Children love vacations just like their parents, but perhaps the kids are more excited. If you intend to go on holiday with them, it would be a good idea to bring some travel toys and games. This is because even if your destination is filled with nice accommodations, enjoyable activities and breathtaking vistas, the trip going there might take a while.
Parents know very well that kids can’t wait to get there and worse, they might not stop asking the dreaded question, “Are we there yet?” It is therefore a good idea to keep them entertained while on you’re on your way. The children will be too preoccupied to care how long the trip may take when they have travel toys in their hands. Travel games make the journey even more exciting. In fact, you can join the fun and the kids will love the time and attention that you give them.
We came up with a list of the 10 best travel toys and games for 2017 to help you decide which would be the most appropriate for your little ones.
Criteria Used in Evaluation of The Top Travel Toys
When choosing toys, safety, of course is uppermost in our minds as we research the toys for our list. Not every incident can be foreseen, though, so parents have to be vigilant while their kids are playing, and we know you are. So for us, safety means, among other things, rounded corners, nothing that will pinch fingers, softness, and strength. If the company has certificate or an award, that is a plus.
We do our best to match toys with the intended age group and the safety factor that goes with the age group. While the travel toys list is meant for fun and relaxation on a road trip, we want them to have at some benefit to a child’s physical and mental development.
Child development is accomplished through play, which is a child’s job. They learn through play. This is how children explore the world. Kids use their 5 senses to make sense of the world around them, so it’s good to have bright, attractive colors, different materials and textures, sounds and buttons to push or buckles to put together. Basically, when we give our children toys, we are saying to them, “Go learn things.”
Children develop in the areas of their physical bodies, so we focused on fine motor skills with toys like drawing kits, buckles, and zippers. Toys that are manipulated with the fingers build those little tiny muscles and increase their strength so fingers learn to manipulate small objects with ease. Such play also increases hand-eye coordination.
Kids grow up and mature mentally at the same time as they do physically. The two go hand in hand. So while the fingers and hands learn to manipulate objects, the mind is learning about cause and effect, problem solving, math, communication, vocabulary, numbers, shapes, and more.
These different little ‘jobs’ we give kids are what helps kids learn things. So buckles are good, sounds are good, buttons and blocks are good. But in the car, sounds are not so good, as they can drive a parent nuts. So we focused on toys that are easy to pack, don’t make a mess, and have their own container so they are easily carried and unwrapped. The markers in the drawing kits make no mess. And they don’t make noise!
We want manufacturers to have really good reputations in customer service, toy safety, and an eye on how their toys support child development. There are many wonderful toys out there, so the personality of the toy makers is important. We are looking to choose toys by companies that have good reviews and few valid complaints.
We wanted all of the toys on the list to be attractive and fun. So we chose toys with bolder colors, interesting shapes, and appropriate complexity to keep kids engaged in their play. If it’s not attractive and fun, children will tire of it easily and want to move on to something else, and there is a limit to the number and types of toys you can take travelling with you. And, of course, the toys have to be small enough to easily pack and retrieve in the car. The carrying cases with handles are also good options.
What Determined the Top Travel Toys and Games for Kids in Our List
Travel toys are not inherently difficult to choose. As long as it could keep a child’s attention and focus to let the passing of time breeze through without much incident, then it should be perfectly all right. Unfortunately, doing is definitely different from merely saying it as we were literally bombarded with many potential candidates to our shortlist. We had to cut the number of these prospects down to a more manageable size so we included only those that have at least 4.3 stars in their customer satisfaction scores. Of course, we balanced this with both the positive and negative feedback or comment for each product to come up with a more realistic assessment of the overall usefulness of these playthings especially in keeping children preoccupied during long travels or even unusual transport delays and stopovers.
Equally important was the product’s appropriateness to the developmental level of its target audience or users. For instance, if the product calls for some form of holding something, then it was imperative that the child’s gross motor skills are already well-established. Otherwise, we will only be wasting our effort in coming up with a list that’s grossly disproportionate to the developmental skill level of its intended user. So, the product’s developmental appropriateness was indeed a very crucial factor in our selection. The product’s safety profile was also important. It pays to choose only products that will not bring harm to our children, especially the young ones who may not yet have an idea of what safety is all about. As long as certifications exist as to the safety of a certain product, we made sure to include it in the shortlist.
