Travelling with Toddler – Must have Toys and Activity Books

Travelling to new destinations is what our family is most fond of; we try to make sure that we take at least 2 vacations in a year, more the merrier. After Nemit’s birth we have started linking vacations to special occasions, so we prefer travelling around our birthdays and anniversary dates. We have already taken this year’s 2 trips, Malaysia on Nemit’s 1st birthday and Maldives on our anniversary.

I was quite sure that we are already done with this year but surprisingly hubby started giving hints of planning another trip for my Birthday and who can say ‘NO’ to a vacation offer? Not me, for sure.

So, as many of you know that recently we made a trip to Kerala (India) with our 19-month-old boy to celebrate my Birthday, it was Nemit’s 6th trip and just like the other 5, it came out to be super fun as he had an amazing time at God’s own country and highlight of the trip was he had the company of his Nani and Dadi (Nemit’s grandmothers) to pamper him with all the care and love in the world.

 

 

I always take a lot of time planning our vacations just to make sure we have a smooth experience throughout. Since this vacation was 9 days long and included lots of travelling by road, ranging from hills to beaches, I had to make sure that Nemit stays happy and engaged in the car as that’s the most difficult part of travelling with a toddler, they simply refuse to stay seated for long.

From checking comfortable and child friendly hotels and resorts to arranging toys and activities to keep him happily busy I did all just to make sure we do not have a cranky child ruining the trip for everyone. Nobody likes to enjoy or relax when there is a crying baby hanging around. Now that we were 4 adults, I can say it was a plus for us as whenever he got bored with one face he would hop on to the other one.

Most of the times, it was Nani/Dadi he would go to, and Papa if he wants to take a nap or just to have some dude talk and Me if he wanted to do some Dudu business or simply when getting bored!

 

 

I want to share what actually worked for us during the whole trip. I prepared a bag of toys for Nemit and kept it with us wherever we went to, the beach, the restaurant, pool side, in the car, during the flight, almost everywhere. Made it as a separate bag to be taken along as cabin baggage.

This minion backpack was gifted to us by a dear friend on Nemit’s birth day; it has 2 compartments, front one with more space and back with little lesser space. So, I used the back one to keep books and at front I placed another small bag containing toys and few more things separately. You can check the images below to get an idea.

 

 

Books

1. Picture Books – I bought these super light, small size bright lively books from a local market under 50 Rs each. The eye-catching illustrations help in fun way of learning. I kept-

  • 1 animals book (as he like animals)
  • 1 Vegetables book (as that was new to him)

You can keep any number of books you like as per your child’s liking. These 2 books were enough for us for 9 days and were the first ones to come out of the bag whenever there were no other activities to do, Nemit just loved these books; he now recognizes all the animals and vegetables from the book.

 

 

2. Colouring Book with 2 crayons – This book is quite light too with just 8 pages of simple shapes & objects and came under 50 Rs. I kept 2 different coloured crayons in case one gets broken or lost. Whenever Nemit used to get irritated, we would hand him this colouring book and he would happily scribble away his frustration.

3. Learning Colours Book – Now this one is my favourite, I like the illustrations and bright colours. Each page has a colour and 3 different objects of same colour so it was fun pointing at objects, naming them and linking them to the specific colour. This one I bought for 75 Rs.

 

 

Doodle with Pen & Stamps

Apart from these books I also kept a Doodle, everyone knows one can never go wrong with a doodle and kids can never get bored of using a pen. During the trip Nemit learned to draw a circle on his doodle and calls it a ball, Amazing, right! I got this one for 100 Rs, again from the same local market, there are many varieties available but for travelling I liked this one, quite sturdy and served our purpose too.

 

 

The last and the best thing which I kept in the back pocket was an-

E-Book

This worked best for us at times when everything else failed. It’s a sound book with interesting activities & games and learning content. Use of screen media was on my mind while planning the trip as we can avoid mobiles, tablets and television at home but almost impossible to avoid during the long travels and that too when you have elders accompanying you. Just because we had this book to our rescue our use of digital devices was limited for Nemit.

 

 

This is a 10-page interactive entertainment and learning book, right side of the book has everything from alphabets, numbers, fruits, animals, vehicles and characters to literature, short stories and classic rhymes and is operated with underlying touch buttons. Left side is full of games and activities like matching and counting games, there is a writing pad too. I bought it for 500 Rs and trust me it is my best buy among sound toys till now.

