Travel with kids tends to go much more smoothly when the little ones are occupied. These activity kit checklists for four different age groups will keep the children busy on your next trip.
Though adult travelers may appreciate looking out the window and watching the clouds go by from a plane or car window, it takes a little more than that to entertain the young ones. Most little kids can’t exactly grasp the concept that travel is about both the journey and the destination. Rather, they just want the journey to be over—now. Unfortunately—much like flight delays or inclement driving weather—bored kids have a knack for raising the stress level of any trip exponentially.
As tempting as it may be to toss the kids a tablet and be done with it (no judgment!), it’s possible to entertain them without screen time overload. On your next trip, pack a travel activities kit instead using our Pack-It™ system to stay organized and stress free. You may even be able to sneak in a little destination education!
Ages 5 and Under
For the youngest travelers, avoid items that will require too much explanation or supervision from the front seat, and remember that every item you pack could end up on the seat cushions. Pick up some sets of different colored packing organizers—one for each kid—and fill them with simple, mess-free items.
- Crayons (preferably large, flat-edged ones that won’t roll away)
- Coloring books
- Crayola Wonder Markers, which mark only the special paper in the set
- Pop-up picture books
- Gel window clings
- Sticker books
- Finger puppets
- Magna Doodle
- Sewing cards
Educational bonus: Give your five-year-old a shoe so he or she can practice tying the laces. A long car ride makes for lots of practice time.
Ages 6 to 8
Kids within this age group are all about creativity, and—if you passed along those travel genes—are starting to connect with their travel surroundings. Leave the magic markers at home and fill a tote with other creativity-inspiring items.
Educational bonus: As the kids get older, don't ignore their “Why are we going here?” questions. Pack a picture book about your destination that they can see come to life when you get there.
Ages 9 to 11
By this age, your kids probably have some favorite games to add to more advanced crafts in their activity totes. You get bonus points if they are games that the whole family can enjoy playing once you arrive!
Educational Bonus: Fit in a creative writing lesson by including a travel journal in the kit. Encourage your tween to write daily recaps of your trip, or a short story each day you are gone.
Ages 12 and Up
The late tweens and early teens may just want to zone out with their cell phones, but even they’ll need some items in their bags for when the batteries inevitably run low. Engage their minds with entertaining and educational games and reading material.
- Crossword puzzle book
- Mad Libs
- Sudoku book
- Portable magnetic board games
- Choose Your Own Adventure books
- Postcards to mail home to friends (Don’t forget the stamps!)
- Adult coloring books
- Colored pencils
- Minecraft handbook
Educational Bonus: By now, the kids have probably caught on to your attempts to secretly slip education into these travel activities, so be up front about it! Include a travel guidebook with a historical theme so your kids can join the adult conversation about which attractions to visit.
For the ultimate packing list, click here.
Do you have a favorite game or activity that you pack in your children’s travel bags? Share your two cents in the comments below!
Related Links (from Eagle Creek blog):
Minimalist Travel: How to Pack Your Family’s Stuff in One Bag
10 Packing Trips to Make Family Travel Easier
5 Tips for Flying With Kids