When vacationing with kids for more than a few days taking along some toys and activities to keep them happy and playing can be really important – but what do you pack when suitcase space is strictly limited? Which toys will provide you with the best return on the space investment? Here are six tips to help you choose…
1. Invite your child to choose a favourite toy or activity to take along but limit the amount of space available by providing them with a suitable seal-able container that limits what they can bring – depending upon the toys in question I have used a pencil case, small beauty case, plastic takeaway food container and A4 sized wet bag for packing toys with multiple pieces into. Taking along a toy or activity that really interests and engages your child means they are much more likely to want to play with it, and using a seal-able container makes pack away time that little bit easier.
2. Along with being of interest to your child, choosing toys that are open ended (able to be played with in many different ways) is much more likely to engage your child’s attention for longer periods or over multiple play sessions – think about the versatility of a jigsaw puzzle versus a collection of Lego pieces.
3. Plastic or resin figurines are one of our favourite toys to pack. They are available in so many different variations – animals, people, and a whole host of fantasy figurines – and are readily available in a range of sizes depending upon the age of your child. The Schleich brand are a great investment for children who love imaginative play and Safari’s Toob sets contain smaller pieces suitable for older children, saving valuable suitcase space. Our figurines do double duty as bath toys when we are away on holidays too!
4. Art materials are generally compact and low mess options can be useful for entertaining children of all ages while travelling and during time at your destination. I have posted before about how great modelling clay is when travelling and you can be sure that we will have a pencil case of crayons or felt tipped marker pens tucked into our hand luggage with a sketch book. Our mini magna doodle is also always close at hand (check out these game ideas for playing with preschoolers and older children on the magna doodle).
5. Create happy family memories by packing at least one game that can be played with others – start with a set of dominoes, pack of snap cards, felt noughts and crosses (tic tac toe), pack of charades prompts or travel sized board game.
6. Be prepared to get creative with what you have available at your destination. For example, if you have no room to pack a bucket and spade for your beachside vacation? Try yoghurt pots of various sizes, take away coffee cups and a disposable spoon. These aren’t just fun for sand play but also water play at bath time. Plus a bucket or similar container is handy to take along on walks or park visits as it’s great for collecting ‘stuff’ in. You can even set your child a scavenger hunt challenge to find interesting or colourful leaves, small pebbles, gum nuts and seed pods, etc.
Is there anything you would add to this list of toy and activity suggestions?
Read more of the Travel With Kids series at Childhood 101;
- Travel With Kids: Tips for Flying With a Baby
- 25 Ways to Keep Toddlers Busy on a Plane
- Make Your Own Peekaboo Travel Game