 

 

Now coming to the front pocket, more space means we could take his toys along too, but as we all know kids get easily bored with old toys so I had to find some small and engaging new toys for Nemit.

These 3 toys were a saviour

  • Sliceable Vegetables
  • Building block pipes
  • Building blocks

 

 

I didn’t keep the whole box of these toys, just a few of each in a separate bag and would give one at a time to Nemit, these kept him busy during the times when he was full of energy but has limited space to move around, so he would put all his excess energy and imagination in working with these, building and breaking. All these were new to him as I hadn’t introduced any of these blocks and vegetables earlier so that was also a plus point to keep him interested and engaged for long.

 

 

Apart from these toys, I kept a small bowl and 2 spoons in the same compartment of the bag and gave them to him with some dry snacks to eat on his own, that also kept him engaged for a stretch. Mostly helped at the restaurant when he was clearly not hungry or not interested in eating the regular stuff and we were rushing to finish ours.

These toys and books are what I found apt for my boy as per his age, interests and liking. One thing I can assure all you parents is if the vacations are planned keeping the interests of our kids in mind then we can never go wrong, if our kids are happy we can enjoy even at the wackiest of places.

Few tips to make travelling, a fun family affair

1- Always try to be a part of your child’s play. If you hand over a book to the child, don’t expect him to go through the pages and enjoy on his own. He would appreciate your engagement.

2- Always try to relate items in the book to items in real, that will help him in understanding things better and could relate to real things.

3- For travelling purpose try to carry not too costly but new toys as these will generate more interest and low cost will fall light on your travelling budget.

4- Never leave your toddler unattended with toys as they may take up small parts in mouth like crayons or stamps of doodle or even the small plastic parts, that can result in choking hazard.

5- If possible, book flights and plan road journey around your little ones nap time.

6- Avoid using devices to keep your child busy, that will keep him engaged but will have only negative effects, also you will lose on your bonding time, rather save them for the worst scenarios.

7- If possible ditch your devices for a certain period during the trip while spending time with your child, messages and Facebook updates can wait.

8- Pack lots of snacks for kids, they love to munch on anywhere anytime especially while travelling, do keep check on the salt and sugar content as too much of anything is bad.

9- During long road journeys, take little breaks after every 1-2 hrs, let your kid move around a bit, change in environment helps a lot.

10- Lastly, what I always say, capture all the beautiful moments in your camera to preserve them forever.


Thanks for going through this post; I hope you found it good and helpful. Please do comment to share your views or any tips for improvement, would love to read your experience of travelling with a toddler too.

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32 Comments

  1. Lata September 4, 2017 at 12:05 pm - Reply

    Great ideas for traveling with a toddler! A doodle board is my favorite to carry but I do throw in some small activity toys as well.

    • mm
      Neha Sharma September 9, 2017 at 4:06 pm - Reply

      Thanks for sharing your views Lata 🙂

  2. Jiya B September 4, 2017 at 6:24 pm - Reply

    I loved the tips you shared for travelling with toddlers. I loved it. Honestly I do carry a seperate bag of activities to keep my son engage.

    • mm
      Neha Sharma September 9, 2017 at 4:08 pm - Reply

      Thanks for liking this post 🙂

  3. Zainab September 4, 2017 at 10:33 pm - Reply

    Awesome ideas dear and travelling with family can also give couples much needed us time too! 🙂

    • mm
      Neha Sharma September 9, 2017 at 4:09 pm - Reply

      Oh yes, its rare now that we get our time together but its always good when others pitch in for help 🙂

  4. Kinshoo Agrawal September 4, 2017 at 11:13 pm - Reply

    Ahh good you reminded me of our E-book just before our travel, which is just sitting in the cupboard and i almost forgot about it. One doubt- wasn’t carrying blocks difficult to keep picking up?

    • mm
      Neha Sharma September 5, 2017 at 1:21 pm - Reply

      I didn’t keep the whole bag of blocks, just the 5-6 as shown in pic, 19 month old was happy playing with these 6 blocks. Hence I was care free, even if these got lost we have the whole bag intact back at home 😀 Have a happy vacation!

  5. Udita Saklani September 5, 2017 at 4:03 pm - Reply

    Great ideas!! We always keep colouring book and colours handy with us!