Tips to Make Travels Fun for Kids
Going on a trip with kids in tow can be a very interesting prospect for many parents as it gives them the opportunity to treat their kids to people, places, food, and events that may not be the same as what they have at home. While traveling with kids can be a nightmare for some, it is pure joy for most. Technically, the major concern of parents is how to survive a dull and boring road trip especially that young kids are not known for their patience. Here are some tips to minimize boredom and make travels for kids more fun.
- Plan, plan, plan – You don’t need a foolproof plan to make kiddie travels fun. At least have an idea of what you need to do, see, stay, and experience. Do allow for some spontaneity though.
- Observe only one pace – your kids’ – Young children, especially toddlers, require time to really explore new surroundings as well as adjust to each circumstance or situation. If you think going to a park will take you 2 hours to appreciate everything, double or even triple that time for your tots.
- Be prepared for any weather – This is part of contingency planning. The point is you don’t want to spoil your kid’s fun simply because of unforeseen weather disturbance. So, you must be ready for everything and anything.
- Let them choose the travel toys they would like to bring – Be mindful that the toys in this case are primarily intended to break the monotony of long drives and long waits. As such, one or two of your kid’s favorite toys to keep him or her company should be enough.
(You May Also Like: The Ultimate Guide To Baby Camping Gear)
Traveling with kids can be a very fun experience not only for the children themselves but also for parents. Just make sure that if you do intend to travel with your children, you will have their safety and comfort as your priority. Of course, you can rely on these 10 best travel toys and games for kids in 2017 to help you prevent boredom and keep the spirit of fun during these travels. Make sure you are fully prepared for your trip with our helpful guides on the top sunscreens, luggage sets and car seats for kids.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How do I know my child will like the toys I choose for our trip?
A: No one can tell the future, but the first thing you can do is ask your child. Kids do better if they are part of the solution. Let him pick a few and you pick a few. Remember to follow the guidelines of: keep it small, keep it interesting, keep it no mess. And no small pieces as they can be swallowed or lost in the vehicle.
Q: What if my 7 year old loses interest in the toys we have brought on our trip?
A: In that case, they may fall asleep. But if they don’t, you could play ‘I see it’ type games by looking out the window. Use this time to get your child interested in something else. Use it as bonding time time. Talk about the fun things you will be doing on your vacation. If you have a drawing kit along, ask him to draw a picture of what you will be doing or something you did together in the past. The possibilities are endless.
Q: My son can be a nightmare in a car. He drives his dad nuts with all of his moving around. What can we do to calm him?
A: There could be many answers to that question, but our first suggestion is to seek out a therapist. The therapist can help if there is any diagnosis to be made. Failing that, try a fidget toy. Some say it can help people to focus on what they should be doing and help with boredom.
Q: What about the safety of fidget toys? Are they safe?
A: Fidget toys are fairly new on the market, so there are no government labels or regulations concerning them. Many do have small pieces that can drop off of the toy, so they may not be great for the newborn to 3 year old group of children. Be alert when you buy them so that you know what you are paying for.
Q: I can only afford one travel toy for my kids. What are some other ideas for playing calmly in the car?
A: First, it’s ok. You don’t have to go buy a whole bunch of games to take with you. Choose some from home. There are lots of window games you can play. Play I spy….count cows and horses or trucks. License plate games can help your kids recognize states, numbers, and letters.
Take crayons and paper or a coloring book from home. These are just as good as a toy to keep young minds busy. You can pass the paper around and play a game like hangman or print games from the computer. Or maybe they can just read a book if they are old enough and don’t get car sick. The list of activities is endless.
Q: Why are there no electronic devices on your list?
A: Electronics have their place in travel plans for sure. Movies and games can keep your little one’s attention in the car just fine. However, kids also need to play with toys and use their hands in order to learn things. And with a dvd in the back seat, parents can’t see the movie and enjoy it with their kids. We believe in sharing family time, and it’s much easier for parents to interact with their kids when they can pass a toy or drawing paper around and share ideas.
- Fidgets: What are they and how can they help? , Blog, ,
- 5 Reasons to Ban Fidgets in Every Classroom in America, Blog, ,
- Fidgets—Tools that Take Away Stress! , PDF Article, ,
- Benefits of Drawing for Children, Blog, ,
- Fidget Spinners: What They Are, How They Work and Why the Controversy, Article, ,