If you plan to be on the go this holiday season, or if you are a family that frequently travels all year round, toys that travel well are key! My family travels as often as we can, so we are always on the hunt for great travel-friendly toys. Plus, as the kids get older, they need some great travel gear. We won’t be home this year for the holidays, so like many families, we need to find something to put under the tree that can fit in our suitcase to come home with us.
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Here are a few of our favorite travel-friendly gifts for kids:
Books We Love
This cute little board book is perfect for toddlers and preschoolers who love airplanes. It’s simple and sweet, with lots of different types of aircrafts to keep your child interested. It also makes a great bedtime book and will help your sleepy child feel comfortable even while away from home
This is another great book for younger children. This book has only a few words throughout the whole book, but it has fun pictures showing the process of boarding, taxiing, taking off, flying, and landing. Kids love going through the steps, either to learn how things work, or, for frequent flyers, because it’s fun to talk through this familiar procedure.
For curious, younger kids (recommended for ages 3-6), this atlas is a great way to start learning about the world, and can help find answers to the many MANY questions they have. The book has tons of interesting facts, great photos and more to keep your child interested!
This atlas is so fun that it’ll keep your kids attention for YEARS. It has tons of beautiful photos, interesting essays and stories, interesting facts, and of course, maps. It’s a great book to keep around to check out the destination for an upcoming trip, or remember an old one.
Looking for something the whole family can love? This atlas is absolutely beautiful, and full of historical tidbits, current facts, stunning photos, and so many maps. This atlas is the kind of book no one will be able to resist flipping through, and everyone will find something interesting to read. It’s a great book for families who love to learn and travel and great for keeping kids interested!
We love this amazing kids activity book- it helps get your little travelers noticing, thinking, and noting all the little details, favorites things (and not-so-favorite things) about their travels. The book has space to document 4 trips, and once it’s filled, it’ll be a great lifelong reminder of their travels!
Travel-Friendly Toys We Love
Walking through the toy store, it’s the biggest, flashiest toys that catch our eye first. But the best, most played with toys are typically the simpler toys that allow free play and LOTS of creativity. Kids who travel need toys that are flexible enough to be played with a million ways, sturdy, and small enough to pack.
Squigz are great for building in a million ways, sticking on faces, on smooth surfaces everywhere, and they are SUPER fun because of the satisfying popping sound when you pull them apart. Squigz have been a favorite of our family’s for quite some time. But NOW, there are 3 fantastic types of Squigz for kids of different age groups: the classics recommended for kids over age 3, Mini Squigz recommended for kids over age 5, and PipSquigz for the little guys!
Plus-plus blocks are simple, puzzle-shaped blocks that fit together to allow to allow 3-dimensional building. Some of the kids are intended for just freestyle building, and some are kits with a specific building idea (and color palette to match). They come in a small plastic tube that can easily be slipped into a backpack or a purse, making them SUPER portable. Plus, they are inexpensive enough that you mind if you lose a few on the plane, or at a hotel.
Tegu blocks are heirloom quality, and so beautiful. It’s hard to resist pulling these out and building with them. They are magnetic, making them perfect for building with on the plane (no blocks rolling off the tray table and under the seat). The travel set is great because it’s small and has its own carrying case, but we love the larger set for at home for more complex builds and even cars!
We love Crankity Brainteaser for some many reasons. First, it’s great for all ages. Toddlers will love the colorful gears, and will matching up the gear to the pictures. Older kids and adults will love challenging puzzles. It’s a great toy for independent, quiet play while also learning. AND it’s small and portable.
Playsilks do not SEEM like the most exciting gift or toy. But trust us, they are! They are wonderful in their simplicity. Sarah’s silks are lightweight and airy, beautifully colored, and soft. They are perfect as a cape, a doll carrier, butterfly wings, a ‘bandage’ for an injured stuffed animal, or anything else your child can imagine. Plus, they fold up tiny and are totally travel-friendly!
The free play Magnatab is a fun little toy with magnetic balls that pop in or out of place for drawings, letters, and more. The grid design means you can draw perfect squares, straight lines, but you have to get creative to create other shapes, which really adds to the fun!
Travel Gear We Love
Families who travel know that having great gear is a necessity to stay comfortable and organized on the road. Keep your kid travel-ready with these kid-approved necessities!
If your toddler or preschooler needs a great, functional backpack, but ALSO wants the cutest backpack out there, look no further! The Wildkin Wild Bunch Backpacks are amazing. They are top-quality backpacks, with a more square design than competitors that fits small bodies really well. This square design gives them a bit more capacity and a TON more functionality. And with a ton of cute animal designs, your child won’t be able to resist carrying their own things!
For nature explorers, world explorers, star students, or ALL of the above, the Osprey Hydrajet 12 is an amazing backpack with tons of features. It has comfort straps, a chest clip, padded and ventilated back panel, stretchy mesh side and front pockets for stuffing anything you need easily accessible, and a wide, main compartment making it easy for even tiny kids to access their things. Great for ages 4-12 (though my kids started using this pack at age 3), this quality backpack will LAST, and don’t be surprised if you pass it along to the next kid as well!
