Jun 5, 2020

By Sian Thomas of Teach Investigate Play 

Let’s just say that travelling with kids can be pretty stressful. There are just so many things to consider. Will they be travel sick? How many times will they ask “are we nearly there yet”? Or complain of boredom?

Now I can’t make any promises on the first two scenarios - but as a parent who has travelled around Australia with three children in tow, I can help with boredom busters! Here are the activities and toys I am taking on our upcoming monster flight to the UK. With over 17 hours in the air I needed to pack a variety of items that would stop us all from going crazy!

Small World Play

Small world play is a miniature version of the world around us. For travel, our personal favourites are Schleich figurines or Duplo. Often we theme the collection we take around the type of holiday we’re taking. For example, whales and dolphins for a coastal holiday or zoo animals if we plan to visit the zoo. This is so that the children can make real world connections in their play.

Tiger Tribe Activity Packs

Tiger Tribe activity packs are just brilliant for road trips and flights because they have everything you’ll need for getting creative on holiday. These are really handy as they have all you need for a fun activity and its all bundled together in one neat pack. We tend to combine a magnetic or felt ‘small world’ themed pack with a colouring pack.

Sarah’s Silks

If you have a little one obsessed with dressing up, like I do, then a Sarah’s silk or two is an absolute must! They can be used to make a dress, cape or even mermaid hair. Ours are often turned into small world landscapes and fortes too. An added bonus is the fact that they are so light and don’t take up any room at all.

Doll Dress-up

Our small Miniland doll tends to come with us wherever we go. To keep Zoey occupied on flights, we pack ‘Rosie’ up with a bottle, change of clothes and Sarah’s silk to use as a blanket. There are so many benefits to playing with dolls too, from the social and emotional aspect of caring for others to practising the all-important fine motor skills by dressing and undressing the dolly again.


If you’re aiming to minimise screen-time, a few well-chosen books are an absolute must! It’s best to opt for favourite titles or something related to the theme of your holiday. I’d recommend taking at least two books on flights or holidays just so that you can maintain the enthusiasm for what you’re reading.

And finally, some general things that has worked for us:
- Separate toys into themed bags. We use clear A4 sized, ziplock folders so that it’s easy to see what’s inside;
- Choose open-ended toys that can be used in a variety of different ways;
- Take items that are easier to replace. Losing toys on holiday means that they can often be gone forever so avoid taking any small, precious items along.

Sian is a mum of three children (aged between 6-months and 9 years) and creator of Teach Investigate Play.

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