Favorite Things to Bring For Travel

These are some of my favorite things to bring on road trips and plane flights with my kids! Keeping them entertained can feel daunting, but I've had lots of success with these items. I'm headed on a 9 hr road trip to see family for Spring Break, and this is what I am bringing.

For reference, my oldest is 4.5 years old and my youngest is 20 months. Most of these items are used and loved by both kiddos.

One important tip: For most of these items, I ONLY offer them for trips. These items go into the cabinet to be saved in between trips. The novelty really helps them be entertained with them longer than if they had them everyday. Occasionally, I'll pull some of these items out to bring to a restaurant dinner with us to keep them occupied. But these are 'special' items.

Curious Columbus Quiet Books

These books are amazing, and my 20-month-old and my 4-year-old both love them. We have two, which I'll link below. I like that it a little challenging and let's them pretend and work on fine motor skills, but isn't so challenging that they will need my help while they work on it (like many other activity books we have).

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Little Dover Activity Books

These are great because there are so many different themes and they are pretty small and thin at only 4.6" tall, making them easy to slip into the Poppy Bag or your travel bag.

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Floss & Rock Magnetic Play Scenes

These are a huge hit. Unlike the sticker books, these are magnetic. They last forever, where the sticker books do eventually lose their stick. We have loved the space one of these for years, and I just ordered this deep sea one for our upcoming trip.

Tip: These are one of the activities we offer at the dinner table if a kiddo is done eating before the rest of the family. We try to keep everyone at the table talking until everyone is done eating.

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Light Switches Toy

These are so fun! Babies from 16 months to 5 years old will enjoy this. There are a ton of different variations of this toy, and many of them are wood which I like. This one won my vote though because the battery seems to last longer and it's easiest for the kids to hold in their car seat.

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Reusable Sticker Books

I have a love/hate relationship with these books, but it's mostly love. Both of my kids will play with them for 45 minutes easily, and they are reusable. This is also a favorite activity for them to do with older family members at holidays.

However, the first use is always the best and they do get less sticky over time. We bust out new books for big trips, and then 'retire them' as our 'restaurant toys' and still get a ton of value out of them getting used that way. I 'hate' them because the kids inevitable drop the stickers and I find them everywhere. I do love that this set comes with the mesh bag to store the folders and stickers in though, and makes quick cleanup on a plane or at a restaurant a breeze.

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This toy is lesser-known than other audio players, but I love it. It's perfect for younger toddlers, where I find the yoto-type audio book players best for preshoolers.

This is a screen-free audio player with different cards they can easily pop on. In it's simplest form, kids press the pictures to hear the name of that item. There is also quiz mode, which is how my 4-year-old likes to use it now. There are also cards that play songs and read short stories. And there are several languages, so it can grow with your kids and be used to teach other languages too.

We bring this in our camper for ski days for my youngest to play with, and he absolutely loves it. We got this when my 4-year-old had just turned 1, and we've used it regularly since. Oh, and the battery lasts forever. We probably replace the battery once a year or less.

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Highlights Magazines

This is one that is just for my older kiddo. I struggled with wanting to buy these because he does have an iPad and can play these types of games on an app there if I offer the iPad.

However, I try to use limited screens for when we really need them and as the last items. So playing an app on the iPad turns into asking to watch a show, and we just avoid all of that by using magazines instead.

There are several different magazines starting at age 3-6 and then different magazines for older-aged kiddos.

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Water Wow Books

Love these. Fill the pen with water, and they can paint the book and make the color appear. When it dries white, they can start again. We have several and always bring a couple on our tips. They also hold up really well.

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Drawing Tablets

These are a must! Kids can draw on them independently, or we use them to play together in the car. We play tick tack toe on them. And my favorite game is we trade off telling each other what to draw, and the other draws it. Or we work together each adding one item to a picture and passing the board back and forth to make a complete scene.

My 20-month-old loves scribbling on his too!

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Wifi-only iPad

Did you think I had it all figured out and we never use screens? Nope.

I always pre-download a few episodes of Blue and a couple of movies on Disney or Prime. I also let my 4-year-old play the Homer app.

The trick is not putting this in the toy basket they have access to in the backseat and only pulling it out towards the end of the trip.

There are some trips we don't need it at all. And some trips that it saved our booty on with flight delays.

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GOBE Snack Spinner

Make eating a game! I fill each compartment with different foods and kids can push the big button (easy for little hands, even at 15-months old) to rotate the food. Very exciting for them.

A favorite snack? Frozen peas! They will eat them frozen or when they thaw out after a day of travel. And they're getting some veggies and not just eating their bodyweight in cheddar bunnies all day.

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Snack Tower

The GOBE snack spinner is fun, but this is more functional for holding a substantial amount of snacks. I love this for planes since it fits in the water bottle pocket of a backpack.

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Basket for holding toys

I love these cotton baskets. I use them for toy storage at home, and bring one to put between the car seats in the car to hold all the toys. The kids can even climb in them and pretend they're in a car or boat without breaking the baskets. Trust –my boys have fully tested the durability.

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