A mother in class a couple of weeks ago innocently asked if I had written a post about activities for traveling with kids. I had not. And my sister and her family (including a climbing 1-year old and a chatterbox 3-year old) are about to embark on a 24-hour journey from Sydney to Amsterdam. So I decided now was a good time to put together my favourite Montessori activities for traveling kids.
I also asked the parents on our Facebook page for their ideas – a lot have made it into this post but you can see all their great suggestions here.
So here they are. The ultimate list of Montessori activities for traveling with kids…
Montessori inspired activities
You are never going to keep a toddler or young child quiet for long. But these activities might engage them for a few minutes between eating snacks, walking around the plane, checking the map, and listening to audio books.
- Soft books with opening and closing, threading and velcro are great for busy hands
- A coin box with a selection of coins can keep a 16-month old focused trying to master the key and the posting
- Bring a selection of Schleich animals – nice and sturdy for long trips
- Fuzzy felt sets or a DIY version are light and entertaining. Limit the number of pieces you bring or you may find yourself picking up a lot of pieces!
- Options for doodling – magnetic doodle board or aquadoodle or a stamping kit
- Magnetic sets like this or this are also great for confined spaces
Never leave home without some basic crafting supplies – here are some cute supplies to get you started. Note: no scissors in hand luggage on planes (I might have just done that quite a few times already).
- 3-pack notebooks from Hema
- home made playdough
- customisable travel journals from notonthehighstreet.com
- my favourite Stabilo 3-in-1 woody pencils
One activity you probably hadn’t overlooked. Not only can you find cute animals and travel stickers, here are some other sticky ideas:
- Washi tape (patterned Japanese paper tape) – this tape is removeable so it would be perfect to make impromptu roads for vehicles, for tic-tac-toe, for tearing into pieces, and sticking on your favourite parent
- Bandaids – useful if you cut yourself, but also fun for playing doctors, or applying to your teddy
- Pocket passport – you could make your own or buy a pretend passport for your child to place stamps in and stickers. Love this.
Here are some suggestions for books to take on your trip. There are also some of my favourite books for Montessori children here if you are looking for more inspiration.
Best bags for traveling toddlers
- A Trunki – if your child gets tired, they can jump on and you can pull
- There are such cute backpacks around – Fjallraven bags are more expensive but tough and durable for trips. Similarly, I like this one and this one too
- And why not pack a lunch box with compartments like a bento box, or an insulated bag for keeping things fresh
For older children:
- Involve them in preparing for the trip, for example, planning out the route on a map and making a plan for things to do
- Play games like I-spy, alphabet games and rhyming games
- Play tic-tac-toe, hangman
- Bring a pack of cards and play snap or solitaire
- Spread out the activities you have. You can even wrap them up to add another layer of excitement and open a new package each hour.
- One mum suggests Valium (I’m pretty sure she meant for her :))
- Another suggests making friends with your neighbours on the plane – perhaps they can take over half way.
- Definitely lower your expectations. And take a change of clothes for everyone.
- If none of these ideas are working, you can always resort to some ipad games and ebooks. And otherwise try unlimited tv time – after all, the idea here is just survival, and normal rules will be back tomorrow.