Going on holiday with children can be a challenging time for parents, especially for those with young children. Having a good selection of toys can make the difference between having a stressful experience or being able to actually relax.
If there is a long journey, toys will be required to entertain the children for the duration of the trip. This can be a good time to give children new toys purchased especially for the occasion. Once having arrived at the destination, children will also need a selection of toys to keep them occupied, in the absence of their collection of toys left at home. Here is a selection of the best toys for taking on holiday.
Lego is one of the best toys you can take on holiday because it is so open-ended. With an assortment of lego, kids can be entertained for days on end, making themselves an endless selection of new toys. Lego enhances children’s creativity and is highly rated for its ability to teach children basic engineering concepts.
New Lego sets can be added to a child’s collection at any time; a new set would be the perfect gift to give a child at the start of a long flight.
Children around the age of three may be too young to construct Lego on their own, but they can still be entertained for hours with the help of a Lego-loving adult. Sets for making vehicles are particularly adored by vehicle loving toddlers and preschoolers.
Most young children love stickers. A new sticker book will keep children amused for a decent period of time. This is a good one for flights or long car journeys. Animal stickers are great for helping children learn new vocabulary, and they can also be used as rewards for good behaviour.
Some of the best selections of stickers are ones which can be reused. Some types don’t actually stick to anything other than the landscapes which come in the book. This is very handy for when you are out and about and don’t want to leave stickers everywhere. They provide many more hours of entertainment than the type of stickers which can only be stuck once.
Older children can play board games for hours on end. Playing board games is a fantastic way to bond with the whole family. Children learn a great deal from playing board games, whilst having a lot of fun. Some classic board games include:
- Pictionary – Pictionary is a popular board game for children and adults alike. Participants take turns to draw different concepts written on cards, while other participants have to guess what the drawing represents. There is even a Junior Pictionary with easier topics for younger children to understand and draw.
- Monopoly – Monopoly is a classic board game for adults and children from the age of 5. The aim of the game is to build a property empire, whilst making your opponents destitute. Monopoly takes a long time to play a full game. This makes it perfect for taking on holiday, when it is possible to dedicate an entire day to playing it. It would be particularly handy for rainy days when stuck inside holiday accommodation all day.
- Risk – The aim of Risk is world domination. Players have armies which fight with other players’ armies to take over territory. It is a highly addictive game for the whole family; children will love destroying their parents’ armies. Risk is a very educational game, which teaches children both Maths and Geography. It is recommended for children aged 10 and up.
- Scattegories – In the game of Scattegories, there are cards with numerous different categories to choose from. A letter is randomly selected, and players need to think of an item for each category which begins with the chosen letter, while a timer counts down. More points are awarded for original answers. It is surprisingly difficult to think of the items whilst under pressure. The pressure makes it fun, and it really does exercise the brain. Scattegories is recommended for children aged 13 and up.
- Mastermind – Mastermind is a board game with a tiny board. Not much larger than a deck of cards, the mastermind box contains pegs which are the only other items required to play the game. Mastermind is a two player game. The first player creates a sequence of pegs of different colours. The second player needs to guess the sequence, refining their guess using the feedback they receive from the first player. The concept is fairly simple but it is an addictive game. It is recommended for players aged 6 and up. As it takes up so little space, it is definitely worthwhile packing for holidays.
For something which takes up so little space, cards surely provide the most possibilities for entertainment. Countless card games exist for players of all ages and skill levels. Some classic card games include Black Maria, Snap, New Market and Canasta. Playing cards is fantastic for improving children’s arithmetic skills. A card game book would be useful for learning new card games, or of course there are numerous articles on the internet.
Whilst perhaps not technically a toy, making a scrapbook is a beautiful family tradition. Absolutely anything of interest can be put in a scrapbook. Leaflets from excursions help to jog memories of special times. Natural items such as feathers and flowers can be collected or photographed.
After the holiday, photos can be printed to form the main body of the scrap book. Writing about the memories can be done as a family activity. In years to come, you can look at the scrapbook with your family to remember the holiday.
With a bug catcher, children can keep insects and examine them. After a few hours, the insects can be released back into nature, still alive. Young children absolutely love nature and creepy crawlies. Examining insects with a bug catcher is a great way to inspire a love of nature and science in children. Unusual insects in a foreign land will be even more interesting to children. Just make sure you know what the insects are- it’s best not to trap ones which may bite or sting, just in case they escape!
Kites may be old school but they still manage to capture the imagination of young children. Slightly older children can learn to fly kites while younger children watch on. Kites don’t take up much space and can make trips to the beach or park a bit more interesting.
Like kites, frisbees are a classic outdoor toy which has been around for a long time. There are now modern frisbees with soft edges which are easier to catch, and even mini frisbees which can fit in pockets. Playing frisbee is a great form of exercise for all, and it improves eye-hand coordination.
So ubiquitous it almost seems like a given when travelling to the beach, a bucket and spade are indispensable. Young children love the sand so much that sandpits are an essential item in childcare centres and kindergartens. Adults can try their hand at building elaborate sandcastles, while toddlers love nothing better than smashing sandcastles quicker than they can be made.
While painting on hotel walls probably wouldn’t be the best idea, art is another open-ended activity which can entertain children of all ages for hours on end. Older children may be able to sketch the scenery of the holiday location, while younger children will be content scribbling away. New art supplies to add to a child’s collection will always be appreciated and will keep children quiet for a while.
Many young children have a favourite toy that they are particularly attached to. When in a new environment, children will want a bit of comfort from home, in the form of their favourite toy. Taking their favourite toy does, of course, run the risk of losing it, so it would be highly recommended to get at least one extra identical toy.
This is a pretty handy tip even when not going on holiday- there is nothing like trying to put a toddler to bed when they can’t find their most beloved toy.
This item is last on the list to represent the fact that technology is usually the last resort for entertaining children. While most parents aim to limit the amount of time children spend on their various technological devices, sometimes they do come in handy. A child screaming at the top of their lungs during takeoff and landing might be one of those times. A small selection of new apps can be a very useful tool for frazzled parents who have tried everything else.
The Sago Mini apps are absolutely wonderful for toddlers. Older children can be given a voucher and allowed to choose their own educational apps- with their parents’ approval, of course. Selecting the apps alone can keep them occupied for a good period of time.