    • mm
      Neha Sharma September 9, 2017 at 4:10 pm - Reply

      You can never go wrong with colours 🙂

  6. Shipra Trivedi September 5, 2017 at 10:01 pm - Reply

    This is such a nice post. I can’t express much in words but I love the way you had simplified the traveling tips.Last year, I also went on vacation with my 1.5-year-old boy and I can very well understand the importance of snacks, handy toys, and books. Also, I really want to know more about E book. Will google it. Thanks for sharing these awesome tips and pics are beautiful.

    • mm
      Neha Sharma September 9, 2017 at 4:11 pm - Reply

      Thanks a lot Shipra for your lovely words, means a lot. Thanks dear 🙂

  7. Deepa September 5, 2017 at 10:05 pm - Reply

    Great ideas to travel with kids. Books and toys are always helpful while travelling with small kids to keep them engaged.

    • mm
      Neha Sharma September 9, 2017 at 4:11 pm - Reply

      Thanks Deepa 🙂

  8. Preetjyot Kaur September 5, 2017 at 11:29 pm - Reply

    These are some great tips for parents who are traveling with kids. The doodle pad and some activity books are our favourites.

    • mm
      Neha Sharma September 9, 2017 at 4:12 pm - Reply

      Thanks Preetjyot 🙂

  9. Minakshi bajpai September 6, 2017 at 12:05 am - Reply

    Great informative article for moms. Travelling with toddlers is a challengeing one. These ideas can be helpful for making our trip easy and great. Thanks for sharing

    • mm
      Neha Sharma September 9, 2017 at 4:13 pm - Reply

      So happy that you find it helpful. Thanks a lot Minakshi 🙂

  10. Charu Gujjal September 6, 2017 at 12:50 am - Reply

    Wonderful ideas.I never carry to forget my kids favourite books and toys while travelling. They dont play with them much but atleast I get a fall back option ready with me.

    • mm
      Neha Sharma September 9, 2017 at 4:14 pm - Reply

      Yes, we should be ready always for any situation 😉 Thanks Charu

  11. Mamma Bear | Nikita September 6, 2017 at 6:46 am - Reply

    Loved your tips! The doodle pen is perfect! I am going to get that for my baby. We took our first trip when she was 9 months old and board books were a saviour. It was a 1 h 10 min flight and she slept through most of it. But I think that these tips are amazing for slightly older children. And the separate toy bag gets a big thumbs up from me! <3

    • mm
      Neha Sharma September 9, 2017 at 4:16 pm - Reply

      Thanks for your views Nikita 🙂

  12. Anjana September 6, 2017 at 6:22 pm - Reply

    Love the ideas! We’ve been travelling since both the kids were about a month old and I am very clear that I carry some of their comfort essentials no matter where we go. My husband just stopped me short of carrying our Play Pen to a holiday 😛

    • mm
      Neha Sharma September 9, 2017 at 4:26 pm - Reply

      Haha…thank God he stopped you but I know how difficult it gets when it comes to packing for kids. Thanks for liking the post 🙂

  13. Srivalli September 6, 2017 at 6:28 pm - Reply

    Nice tips n good suggestions. Where can v get that E book in India?

    • mm
      Neha Sharma September 9, 2017 at 4:27 pm - Reply

      I bought this E-book from a local toy store, i am not sure if its available online. Thanks for finding this post useful 🙂

  14. Babita Jalan September 6, 2017 at 8:21 pm - Reply

    Very descriptive and very well expressed…till now have had 3 trips with my baby who just completed 7 mnths..now I wud remember to keep a separate activity bag for her..thanks!!

    • mm
      Neha Sharma September 9, 2017 at 4:28 pm - Reply

      Happy travelling Babita, thanks for liking the post 🙂

  15. Noopur September 7, 2017 at 8:57 am - Reply

    Hi…nice blog….beautifully written….jst wanted to knw when did u started nemeit using doodle or colouring books…my daughter is abt to be 1yr….shd i introduce them to her??

    • mm
      Neha Sharma September 9, 2017 at 4:33 pm - Reply

      Hi Noopur, we gave Nemit his first doodle pad and coloring book at 14 months, though he was showing interest in using pen a much before that. You can give a pencil or toxin free crayon and a paper to your little girl and see, if she seems interested in scribbling you can introduce these. Thanks for your comment 🙂

  16. Sheeba Vijesh September 20, 2017 at 9:55 am - Reply

    The doodle and e book are new ideas for me… Would love to try that for Vihaan 🙂

    • mm
      Neha Sharma September 24, 2017 at 10:48 pm - Reply

      Vihaan will love the doodle ❤

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