As parents, we know how challenging it can be to travel with young children. We arm ourselves with an abundance of snacks, favourite Cbeebies shows, and fun apps for the tablet or smartphone. A few new travel toys can also serve as an excellent distraction. Wherever you’re going – be it a sun-drenched beach, a countryside retreat, or if you’re brave, a camping trip at the mercy of the British weather – our picks for on-the-go toys and games will keep the family entertained and the suitcases shutable.
Toys for long journeys:
Whether you’re on a long flight or stuck in holiday traffic on the M5, keeping the little ones entertained on the journey is foremost in every parent’s mind. We’ve picked the following toys for the trip there:
We take Melissa & Doug’s Water Wow with us everywhere. Just add some water to the brush and create colourful scenes that can be done again and again. Each scene also contains a search-and-find activity, meaning that besides colouring alone there is also opportunity for interaction between parent and child. It fits neatly in your bag and the brush stores away safely inside.
A set of six magnetic wooden blocks, stored in a handy pouch, Tegu pocket pouch prism is another take-everywhere toy that will appeal to all ages. Younger children enjoy discovering the blocks’ magical attraction and repulsion. It’s a fun puzzle for those a little older, and it offers endless creative fun for older children and adults. (The packet says suitable for ages 1-99, but I disagree – I, for one, will definitely still be paying with this when I’m 100).
All kids like a good sticker pad, and these ones from Melissa & Doug are reusable – bonus!
Toys for out-and-about:
Quut do a whole range of great beach toys. They’re designed in Belgium by parents who know what kids like. Our favourite is Cuppi, due to its incredible diversity. You get a scoop, a sieve, and a ball – use them to dig and build sandcastles, scoop out a track for the ball to roll down, draw in the sand with the water writer, play catch – and they stack together nicely for easy transportation.
Stretchy silicon Stick-lets make building dens a doddle. Some sticks, your imagination, and you’re ready to go.
Melissa and Doug’s Bag of Bugs is a really versatile toy. These brightly coloured bugs can be used for an assortment of activities from counting and colour recognition to hide-and-seek games. They’d be great on the beach and can even be enjoyed in the bath!
Rainy day activities:
A good game is a must for those rainy days, or for the parents to play after the kids go to bed. We’ve chosen the following games for their portability as well as their ability to appeal to all ages.
If you’ve not played the immensely popular Rory’s Story Cubes then this could be the time to start. The idea is simple – roll the nine dice to reveal the characters, items, and themes, around which to tell a story. Incredibly fun alone or with friends, for children and adults, home or away, this is the ultimate holiday game.
Tenzi is an incredibly simple game that kids will love. And everyone plays at the same time too, so no having to wait your turn. Each player takes ten dice and keeps rolling until all their dice show the same number – the winner is the first person to so. That’s just the main game, there are dozens of variations. Why not make up your own?
Check out our travel toys section for loads more ideas including some great family card games.
We hope you enjoy these toys as much as we do. We’d love it if you would send us your favourite photos of them being put into action.