(check out this post on our favorite tablet for kids)
For long-haul flights or epic road trips, an iPad can be a true lifesaver. An iPad has a long battery life, tons of educational games available with no wifi required, and the system is simple enough for a toddler to use independently.
And don’t forget a really good case to protect your purchase (since these things aren’t CHEAP). We’ve tested this one, and it has saved our iPads from drops (or even THROWN iPads- yikes!), getting banged around inside a backpack, and who knows what else. Plus, the handle folds down to make a stand for easier viewing on the go.
Don’t forget a great pair of headphones for your child’s tablet or phone. We love these kid-sized headphones because they have a super long battery life, and multiple maximum volume settings to protect sensitive little ears (but also allow them to turn up the volume when they really need to so they can hear on the noisy airplane). They are also really comfortable for kids to wear, can stand up to quite a bit of abuse for a rowdy toddler.
If your child is showing an interest in photography, help them create a wonderful lifelong hobby with their OWN camera!
Seckton Kids Camera
If you toddler or younger child is ready to take some photos of his or her own, we love these first cameras. They have a soft, shockproof cover (because you know they’ll get dropped a few HUNDRED times), simple, easy-to-understand buttons without TOO many confusing features, and decent (though we’ll admit not great) quality photos. Your child will love capturing their favorite moments!
Once your child is ready to upgrade to something a with a bit more functionality, quality, and upgrade capabilities, the Olympus Tough TG-6 camera is PERFECT (and you’ll want one for yourself as well!). It’s waterproof, shockproof, freezeproof, even CRUSH proof. And that’s only the beginning- it also has a super-fast F2.0 lens, shoots up to 20fps continuously, has 4X optical zoom and 8X maximum total zoom, saves in raw format, and shoots 4K videos (plus TONS of other features). And you can add on a zoom lens, or a wide-angle lens in the future (or right now 🙂 ) This camera will last!
For families always on the go, a reusable water bottle is a necessity. We love the kids Hydroflask water bottles because they keep water COLD and ice frozen all day. Plus, they are the perfect size for kids- big enough to keep them hydrated, but not so huge that they weigh a TON.
Jellycat stuffed animals are the best stuffed animals out there, in our opinion. They are soft, so cute, and so loveable, and with so many options, you are sure to find your child’s favorite animal.
Families who travel are all about the experiences over stuff, so gift them with an amazing experience they’ll LOVE.
Subscription boxes are the perfect mix of a THING you can gift a young child (who not fully understand the concept of gifting an experience) and an experience and we LOVE these as gifts. There are so many great options, plus, with a subscription, the child can receive a gift every month instead of just once a year (guess who is going to be the favorite grandma THIS year ;))
Kiwi Co. makes 8 lines of crates, depending on age and interest. They have crates for babies, toddlers, kids, and even adults!
We have had a monthly subscription to Kiwi for a couple of years and my kids literally jump for joy whenever they see their crates. We started with the Koala Crates (for kids 2-4), and now do the Kiwi Crates.
The Koala Crates typically have 3 activities that can be done (almost) independently, and the result is a project they can play with and feel proud to have completed. They have a different fun theme every month, like farms, bugs, ocean, or dinosaurs.
Kiwi Crates have 2 or 3 larger projects that often build on each other. For example, this month, we build a marble timer. Then we used the timer for an art project. They include a little book with a theme, a story, and some interesting lessons.
We have loved every box we’ve received and we know you will too!
Little PassportsHands-on educational activities for all ages, delivered to you every month!
The Little Passports boxes are SUCH a hit with kids. They have boxes for age 3 up, and depending on interest and includes travel, exploration, and science.
We get the Early Explorers box for kids 3-5 and love it! The first box comes with a little suitcase your child can decorate with stickers. Each month, they have a fun theme, like oceans, food, or dinosaurs. The activities are fun, hands-on, and have LOTS of great learning opportunities.
For kids, and families, that love spending time together, new experiences, and travel, and activity is a PERFECT gift. Here are a few ideas we LOVE:
- Membership to your local Zoo or Aquarium. We are members at the Woodland Park Zoo and love getting to visit whenever we want. Plus there are some great perks!
- Science Museum Memberships. We especially love those that are part of the ASTC Travel Passport Program. As a member of that program, we can get free or reduced price tickets to tons of great museums all over the world! It’s such a valueable membership, especially for families who love to travel!
- National Parks Pass for outdoor enthusiasts. What a great excuse to get out and check a few new national parks!
- A sleigh ride like this incredible ride near Bozeman, Montana
- A travel gift certificate– we love Get Away Today
- Get creative- there are tons of unique experiences out there that your kid will love like ziplining, adventure courses, Flyover Canada, IFly, and SO many more!