Long distance travel with very young kids can be super boring and at times, downright challenging. There’s no doubt you need to be well prepared and DIY travel activity kits are the ultimate option for keeping the frustrating moments to a minimum while you travel.
DIY travel activity kits are perfect for kids of all ages while travelling, and can be put together very inexpensively at home. No need to spend a fortune on new toys and activities for your next trip. It is often the simplest ideas that give the most entertainment & of course, it’s getting them off the electronics.
To create your own DIY travel activity kit, start by finding a suitable bag or case for the activities you want to include. Be mindful that the type you choose is both age appropriate, and well suited to your type of trip & transport too.
Four our upcoming trip to Europe, I wanted to ensure my 1 and 3 year olds both had a variety of activities for quiet time and during the boring long transiting periods. I got them each a personalised wet pack from YayMe! which were perfect! Small, compact & lots of pockets, since kids love pockets.
Travel Activity Kit for 3 Year Old
My eldest is 3.5 at the time of our trip & she has always loved little things. She could spend an hour sorting buttons or lining up coloured blocks. But taking lots of little stuff isn’t ideal for 2 reasons – 1. We don’t want mess while travelling & 2. Her sister still puts everything in her mouth!
But she is also at an age where learning is fun, so travelling is a great time to work on her spelling skills!
The bag of wooden sticks and letters is one of the cheapest ideas for a travel activity kit. All you need is a pack of wooden paddle pop sticks and some Woodend letters. I got both of these in our local discount store for about $2 each.
On one side of the sticks I have drawn a simple picture or shape with felt pens, across about 5 or 6 sticks. Quickest puzzle ever! I made about 4 of them. Then on the reverse side, I have added a colour dot so Lily knows which stick belongs with which set. And I have also added a sight word.
Using the wooden alphabet, she can practice her sight words by finding the letters in the word. Such a simple activity but one that will definitely improve her familiarity with words and letters, in a fun, hands on learning activity. Dual purpose activity!
And since Lily does really love puzzles right now, we had a great find with these mini Disney Peincess puzzles on the weekend, which fit perfectly in one of the pockets. Since it is a board backed puzzle, it’s easy to do on the go & not too many pieces. Plus she has been doing them constantly since we got them (and thankfully didn’t notice I packed one in her travel activity kit), so I know she loves them.
The 2 blue things in the pocket are mini key ring games I found for $1 in Kmart Australia – Connect 4 & Barrel of Monkeys. Some fun activities she can do with one of us or, on her own. We need to keep her sister away from these ones though.
Being 3 though, she has a huge imagination, so a mini barbie & My Little Pony will assist her pretend play while abroad. And of course, some surprises – 2 Disney Frozen surprise eggs. She loves watching surprise egg videos on YouTube, so she will be stoked to open these up on the plane. They have Frozen figurine key rings so they will join her pony & barbie on adventures too.
I also added colour pencils & crayons for doodling. Always a winner! She will also have a sticker/colouring books that does not fit the activity pack.
Other ideas for a travel activity pack for 3 year olds:
- Note pads & activity packs
- Toy cars
- Small games
- Doll & clothing/accessories
Travel Activity Kit for 1 year olds
Our youngest is a little young for many activities small enough to fit in the organisers that I got, since most of her favourite toys are large, loud and musical, so not very plane friendly. But we did put together a couple of fun toys for her. She had fun unpacking it though, so that was promising!
Inside Violet’s DIY travel activity kit, we added a toy car suitable for 6months & up & a squeaky bath toy that can be used to squirt water in case we want a bit of a laugh on the hot summer days.
I also added the mini magnetic etch-o-sketch we got when we took Lily to Vietnam a couple of years back. Violet loves drawing already so the no mess version is perfect for her.
They both also got a kids fruit bar snack in their travel activity packs. Can’t go wrong with snacks!
Other travel activity kit ideas for 1 year olds:
- Age approved figurines I.e animals, people, cars
- Small board books
- Wooden puzzles
Quiet books are also amazing for slightly older toddlers. Violet is only 13 months, so we found she wasn’t quite at that age yet, but travelling with Lily at 16 months, she adored her fabric quiet books, with pockets & laces, Velcro and other activities. They are fantastic for travel too as they are soft & easy to pack! Pinterest is full of quiet book inspirations!
For or more ideas on how to create the perfect travel activity kits, check out our tips here.