Making travels memories with your kids is priceless, but getting well-armed with boredom busters for the waiting and queuing and hours spent in planes, trains and cars is critical. As we all know packing light is nigh on impossible with a family, we’ve picked our top travel toys that are space-saving too. So you don’t need a Mary Poppins bag to bring 'em along for the ride.
Crayons and paper have been the fall-back to ban boredom since I was a kid - and magnetic sketchpads are a brilliant modern-day version. The clever Toulouse–LapTrec Sketchboard (completely love the name...) also has a padded beanbag style back - for comfier and more stable sketching. There's a pencil they'll never lose (yay!) and 4 cute characters to print with. With one swish of the button, it's all gone and they can start again. The little carry handle makes it perfect for on-the-go drawing challenges. (Draw the traffic, my darling... yes, all of it.)
If your baby can’t get enough of your proper keys, treat them to a set of their very own. Unlike other play keys, this robust set of Luckeys by B.Toys is made from child-safe stainless steel, so they have a bit of weight to them and you're likely to trick them into thinking they are yours. (They always find it more fun when they are playing with yours, right?) The main key has a push-on light and the other three have fun vehicle-effect sounds to entertain them.
Say hey to the ultimate flexi Frisbee by Scrunch that you can literally fold and pop in your pocket or suitcase. Waiting for grub in a pub garden or outdoor venue? No worries. Initiate a quick game of catch. It's a toy that takes up no more space than your wallet: in fact, we'd say it's a crucial as your wallet.
Popular open play brand Tegu has created travel versions of their fantastic toys so your kids can enjoy the magic of their magnetic blocks even on the road. Once they realise the construction possibilities of even just a few blocks, there'll be no stopping their creativity. They all come in a natty felt case and we love that this set lends itself to travel-focused vehicles like a boat, plane, even a rocket.
Play tape is brilliant entertainment for travelling, especially for stints on trains, planes and ferries. Simply roll out the tape and they can make their own fun track on the table / wall / floor (space and other passengers allowing, obviously) with the plane or train toy. We have versions by Bigjigs and Donkey, all of which come with a cute little vehicle. With several metres of mess-free tape on every roll - once it's time to go, just peel it off - there's masses of impromptu fun to be had.
Doodle Placemat To Go
No one likes waiting for food at the best of times. Add some jet-lag or unfamiliar surroundings and you have a recipe for a very hangry child. To dodge those meltdowns, the Eat Sleep Doodle Doodle Placemat To Go is the ideal trick to whip out of your bag. Double-sided and with 10 washable pens, they can get creative designing a colourful dinner on the plate side, or turn it over to get sketching on the graph paper. It’s a sustainable choice too: get it home, wash it and pack it for the next getaway. Ace.