Holiday Gift Guide: Toys & Games For Kids who Travel

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    Looking for some great gift ideas for kids in your life? Here are some of our favorite gifts you could take on a trip! Any of them easily pack in a diaper bag, purse, or backpack. Also, check our my favorite books for kids who love to explore!

    Toddlers and Up: Toys that grow with them

    Tegu Blocks

    Tegu blocks ($25) are wooden, magnetic blocks & a great open ended toy! We have a big set but sometimes bring a small collection like this when we travel.

    Water Wow Books

    WaterWow! books ($5 each or 3 for $13) were one of the first mess-free toys we started bringing on trips. Fill the pen with water and uncover a picture. Then let it dry and do it all again. Even at 7 our kids still enjoy them.

    Block Crayons

    Filana Beeswax Block Crayons ($23) Beeswax crayons with vibrant colors. We used there for our Waldorf homeschool art program and have really enjoyed them. Bonus for travel: they can’t roll off the tray tables, are non-toxic, and nearly impossible to break.

    Finger Puppets

    Finger puppets ($10 for 10) Buy a bunch on Amazon, or buy at your local Ten Thousand Villages Store

    Peg People

    Peg People ($59) This set from Grimm’s is adorable and has color coded cups to match. You could just take a few on a trip. Also you can make your own peg people if you’re feeling crafty or support a seller on etsy.

    Stacking Cups

    Mini Bilibos stacking cups ($19.99) Another great open ended toy. These can get wet, too — so would be a great addition for a beach vacation. Great for sorting, stacking, hiding games, and so much more.

    Play scarves


    Playsilks ($45 for 3). Playsilks are so versatile that they always come with us. Cape, scarf, blindfold, peek-a-boo, toy hammock, the options are endless! We dyed our own with food coloring following this tutorial they turned out great.

    Ages 4-8

    Boogie Boards

    Boogie boards (from $26.99) are one of our favorite travel toys! Think of it like a modern magna-doodle. We love this version because it is translucent and comes with other games and activities. We also use it for homeschooling. Costco has had them lately, too, so check there if you are a member for a great price.

    Freeplay Magnatab

    KidO Freeplay Magnatab ($19) Our daughter received this as a gift this year and it has been a hit! Word of caution – it is not the best silent travel toy as it makes a bit of noise when you’re pushing the magnetic beads back down.

    Play All Day by Taro Gomi

    Play All Day by Taro Gomi ($5 and up) is out of print, but you can still find it on Amazon Marketplace or Ebay, often for less than $5! Just make sure you’re getting a new or like new version if you’re buying it as a gift. This book is full of punch outs like little buildings, finger puppets, and boxes to make.

    Magnetic Play Books

    Magnetic Play books ($9) There are so many to choose from. These books are a great quiet, independent toy for traveling.

    Reusable Puffy Sticker Books

    Reusable puffy sticker books ($10 for 3) from Melissa and Doug. At around $5 a book or less when they are bundled, these are a great toy to bring on trips — and not have to worry about if it doesn’t last for years. We used to let our kids pick out one of these each time we went on a new trip.

    Wikki Stix

    Wikki Stix ($5.50) Basically this is string covered in wax that you can shape. They never dry out and are a great alternative to play-doh if you want a hands-on toy. Our kids started liking them when they were 5 and above. Also a perfect size for a stocking.

    Sushi Go! Card Game

    Sushi Go ($8.95) A simple card game that our kids started enjoying around age 6. But still fun for adults. Bonus – lots of math practice when you’re adding up your score. Another great stocking stuffer!

    Sleeping Queens

    Sleeping Queens ($10) A game that almost always makes it into our travel bag. Our kids started playing a simplified version when they were about 3.5, but the game grows with them a bit, too. Enjoyable for kids and adults together.

    Plus plus blocks

    Plus plus blocks ($14.99) On our wish list this year! We’ve heard so many families rave about these. Similar to Lego but all blocks are the same size. I could see our kids using these to make buildings and garages for all their tiny toys — as well as creating bigger things, too.

    Cozy Phones Headphones

    Cozy Phones Headphones ($15) We don’t have these but they are on our wish list this year. After using bulky noise canceling headphones for our kids for the past few years (and having multiple cords needing to be replaced), we’ve been wanting to try this easy alternative.

    The Airport Book by Lisa Brown

    The Airport Book by Lisa Brown ($15) We’ve read a lot of picture books on airplanes and flights, and this is by far our favorite. It is funny, but more importantly it explains all aspects of going through the airport and boarding and being on the flight clearly and accurately. We found it at our local library and have checked it out so many times. It would also be well worth owning and even taking on an international adoption trip to help prepare a child for that first long flight.

    Henry The Explorer by Mark Taylor

    Henry the Explorer Series (New is $18 but used is cheaper!) Henry has rousing adventures as he explores with his dog, usually ending up lost. Simple storylines that can be followed by kids as young as 3, but the illustrations and stories still interest our 6&7 year olds. The grown-ups always stay calm and usually come back to have coffee and cake when all is well again.

    Folding pocket guides

    Folding pocket guides ($10) We love these laminated guides for our weekly hikes. Look for ones that focus on your area. We keep them in our hiking backpack and frequently reference them to help us identify wildflowers, trees, birds, and other wildlife.

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