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10 Travel Activities for Children Aged 3-5 Years

It’s the time of year again when people start dreaming of a holiday. Traveling with kids can be fun, but some elements can be very stressful and tiring. It’s during these times, that I like to whip out a bag of activities for my children to work on. Here’s some tried and tested ones that have worked for us when we have been caravaning on rainy days, flying long haul or simply waiting a long time for our food to get served in a restaurant!

I’ve chosen 10 to focus on. My general rules of thumb when it comes to travel activities are:

  • They can’t be expensive (after all, I’ve probably paid a small fortune for the holiday already)
  • They have to be small and light (and easy to travel with)
  • Ideally, they aren’t 10-minute activities that can’t be re-used/re-done. I want to have activities that can come out and be used every time my kids are getting antsy.
  • These are sit down, quiet activities that won’t annoy other passengers/ fellow restauranteurs!

In today’s blog, I’m focusing on the 3-5-year-olds. Next week, I plan on writing a similar blog focusing on 6-8-year-olds and the following week on 9-12-year-olds. So hopefully, by the time May is over, you’ll have a few ideas of what to pack to keep your child busy while away!

  1. On the Go – Magic Velvet Animals – €7

Melissa and Doug - Magic Velvet Animals

Melissa and Doug do some really lovely travel books called ‘On the Go’. This one here has 6 pages that need to be coloured but it’s easier for small children as there are velvet outlines, so they can colour within the lines. It’s a great activity to bring, as it comes with 6 markers. Once the pages are completed, you still have markers to draw and colour with.

2.  On the Go – Water Wow – €6.99

travel activities for 3-5 year olds

These are brilliant for young children as it’s water play, but it’s not messy. Fill the paintbrush with water and then paint each of the pages in the book to reveal colour and items your child has to find. Within minutes, the pages have returned to their black and white form and they are ready to be painted again (and again and again and again!). I stock these in different themes – Animals, Pet Mazes (for slightly older children who have more pen control), Fairytales, Under the Sea, Vehicles, and Manicures and Make Up.

3. Lacing Pictures – €10

First Lacing Pictures from Galt Toys

These come in a large enough box but you can take them out of the box and then they take up less room and they are light.

4.  Paper Masks – €2.99

Travel activities for pre-school children

These are great as in each box you get 6 masks and a packet of markers (which can then be used for other colouring activities when away). I used to bring just one mask per child when we were eating out. That way, they didn’t rush through the activity in order to move onto the next mask and it meant that this activity could be used on several nights. I stock these in boxes of Princess Masks and Dinosaur Masks.

5. Mosaics – €9.99

Travel activities for pre-school children

These mosaics from Djeco are great as the stickers are raised foam so little hands can manage them. Each box contains 2 board pictures to complete and each picture (depending on your child’s ability and concentration) will take about an hour to complete. I stock the Elephant and Snail box and the Dinosaurs box.

6. Create Animals/Faces with Stickers – €7.99

This is another sticker activity where your child has to decorate an animal or blank face with stickers. Each pack comes with 16 boards to complete and hundreds of stickers.

7.  Magic Pictures – €3.50

Magic Picture Pad - Farm

Travel activities for pre-school children

These little books will probably bring you back to your own childhood. Each book contains 24 blank pages. However, when your child rubs over the pages with a coin, an outline picture appears. These can then be coloured using your markers from the Mask sets or the Magic Velvet sets! I stock these in Farm and Animals.

8. First Sticker Pictures – €10

galt toys First Sticker Pictures reusable

Again, the box for this is quite large but you could take the contents out and bring on their own if you are tight for space. What I love about these sticker sets is that they are re-usable. Each box contains 6 background boards and approx 100 re-usable stickers.

9. Connecta Straws – €8.49

Travel activities for pre-school children

This pack of plastic straws and connectors will have your child creating fun 3D shapes while you sit back and relax!

10. A children’s magazine or book

We have a tradition in our family that once we get to the airport and through customs, our children can choose one magazine each for their holidays. This not only puts in waiting time at the airport but they get something we can read to them while away and the magazines they choose usually come with some plastic toys which they can play with.

I hope you have found this blog helpful. I have erred on the younger side of 3-5-year-olds (more like pre-school aged children), so if you think that these toys are too ‘young’ for your child, wait a week and I’ll have ten more toys to recommend for 6-8 year old, which might suit your child/ren.

I hope you have a lovely family holiday, wherever you go and whatever you bring!

xx Suzie


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