A look at all the best toys to pack or toddlers and pre-schoolers for your next family holiday.
Anyone who has travelled with a small child will know that space-saving in the suitcase is a major issue.
By the time you’ve squeezed in a week’s supply of nappies, wet wipes, a first-aid kit, bottles of Calpol, milk bottles, Ella’s Kitchen fruit pouches etc etc, the space left for children’s toys can be severely lacking.
So below is a list of ten toys that often make their way into my luggage, chosen for their maximum-entertainment-for-minimum-suitcase-space properties.
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A bucket that squashes down and squeezes into a small space! Genius! Great for water play, collecting shells, carrying other toys… rubbish for sandcastles.
An inflatable ball, that squishes down in your suitcase then blows up quickly whenever you need it is the perfect toy for travel.Error: Unknown Link Type
Mine lives in my beach bag, and we never holiday without it.
What toddler doesn’t love a nest of stacking cups? Great for water play, making sandcastles, washing hair in the bath, building towers…
Floating bath/pool toys
Great for bath time, learning to swim or just for squirting people with across the pool.
Jigsaw puzzles can be great as travel toys.
Not the heavy wooden kind, or the large fill-the-floor kind obviously. But a few smaller cardboard puzzles can easily be packed into Ziploc bags and shoved in the suitcase.
My kids will happily do the same ones over and over to show off their puzzle prowess.
We always travel with an assortment of sticker books, colouring books, paper dolls, mazes, dot-to-dots. We also love the Colour Wow water colour books that allow the kids to colour in with no mess.
There are so many great activity books to choose from and it is easy to always have one in your handbag for lunches and dinners and include a few in your hand luggage for the plane.
Play Doh needs no introduction but is great as a travel activity. Throw in a few small travel-size pots and some shape cutters and you’ve got a great rainy day, or airplane activity.
We once stayed in a hotel in Switzerland where they handed these out to the kids on reception pretty much every time we walked through.
We now have a bagful and they are great for imaginative play and entertaining children on the airplane.
I’ve only recently discovered Wikki Stix, although apparently they’ve been around for 25 years.
These self-sticking sticks can be moulded and shaped into whatever craft shape your imagination allows. And they take up next-to no space.
I debated whether to add this to the list, as there are so many anti-iPaders out there. But let’s be honest, there’s not many of us travel mamas who would set foot on a plane without one.
And you can load it up with so many puzzles and educational games that your little ones will never need seek out Peppa Pig (but then again, whatever keeps them quiet on a 12-hour flight, right?)
Need inspiration for toddler-friendly iPad apps? See our post Best iPad Apps for Toddlers.