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Travel Toys for Kids: How to Keep Your (and Their) Sanity

December 12, 2011

The holiday travel season is right around the corner.  Add the uncertainty that inclement weather brings, and you can be sure you’ll be stuck somewhere, sometime!  When it comes to travel, entertainment while in transit is a major consideration when children are along.  Whether you’re taking a road trip or traveling by plane, travel toys for kids are a must have for any parent who would like to maintain their sanity – and that of their kids and fellow travelers.

Keep ‘em Occupied

If your children are old enough, there are some fantastic travel games to be found, from adorable educational toys like a Magnetic Board (fewer lost parts!) to classic games like Connect Four.  Educational games for travel are stimulating for your child, and will keep them both busy and learning while you get where you are going.

Some parents feel they need to resort to hand held video games and portable DVD players for even very small children when traveling, and while they can come in handy, it’s great to have other options available to you.  Your child can be entertained with a more classic style of toy that won’t need a battery every other hour, and won’t make a lot of background noise you have to hear while driving (or other passengers have to hear while flying).  Coloring supplies, easy-to-carry playsets, and small toys that can be collected in a small backpack work just as well.  Your child will feel that he or she is a “big kid” if they are allowed to carry their own small piece of luggage – a carry on or a backpack.

I like to keep a stash of small toys, books, snacks and surprises in my own bag.  Then when the inevitable happens and my child is tired of everything in the backpack, I can reach into the bag of tricks for something fresh.  These can even be old favorites from home that haven’t been used for awhile, the idea is that it’s different from the stuff she chose to bring.  Use these sparingly – only when necessary – so you won’t run out before the end of the trip!

Share Books

If you’re traveling by car or train, try reading aloud from a classic family book, like Charlotte’s Web, Black Beauty, or one of our holiday favorites, The Shepherd, the Angel, and Walter the Christmas Miracle Dog by Dave Barry.  Choose something appropriate for the youngest children, but still engaging for the older ones.  Take turns reading aloud, use lots of energy and imagination in your voice, and the time will fly!  You’ll also be helping to turn your kids into enthusiastic readers.  This is one of our absolute favorite ways to enjoy a road trip and we’ve read some amazing books as the kids grew.

Pack Plenty of Provisions

Don’t forget the snacks and drinks!  You want to make sure that your child won’t get hungry or thirsty, since we all know how children react and behave when the hungry-monster arrives!  For airplane trips, it is best to check with your airline carrier for regulations, rules, and restrictions.  If you are traveling by car, the world is your oyster!  Snack cups are great, because they can be refilled, and snacks changed as desired with no waste gathering up and messing your car.  Choose ones that are mess-resistant or mess free to minimize the shrapnel that may fly.

Plan Ahead when Potty Training

If you are traveling by car with a potty training or newly potty trained child, consider bringing along a small potty and some sanitizing wipes (keep them accessible!) for times you may not make it to the nearest rest stop.  Keep a change of clothes at the ready.  Nothing is worse than traveling with a wet, dirty child and a wet, dirty car seat, with your washing machine and bathtub miles away!

You’ll be Happier, Too!

When you travel as a family, keep your child occupied, entertained, fed, and stimulated, and a more enjoyable experience will be had by all.  Yes, it takes some planning and it’s way more work for you than plugging them into a DVD player.  But trying to travel with a tired, bored, and hungry child will get you all frustrated fast, and will quickly put a damper on the trip.  Anticipate needs ahead of time, prepare, and remember that you will be at your destination soon.  One day, you will laugh about all of this!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. rose permalink
    December 13, 2011 7:14 pm

    These are some great tips when you are traveling with kids. I know when we are getting ready to take a road trip I make sure I let the kid’s pack some activities that they will want to do, and plenty of snacks and drinks. I like to make time for us to make stops and use the potty and I will usually pack us a lunch so the kids can get out and play. I also will bring my iPad for the kids to use as entertainment. They can play games, watch movies, and watch TV through my provider DISH Network. With the Sling Adapter hooked up to my employee account I can access all our subscription channels from wherever we can get a Wi-Fi connection. The kids love to watch live TV on the road and catch all their favorite shows. It is perfect for traveling and it keeps the kids occupied for hours.

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