How To Make DIY Travel Activity Kits For Toddlers & Kids

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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!

kids in rv with diy activity kits

BENEFITS OF TRAVEL KITS FOR KIDS

Sitting still for long periods. Staying entertained during long flights or road trips. 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

DIY travel activity kits for 1 & 3 year olds
Our travel kits for kids are kids toiletry bags

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:

TIPS FOR CREATING TRAVEL ACTIVITY KITS FOR KIDS

When creating a plane travel activity kit for kids for your upcoming travels, there are several things that need to be considered before you put your kits together.

To help with your planning, we have put together a list of tips to consider when creating activity kits for toddlers and kids.

1 – Is It Age Appropriate?

The first thing you want to consider is whether your activity is appropriate for the age of your child.

For example, tiny parts and potential choking hazards are not ideal for toddlers and small children. And this may also need to be considered when travelling with multiple children of different age groups because small fingers are prone to wandering.

Make sure the activities are safe for your children, based on their ages.

2 – Is It Compact?

When travelling, you want activities that are small and compact, easy to travel with and preferably lightweight.

This is especially true if you are travelling by public transport such as on a plane or a bus, where there is limited space to do activities and also a limit on baggage allowance.

Find activities that take up little room or weight and that fit into an easy to carry travel case or pouch. For road trips with kids, you might have a little more room to work with!

3 – Is It Messy?

kids doing activities on a plane

No one wants to be cleaning up glitter that has spilled all over the place or collecting the 300 buttons that your child accidentally dropped out of their activity kit, all over the floor of the train. Nope!

Avoid any activities that involve lots of tiny parts or messy pieces. It will only cause you more stress than it’s worth. Instead, stick to activities with fewer pieces or those that are unlikely to spill.

Magnets or velcro can be a great option for keeping pieces from easily spilling too.

4 – Will It Entertain For Long Periods?

While you want the activities you take travelling to be new and exciting, you also want to be sure they are something that will capture your child’s attention for a significant period of time. And preferably more than once during your trip.

Consider your child’s existing interests and the things they like to do for long periods. See how you can recreate a similar activity for travel so you know it won’t just be wasting space in your luggage.

5 – Is It Suitable For Your Transport?

If you will be travelling by plane or sitting close to other passengers, it is essential to consider if your activity kit for kids is suitable for this type of transport.

Obviously, most glue or paint products are not going for plane travel, or anything flammable, so you may need to rethink the model car building activity you had in mind.

Make sure the items in your activity kit are approved for your mode of transport… and even if they are allowed, ensure they won’t bother other passengers i.e. noisy, smelly, messy.

HOW TO CREATE TRAVEL ACTIVITY PACKS FOR TODDLERS

diy travel activity kit for toddlers
Our homemade activity pack for 3-year-old

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.

For 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.

patterned wet pack for kids

Read: Toddler Plane Activity Ideas & Toys

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:

  1.  You don’t want mess while travelling
  2.  Many small children like to put things in their mouth!

Age 3 is also 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

Travel kits for kids with puzzles
Small puzzles are a great option for kids aged 3 and up

The bag of wooden sticks or craft 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

inside activity kit for travel

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 have 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.

travel size connect 4 game

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!

mini colouring in pencils

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:

toddler with diy activity kit
Travel kit activities for 1 year olds

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.

worlds smallest etch o sketch

Other travel activity kit ideas for 1 – 2 year olds:

Quiet books are also amazing for older toddlers. Our eldest always adored 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.

quilted quiet book

Both activity packs also included a kids fruit bar snack since kids love snacks! We topped this up often throughout our trip.

cases for making travel activity kits
Toddler travel activity packs

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.

lonely planet kids travel journal

Here are some great options for older kids:

Related: Ultimate Guide to Planning Your First Overseas Vacation With 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. Check out our KiwiCo review for our favourite!

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!

DIY Travel activity kits for toddlers