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10 Gift Ideas for the Traveling Child

It’s that time of year in the United States.  Do you need some gift ideas for the traveling child? Do you need some ideas for your next long trip? Here are some great gifts for toddlers and preschoolers that also travel well. This gift list has a mixture of things I’ve purchased, recommendations from other traveling parents, and the best reviewed items I’m considering buying for our next trip.

While I don’t always do a lot of research before buying toys, it is imperative to read reviews before buying items that are meant for travel. Some travel toys are a GREAT idea in concept, but are not constructed well. This list has the best!

Thank you!

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Even if you choose to purchase another way, I hope this list is helpful for you and your traveling children!

Image of gift bags with a backdrop of grass and evergreens.


The Gift List Starts here!

  1. Light Stax – My mother found this starter set last year and gave it to my son for Christmas. He still loves it! The blocks have provided him with hours of imaginative play that I wouldn’t have expected, given the simplicity. The small set travels well. It as also held up reasonably well, given the roughness toys experience in my household.

2. Magnetic toys – No mess and fairly easy to keep contained. These are on my wishlist for our next travel adventure.

3. Aquadoodle – This is one of the  gift ideas I’m considering this for my 3 year old for this holiday season. She loves Magna doodles, too. However, I can’t find one with great reviews.

4. No mess coloring – no mess anything is a good idea while traveling! We have used these a lot. They have been great for my kids up until about age 5.

5. Color Wonder – even more mess free coloring!
The set:

Refills or to purchase separately: Markers and paper.

The Most Expensive Item

6. RCA Voyager Tablet -Even if screen time is limited in your house, it can be a life saver to bring out a tablet that has some pre-loaded educational games or cartoons to help out a cranky situation. This one around $50 or you can look for ones made for kids that cost more. We are very happy with our Voyagers (first featured in 6 Ways to Survive a Family Wedding). As they aren’t in use unless we are traveling, I can’t attest to their everyday durability. 2017 update: we started using these daily during our move. They don’t survive flying off the car at 50 mph.
If this is out of your price range, another option is to check into borrowing kid-friendly tablets from your local library for travel.

7.Buckle backpack – This looks so cute, I had to include it! My kids love buckles. In addition, it’s a functional backpack! Its a “toy” that can also hold other toys. It’s soft, functional, and entertaining. Work those motor skills, kids!

8. Green Toys toy airplane – Is your child nervous about flying? Airplane toys are a great way to make the whole thing seem more accessible. In addition, I’m a fan of Green Toys. We have two of their pieces (a submarine and a boat)  that have held up well, considering they’ve been both indoor and outdoor toys. They are made in the USA from recycled materials, too.

9. Games – If your kids are old enough, good old fashioned Go Fish! There are also many other card games.


My first attempt at a DIY felt “board” with a $.33 us piece of felt and some felt stickers.

10. Felt Board – felt boards are really for great imaginative play. There aren’t any boards on amazon that have good enough reviews for me to recommend to you. However, I did find these highly rated felt food toys that look excellent!

In addition, felt boards are so easy make (and far cheaper – I saw a felt “board” on amazon that was merely a piece of felt and it was $10 USD plus $10 shipping), that you can definitely do this yourself! Some libraries offer a special machine that can cut paper and fabric shapes. Check yours!

And in case you dont want to do it all yourself, here is a link to pre-cut felt shapes!

What gift ideas would you add?

My first DIY attempt at a felt board was a total fail for an easy, traveling item. It was a WIN for at-home creative play. Go figure!


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