A few years ago, my family took our toddler on a trip to Spain. It was an amazing trip, but frankly, we were tired. In a way, we wanted to prove to ourselves that we could still do some of the things we valued, but with kids in tow.
And you know what? We did it!
Kids are more resilient than we think. Most of the time travel is super exciting for them! (And of course, tired kids crash.) But we get so much more than that.
A broader perspective, new ways of doing things, new ways of seeing our kids and ourselves – just to name a few.
For some of you, maybe travel is necessary. Maybe you travel a lot to visit distant family members, just like our family does.
Whatever your reason for being here, I hope you can find some ideas to help you feel confident in your Can. Do. This! Since my kids are a little older now, this has become much easier.
Travel activities for children
Traveling with children is fun, scary and exciting. It can mean dealing with your child’s energy and excitement by reducing sleep in a variety of settings. But you’ll tweak your toolkit and gain new parenting skills in the process.
Fortunately, it’s easy to carry a few packable activities to maintain a sense of normalcy. In general, we keep many of the same routines on the road (morning activities, afternoon quiet time or naps, and low-key evenings).
Here are some of my favorite time-tested travel activities for kids. Most of them are open-ended and can be adapted to your child’s specific interests.
I tend to keep these items separate so there is a novelty factor while traveling. These were all easily packable and didn’t take up much space in our bags.
Oh and don’t forget snacks! When you think you might have enough, pack a few more! You never know when a flight might be delayed, restaurants might be closed at your new locale, etc. It sure beats hangry kids.
Alright, here we go!
I bring along a large drawing pad for my toddler and sketchbook for my older son. It’s a nice excuse to get a new set of markers for each child and maybe some fun extras like tempera paint sticks or gel crayons. Add some sticker gems to extend the activity.
2. Plastilina Clay or Playdough
This clay is a major staple in our household and keeps my active son quiet and busy for many hours, whether at home or while traveling. It’s cheap, never dries out and inspires many creations. I highly recommend!
A small container of playdough will get you by in a pinch and is great for the 1-3 year old crowd especially..
3. Headphones + podcast/stories
Each of our kids has their own special headphones and we have a splitter cable so they can listen to stories together from our phone or iPad