How to keep children entertained when on the go this summer holiday
Article Updated: August 2022
As the summer holidays are here, you may have planned a getaway for the family to enjoy and spend time together. This may not necessarily mean a plane trip abroad, many families this year may be going somewhere in the UK, visiting grandparents, going on day trips or even having a staycation and pitching up a tent in the back garden!
Whether it’s a long car, train or plane journey, it is easy for little ones to get bored when you’re on the go. So, it’s always a good idea to consider packing an ‘on-the-go play kit’ to keep children occupied and happy while travelling. This may keep boredom (and tantrums!) at bay.
The contents of your play kit will come in handy at the end of your journey too, especially in the UK, where summer often doesn’t equal sunshine. There may be rainy days that board games, puzzles and activity books are perfect for.
How should I choose which toys to bring?
When thinking of how best to prepare for keeping your children entertained on journeys and holidays, and what toys to include in your on the go play kit, it’s best to consider the following:
- Make sure to include a variety of different types of play activities – on a long journey, children will get tired so engaging and educational activities (such as puzzles) work best early on and something hands-free and soothing (such as music or audiobooks) is best for later.
- Think about compact games and puzzles. While the aim is to bring some toys from home to make the journey and holiday playful, you don’t want to be bringing the kitchen sink!
- Change up the activities as time goes by – for example, each hour or half hour (depending on your child’s age and attention span), you can give them the choice to continue what they are doing or choose something new to do. Giving them this choice can avoid arguments and frustrations because it alleviates boredom and also gives them some autonomy over their own entertainment.
- Mess-free activities mean you don’t have to worry about too many accidents or spillages in the backseat of the car, or on public transport.
- If you are travelling with more than one child, make sure to bring different activities for both, as they may want to play separately, as well as something simple for them to play together. Children may tend to annoy each other when tired and grumpy on journeys, so the last thing you want is a game that will cause arguments!
- Make up some of your own games by making the most of your surroundings – For example, you can make a simple Road Trip Bingo (cross off when you see a cow, a sheep, a bridge, a yellow car and so on). You can also play verbal games that encourage observation and language skills such as I-Spy and 20 Questions – the whole family can take part, making it a social activity too!
Here are our selection of Good Toys and products that will make a great addition to your play survival kit:
GEOMAG SUPERCOLOR PANELS – 100% RECYCLED PLASTIC
Price: £22.50 – £45.00
With their travel-sized practical storage boxes to keep the rods and spheres in neatly, the Geomag Classic 100% Recycled line is dedicated to anyone who wants to play with an explosion of colours and delights even the most demanding of creative spirits. Children can discover creative ways to explore magnetism as they experiment with sticking the magnetic balls, shapes and sticks together.
It is a great way to support and encourage little ones’ creative and logical-thinking skills while keeping them entertained on a long journey. The pieces can be packed away in their portable storage box, so no pieces will be lost when on the go!
Yoto Mini is a small and lightweight audio player perfect for taking on your travels! Yoto is an interactive audio platform for kids. Yoto make carefully connected audio players that kids control without using a screen, and a catalogue of audio that inspires creative play and learning. Yoto Player and Yoto Mini are carefully connected speakers that put kids in control of their listening, learning and play. No microphones. No cameras. No ads.
Price: £12.99 – £22.49
Get the whole family involved this summer, with the MayaFlya versatile flying disc!
These small and compact activity tins make a great addition to your on-the-go play kit as the activity cards fit neatly inside. They are ideal for journeys and trips out as they provide creative observational activities, simple maths problems and conversation starters. There are three different tins of cards, colour coded by age group which makes them ideal for the whole family to use together.
GALT Travel Activity Case
This set contains four books of educational travel activities that will keep children occupied on journeys as well as in downtime or on a rainy day. The fun, mess-free activities include puzzles, word search, dot to dot, stickers and colouring which get the brain whirring too as children indulge their language skills, dexterity and creativity.
Quirk! is a card game that is fantastic for the family to play together while on holiday. The aim of the game is to act out weird and wonderful characters for the other players, with a variety of levels for both younger and older players. Playing games like this that encourage everyone to get a bit silly is a great way to bond and communicate together.
Assembling your ‘on the go’ play kit
To assemble your ‘on the go play kit’, a good idea is to have a designated bag or box that fits all of the items in and encourage your child to get involved in packing and being in charge of. This gives them a sense of independence in choosing what they want to take on the journey which is great for developing their confidence and responsibility.
Products like the CarGoSeat are also ideal for storing toys and activities and as it doubles up as a suitcase, it gives children the responsibility to wheel along their own things. The portable car seat is perfect for use in hire cars and coaches, as well as in your own car.
Journeys and holidays mark a change in your children’s routine, and it is easy for little ones to get bored when you’re on the go or facing rainy days on holidays! Packing an on the go play kit is a great way to make sure your children remain happy and relaxed while travelling.
Use some of our tips to help you select the ideal combination of toys to keep your children engaged. Variety is key, so ensure you include activities that are more engaging and hands-on and activities that are more soothing and hands-free and change them up regularly to keep boredom at bay.