Travel with Kids: Activities for the Journey

For those who asked in response to yesterday’s post, what else had I packed in our journey entertainment bag of goodies, here is the list…

Drawing materials: Quality crayons are great for children of all ages as they are easy to draw with, don’t make mess, don’t need sharpening and do not have lids which can be lost. This time we took crayons, coloured pencils and a drawing book.

Stickers: Sheets of stickers and sticker activity books are wonderful for 2-5 year olds.

Felt story: I took commercially produced felt pieces and a sheet of felt as a ‘feltboard’ which all folded up nicely into a little cloth bag.

Doll and dolls paraphernalia: Immy loves playing babies at the moment so this was a ‘must have’ for us. Fortunately, dolls clothes and associated toys are small and fold up nicely, again into their own little bag.

Books: We have stories before bedtime each night, books in our car and books all around our house and so naturally books accompany us on every trip! I usually choose a few favourites, some we haven’t read for a while, and always paperbacks as they weigh less which is important when you are lugging around lots of stuff.

Childhood 101 | Travel with kids: Preschoolers activities for the journey

Plasticine and tools: As I posted yesterday, the plasticine was marvellous. It was a cheap $2 packet from the discount store and provided for hours of entertainment. One Mum asked if it was easy to clean up, and it really was, I just wiped the work space over with a baby wipe when we were done.

Small figurines: I chose to take along a set of new-to-her Strawberry Shortcake figurines and some accessories as Immy loves imaginative play. Figurines are a good choice for most 3-5 year olds if you choose a set which relates to their interests or passions. I will however say that you need to keep a watch on all of the small pieces as they do get dropped, knocked off tables and airplane trays (and usually it will be you who has to bend down and pick them up again), and potentially lost! We kept all of Immy’s pieces in a small zippered beauty case to help keep them all together and I double checked that everything was there and nothing left behind each time we packed away.

One other suggestion (though I forgot to take ours this time) is a magnet board game, either commercially produced or one you have made yourself. They don’t take up too much room, the pieces don’t roll away and are lots of fun for pre-schoolers to play with.

What activities do you pack when you are travelling with your children?

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  1. I pack headphone and ipod for my girls as it reduces the sensory distress they experience with strange noises.

    Drawing things are a must have.

    We have a set of New McDonalds Farm figurines I got on special a few years ago. They fit in a lunch box and Heidi loves to play with them.

    The toy vending machines at the shops are great for little ‘surprise’ toys you can pop out of your handbag. Given Heidi’s Pokemon obsession those have been very handy for us.

    I’m loving that Annie is old enough to enjoy reading chapter books, although our last flight from Brisbane to Melbourne, she spent the entire time working on a ‘things about me’ workbook from

  2. Thank you so much for this! Great advice as always.
    We are going away on Friday so a week ago I put away a few books and toys that we’ll be taking with us, hopefully that means they’ll be exciting again when I pull them out in the car. We have a collection of Schleich animals so have bought a few new Easter themed ones (rabbit, chicken) to pull out when we’ve exhausted the other toys.

  3. Corsage @ A Dollop Of Me says:

    Thanks for sharing this. We’re going on our very first trip soon with our 19-month-old. I’m excited and apprehensive at the same time! I haven’t planned our list of things to bring, but stickers, books and her favourite stuffed toy will definitely be included.

    Oh, I also just purchased your “Art, not Craft” ebook. Will be delving into it!

  4. Great list. On a recent road trip, I gave my son some window clings. He loved sticking them on the window and taking them off again. They also stuck to his dry erase board and they were reusable!

  5. Great advice! We are also taking Color Wonder books and markers and an iPod with games 🙂

  6. Thanks for posting what was in your bag! I really like it displayed out like that! I think my favorite thing is the felt Goldilocks set.

  7. I love the collection you’ve packed for Immy. We love sticker books for plane trips, on our last trip I found one with an airport theme, which was just perfect and both kids loved it. I also love your felt ‘board’ idea – I’ll be pinching that one, because felt board kits are used a lot at our place.

    The only thing I’d add would be a much loved comfort/snuggly toy and a mini magnetic drawing board. Oh, and for the boy I would include some matchbox cars, all rolled up in the little cloth car-roll (like a pencil roll) which opens flat to form a ‘road’. But little cars always seem to roll away under the rows of seats on planes, so I wouldn’t take the very favourite ones!

  8. We do more driving vacations than flying ones, but I’ve found that a couple of choice toys are vital to the overall tone of the trip! For my two older boys, I just received the vacation toys I ordered for them: two action figures, each with his own plane. Not too many pieces, the toys are very similar (so fewer fights over who got which one), and they can interact or play separately. Also, we tend to camp a lot, and I don’t care if these guys roll around in the dirt. And they’re part of a large set that we already own others of, so they’ll work when we get home too. I don’t want to be the parent who fills our vacation with lots of useless junk and they certainly already own a lot of toys, but it’s well worth it to have a couple of never-before-seen toys to entertain them on long drives and time spent together!

    1. I agree with you about the ‘never before seen’ element, I think the novelty works a treat.

  9. Armchair Travels says:

    Hi Christie,
    I really enjoyed this post! I don’t have children yet but I have nieces and nephews who I have been on holiday with so I know the importance of keeping children entertained on long journeys.
    Thanks for the advice.

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