Travelling with a toddler can be very rewarding. Holidays give them the opportunity to experience new sights and sounds. However, before all this, there is the travel. Whether flying, driving or on a ferry, travel generally means lots of time in one place. A fidgety toddler, getting bored and irritable is stressful for all the family. So we’ve pulled together some ideas for keeping your toddler entertained while on the go.
Toddler travel toys should ideally be silent for your own sanity as well as that of other passengers. Save space by taking toys that double up for other occasions too. On holiday, we tend to eat out more and waiting for food in a restaurant can be testing for most toddlers, so have a few toys in your bag at the ready. Bathtime can quickly get boring without toys, so any that can be used in the bath or on the beach are great too. A quick tip for bath times on holiday; if you’re in a self catering villa, plastic serving spoons, jugs or cups make great bath toys.
Introduce Your Toddler to Sticker Books. That is, if you haven’t already of course. Even if you have there are some great options out there. If it’s the first time your toddler has seen stickers, we guarantee it will entertain you too – seeing them try to get the sticker from their fingers onto the page. To be honest, any plain notebook and coloured stickers will do. The plain coloured stickers sold in stationers can be used to identify colours and elementary shapes, group them together, make a picture or copy a pattern. We love these Crayola sticky faces, for fun sticking and they’re great for naming face parts with your toddler too.
Use things around you. Wherever you are, you can entertain your toddler with some simple games. For example, if they are starting to get familiar with their colours, you can play a simple colour version of eye spy. Older ones will be happy to join in to help teach their younger siblings too. Any guessing games using the environment can be dreamt up on the spot, ‘can you see someone wearing a hat?’ for example. On an aeroplane, pick a page of the in-flight magazine to ask if they can spot something that you can then discuss eg ‘can you spot something to eat on this page?’, ‘do you like that food?’.
Books, books and books. Colouring books, reading books, spotting books, any type of book, providing of course it’s light, small and easy to pop in your hand luggage for the aeroplane or in your handbag if you’re off to a restaurant. You can take a mixture of old favorites as you know best which ones your children will happily read over and over again as well as some new surprises. The little library book sets are great for travelling. You generally get a selection of 5 or 6 little books, often themed with Cbeebies or other familiar characters. They come in a box too and your toddler will have great fun putting them in the box and taking them all out again. We think your toddler will love these featuring ‘In the Night Garden’ and the eternally popular ‘Mr Men’.
Colouring Fun. That notebook you brought along for the stickers is great for colouring in too. Get your toddler scribbling with some mini crayons. Or get drawing yourself and get your toddler naming the shapes or guessing what you’ve drawn. If your toddler can be a little wayward with crayons and you fear there’ll be more on the seat back in front of you than the paper, consider Tomy’s Aquadraw Travel Drawing Bag. It’s fun and safe from mess, and you don’t have to take their works of art back home in the suitcase, they’ll just dry ready to be drawn all over again.
These are a few of our favourite toddler travel toys, but we also like stacking cups that you can be used on the aeroplane, on the beach filled with sand and water, in the bath, making mummy play cups of tea, they really are great for children’s imaginations. We’d also suggest taking jigsaws as those for toddlers are sufficiently large not to render you scrabbling for that elusive lost piece. If you take familiar ones, you won’t need the boxes and can take them in plastic food bags and toddlers seem happy to do jigsaws, break them up, and then start all over again. Do be prepared to entertain your toddler on holiday with suitable toys, songs and games, but remember, they’ll also get plenty of entertainment from their environment too, so relax and enjoy watching your toddler explore their new surroundings.
Check out more ideas for toddler travel toys here. Please do leave a comment and tell us your ideas for keeping toddlers entertained on the move.