19 great travel games for kids

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Traveling with children is often both exciting and anxious. You can’t wait to get somewhere (finally!), But you also know the potential for meltdown lurks just about any corner. After all, so many things are beyond your control as a parent, the least of which are traffic, bad weather, and flight delays. That’s enough to make you consider staying home… for a second, maybe.

But before you start packing your entire playroom to entertain your kids on the way to your destination, rest assured – there are some truly amazing kids travel toys and games that will keep little ones busy, whether you’re traveling on the road. road or you fly. friendly skies. “When in transit, the best games and toys are light, compact, easy to pack, mess-free, washable or wipeable, and easy to retrieve if you drop them,” says Jen Campbell Boles, Founder of Explore More Family Travel. “And of course, most importantly, they should be engaging.”

With that in mind, we’ve put together a group of exciting travel toys, games, gadgets, and books to take the stress out of family travel. They will keep children’s hands and minds busy and they will keep your trip drama-free.

A toy for busy builders

These suction cup pieces are ideal for creative kids who love to build. “[They] stick to each other and window, so kids can build elaborate designs and structures while parents drive, ”says Catherine Ryan Gregory, author of Games and road trip activities for children and founder of the family travel site To & Fro Fam. They are washable, good for motor development, and won’t get lost between seat cushions almost as easily as small Lego parts. Note: As they are smaller than the original Squigz, they are not recommended for children under the age of five.


A book to keep baby engaged

Sensory books that babies can interact with are a huge hit, says Ryan Gregory. “These have crumpled parts and different textures that babies can safely explore. Parents will love that they are washable and made from BPA-free materials.


A history and music reader

For a captivating, screen-less option, kids love this cube speaker, which they can use on their own. How it works: You place a magnetic toy character, a “Tonie”, on top, and it plays kid-friendly music and stories. This particular set includes a Toniebox, playtime puppy figure, and charging station, and it plays popular traditional children’s songs. You can purchase a wide variety of additional characters that play stories and music (think favorites like Peppa Pig, Paw Patrol, Disney, and many more) for $ 15 each. Parents’ tip: Bring headphones for the car or plane to minimize disruption to others.


A captivating card game

Most of us played the alphabet game or “I Spy” on road trips when we were kids, and this game is similar but even more fun. “It engages the kids through friendly competition and encourages them to be observant,” Boles explains. Cards have look, listen, and smell prompts for things like “yellow house”, “red car”, “bad smell”, or “siren sound”. Ideal for ages seven and up.


Building without blocks

Kick off the creativity with these shiny, flexible and moldable sticks, which come with a 12-page activity book for inspiration. Kids can build everything from animals to jewelry with these versatile pipe cleaner-style wax pieces, which are reusable and come in a handy travel case.


A toy to play everywhere

This versatile foldable mat offers endless ways to stimulate creativity. “The best travel toys are open, so you get a lot of mileage with just one toy,” says Ryan Gregory. “Kids can use their imaginations to create their own games with this foldable play mat. I recommend parents bring some of their children’s favorite little toys, like Matchbox cars or Disney figures to incorporate.


Draw on the go

There are many magnetic drawing boards out there, but many take up too much space in a duffel bag. Boles like that this LCD board is compact and has a stylus attached, and parents will also appreciate that it is mess-free and reusable. In addition, it is available in five colors.


A magnetic play set

The perfect travel game is something with a longevity that won’t be cast aside after 30 seconds. Get Into This Set: It has magnetic parts that are not easily jostled or dropped, and a zipper and carrying strap that are convenient for travel. Boles says it’s especially good for older kids who may need a break from watching a screen.


Clean coloring

Loved by kids and parents alike, these activity pillows tick all the boxes: they’re compact, reusable, and won’t mess, making them ideal for road and plane travel. Kids can draw with a refillable water pen to reveal colorful pictures, letters and numbers. This set includes animals, alphabet, and number blocks, but there are many different options depending on your child’s interests. The sweet spot for these is between three and five.


A cool travel journal for children

With clever clues like “Today I spotted…” and “If I could give this place a nickname, it would be…”, it allows children to recount their journey and even assess their experiences, food to what makes for a great adventure. “It encourages children to be present during their vacation,” says Boles. And after your trip, it can serve as a keepsake to remember your experiences.


Fun family trip

Spending countless hours with family can get tedious, but this game will shatter boredom and serve as a fun bonding moment, according to Boles. The best part? It works for slightly older children and adults (think about questions like “Which voice can you best imitate?” and “If you were to live on one candy for the rest of your life, which would you choose?”). It will make children talk and families laugh on road trips, and you never know, it can even avoid the dreaded “Are we already here?” »Question. Another good option is the book: Do you prefer: Road Trip Edition.


A magnetic art tablet

This lightweight plastic tablet features a stylus that pulls the magnetic beads and snaps them into place so kids can create unique designs and patterns or practice letters and numbers. Parents can even design drawing challenges to keep kids engaged. The best part? No battery or charge required.


A sensory case

Similar to a sensory silence book, this is basically a sensory briefcase for toddlers. They’ll love buckling, zipping, buttoning, lacing and cutting pieces. It is perfect to store in hand luggage or in the back pocket of the car.


A tote for creativity

“Elementary-age children have a lot of interests, so I like a travel toy that a lot, like a travel tray with integrated activities, ”says Ryan Gregory. This one has a built-in whiteboard and pockets to hold water, supplies, and even a tablet. “To make a trip even more special, I recommend parents prepare a brand new ‘travel kit’ tailored to their children’s passions, complete with freebies like stickers, markers, paper and window stickers. They can store them in a side pocket of a travel tray so their toys are always close at hand.


A holiday scouting book

A key to a successful trip with children? Speak and read about the destination beforehand. “Children are more likely to behave during a trip if they understand why they are going to a destination that they are passionate about,” Boles explains. Invest in a book like this, which is part an atlas, part an exciting reader filled with facts. If you’re going to be visiting a certain city, Boles also recommends that you search for a location-specific interactive book with more details.


Sorting shapes for babies

Toddlers are fascinated by sorting shapes, and this top-notch toy travel bag will provide hours of fun for toddlers. The padded case has two activity sides, a convenient carrying handle, and nine different color shapes. It also helps in the development of sensory fine motor skills.


A Pop-It board game

Fidgets are still going strong so why not bring a game of fidget that two can play? Players pop the points based on the numbers on the dice rolled, and the first to complete their section wins. Children can also create their own popping competitions.


A modern-day Mr. Potato Head

Magnetic toys are a must have in every child’s travel kit. This set includes three magnetic boards and 31 magnetic face pieces for kids to create faces that mimic certain feelings, or just create countless silly looks.


A soothing travel book for children

This cute book explains the travel process to kids in an accessible way, including everything from the importance of holding hands at the airport to queuing to security. Kids will love following the characters on their journey through the vibrant illustrations.

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