bring specific kits and crafts. a few balls of yarn and a small loom will provide a craft for preschoolers and up that will last much longer than 5 minutes. You can also try learning or teaching a new skill and throw in a crochet hook. Young kids may like weaving found objects into the loom for fun. The yarn can also be used as string for cats cradle or fort building or anything else you may dream up.
- Bees wax wraps. Obviously, bringing lots of snacks is a great idea. However, It can also become an activity. I love how my friend’s son used our handmade beeswax wraps to do origami! What a great idea for once the snack inside is gone!
- Lastly you will see a small pick up stix game. This was a new addition for me and turned out wonderfully. My 3 and 6 year old loved the game and we could also use the different colored sticks for sorting and counting activities.