My sweet Vi is smart, adorable, sassy, and hilarious. “Patient traveler,” however, is not one of her many strengths. Choose a genius color scheme for an ocean scene? She’s on it. Sit with hands folded for four hours while buckled into a carseat? Nope.
With summer steadily creeping in on us, I know we will be in for lots of travel days. I put together a great travel kit for her last year, so I thought I would get a jump on it and make it even better for my slightly-more-sophisticated toddler. She is almost two, but this kit will probably work for littles across the whole toddler spectrum. These are just some ideas; keep your own kid’s favorites in mind and incorporate them wherever you can!
The Fold-Up Travel Cosmetics Case- This worked like a charm last year, so I am sticking with it. I got this one at Target, but you can find them in lots of different stores. I love that this one has lots of pockets in different sizes and some are clear. It folds up and shuts with Velcro, so I basically kept it with me on our entire trip just in case Vi needed some distraction. I fit everything in here!
The Toddler Travel Kit
- New Small Books- Vi still loves books, so these are a must.
- Cars- These are small and allow for lots of imaginative fun. Chair arm? Now it’s a ramp. Mommy’s arm? Nope; now it’s a ramp.
- Window Clings- They fit into toddlers’ love for stickers, but are reusable and sturdier. Perfect for car and plane trips since they will stick to the windows.
- I Spy Bag- Get a zippered pencil case and fill it up with little odds and ends that will catch your kiddo’s eye. I tried to choose things she knows and loves (plastic flowers, stars, hearts) along with some new things (lots of letters). Then fill it up with rice until your treasures are covered enough (the more rice, the harder it will be to find everything). This is a super important step: sew a few lines across the end that opens between the rice and the zipper so that none of the rice falls out even if it is open. Now you can ask your kid to find specific things like colors or letters.
- Pad of paper and Crayons- What can I say? Kids like to color, so make sure you have the stuff ready.
- Pipe cleaners- Vi had never even seen these before our trip, so she was enthralled. She made glasses, bracelets, and a crown; she was thrilled. When we were at our family’s house where we were staying, I stole some dried pasta and let her thread them onto the pipe cleaners, which was also a hit. There is lots of versatility with these.
- Small Photo Book- Put some photos in a little album (preferably of the people you are traveling to see) and this will provide lots of entertainment and serve to prepare your toddler for new faces.
- Anything with Zippers or Clasps- Vi likes anything she can fill and empty over and over again.
- Hide the kit from your kid before you leave. The power of novelty is strong with toddlers, so if it is new or something they haven’t seen in a while, it will hold their attention a lot longer.
- Try to make the kit something your toddler can play with by herself. If your child still puts stuff in her mouth, don’t include anything that could be a choking hazard or put them in a separate bag that you hang on to. Traveling includes lots of time where you might be distracted, so think about how safe the kit would be if you weren’t always on watch (or if your not-so-trustworthy cousin somehow gets kid patrol).
This toddler travel kit was pretty easy to put together, works like a charm, and I really loved being able to throw the whole thing in my bag on our adventures while we were out of town (no toy explosions!). What do you make sure to bring along with you when you are traveling with a toddler?