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One of our favourite travel hacks is DIY travel activity kits for toddlers and kids. Long-distance travel with toddlers can be downright challenging for them and for you. There’s no doubt you need to be well prepared when travelling with children of all ages, and travel activity kits for kids are the ultimate option for keeping the frustrating moments to a minimum while you travel.
And the best part – they are really inexpensive to make too! We’ve put together our top tips for creating your own kid’s activity kits for travel so you can start your next family vacation on the right foot!
BENEFITS OF TRAVEL KITS FOR KIDS
Sitting still for long periods. Having to wait in lines. And simply being away from what is familiar. These experiences are all a challenge for a toddler. It’s hard enough for older kids. If I’m being honest, I’m not the best at waiting in lines patiently myself!
Having a special holiday kit filled with things your child loves will minimise the impact of boredom during those transit and waiting times. It will also give them something fun to entertain them during quiet time as well.
Travel activity kits are perfect for kids of all ages while travelling, and can be put together very inexpensively at home.
There is no need to spend a fortune on new toys for your next trip. It’s often the simplest activities that give toddlers the most entertainment, and of course, it’s keeping them off the electronics if you can help it.
You will be the most organised family travellers around with a DIY children’s travel activity pack on hand!
DIY TRAVEL ACTIVITY KITS FOR TODDLERS
We have been creating travel activity packs for our daughters since we first started travelling with them, back when our eldest was just 1. Her first overseas trip was to Vietnam and knowing we had long transit times and a lot of internal travel, we wanted to be prepared. One year old’s lose attention quickly, as do all toddlers.
The best part, most of the items that went into our travel activity packs were items the kids already had at home or things I made myself. This meant they were completely budget-friendly!
They are also one of the girls’ favourite things about travelling… YES, they love them that much!
Check out this video for a quick look at our activity packs and some other ideas for travel activities we love:
HOW TO CREATE TRAVEL ACTIVITY PACKS FOR TODDLERS
To create your own DIY travel activity pack for toddlers, 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. You want something that is relatively easy to open, and also secure enough that you won’t have items spilling out all over the place either.
Four ours, I wanted to ensure my 1 and 3-year-old’s at the time both had a variety of activities for quiet time and during the boring long travelling periods.
I got them each a personalised fold up toiletry bag with their name on the front, which are perfect! They are small, compact & have lots of pockets and sections to fill up with fun activities. Kids love pockets!
You can find a similar option. It comes in lots of fun patterns and colours.
Travel Activity Kit for 3 Year Old
My eldest was 3.5 at the time of our trip to Europe when we created these particular toddler activity packs. She has always loved little collectable things. She could spend hours sorting buttons or lining up coloured blocks, even as a toddler.
However, taking lots of little items in your travel packs isn’t ideal for 2 reasons:
- You don’t want mess while travelling
- Many small children like to put things in their mouth!
Age 3 is also at an age where learning is fun, so travelling is a great time to work on early skills in literacy and numeracy!
Travel Activity Ideas For 3 and 4 Year Olds
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 a pack of wooden letters. I got both of these in our local discount variety store for a couple of dollars.
On one side of the sticks, I have drawn a simple picture or shape with felt pens, across 6 sticks to create a handmade paddle pop stick puzzle. 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.
Along the bottom, I have also added a sight word so that once they are all in the right position, they form a word.
Using the wooden alphabet, she can practice sight words by finding the letters in the word. Such a simple activity but one that will definitely improve younger children’s familiarity with words and letters, in a fun, hands-on learning activity.
Related: Our Must Have Travel Gear
Other Travel Activities For 3 Year Olds
At the time our eldest loved puzzles so we had a great find with some mini Disney Princess puzzles, which fit perfectly in one of the pockets. Being board-backed puzzles, they are easy to do on the go & not too many pieces. These kept her occupied the longest out of all the activities we included.
The 2 blue things in the pocket are mini key ring games we found for $1 in Kmart Australia – Mini Connect 4 and Barrel of Monkeys.
These are fun activities she can do with one of us or on her own, as she loves creating patterns. We had to keep her sister away from these games though due to very small pieces.
Toys that promote imagination are great at 3, so a mini barbie & My Little Pony will encourage pretend play while abroad.
And of course, some surprises – we added 2 Disney Frozen surprise eggs. Inside are collectable figurines. There are so many different types of surprise eggs these days so these are really easy to find!
I also added colouring pencils & crayons for doodling. We packed a sticker and colouring book into our carry on that did not fit in her activity pack.
Here are some other ideas for toddler travel activity packs:
- Note pads & activity books such as the mini party favour ones
- Toy cars
- Small games – such as these magnetic ones
- Doll & clothing/accessories
Travel Activity Kit for Toddlers
Our youngest daughter was a little young for many activities that are small enough to fit in our organisers that we have since most of her favourite toys are large, loud and musical. This meant finding some more plane friendly items for her to travel with.
She had fun unpacking it all at least, so that was promising!
Inside her DIY travel activity kit, we added a toy car suitable for 6 months & up and a squeaky bath toy that can be used to squirt water in case we wanted a bit of a laugh on the hot summer days in Croatia and beyond.
We also added a mini magnetic etch-o-sketch that we got when we were in Vietnam. Miss 1 loves drawing already so the no-mess version is perfect for her while we travel.
Other travel activity kit ideas for 1 – 2 year olds:
- Age approved figurines – Fischer and Price make great toddler cars
- Mini board books
- Wooden puzzles
- Quiet book
Quiet books are also amazing for older toddlers. Our eldest always adored her her fabric quiet books, with pockets & laces, velcro and other activities to explore. They are fantastic for travel too as they are soft & easy to pack!
Pinterest is full of quiet book inspirations! I even made one of my own! It took days… so only take that project on if you have time to spare!
Otherwise, you can get some great ones online, like this one. It’s really similar to the one we were given as a baby gift.
Both activity packs also included a kids fruit bar snack since kids love snacks! We topped this up often throughout our trip.
We have more travel activity kit tips to help you create super fun packs for your kids of all ages.
OLDER KIDS TRAVEL ACTIVITY PACKS
If your kids are primary school age, you can add extra things to their kits such as card games, a Rubik’s cube and compact travel puzzles.
They may no longer enjoy the activity books younger kids love, however you can find options suited to older kids. These may include crossword or sudoku books, adult colouring books with intricate designs and a travel journal for jotting their experiences down.
Here are some great options for older kids:
These days there are so many compact toys and games that you can add to your kits and of course, you can use anything to hold it in. Toiletry bag, storage case, pencil case, folder… whatever you have on hand! Keep it cheap and easy!
DIY Travel activity kits are perfect for inexpensive travel fun for your kids during those long travel times or for having quiet time during your holiday. Plus DIY travel activity kits for toddlers and kids are super fun to make too!
If you don’t want to make your own, travel subscription boxes are perfect for taking with you as well. Many of these subscription activity boxes come in compact sizes, with fun activities kids can do while on the move.
What activities do you use to keep your kids entertained when out and about? Leave a comment below. We would love to hear it! And share this post to Pinterest via the image below! Be sure to follow us on Facebook or YouTube for more travel tips like these!