If we left our kids in charge of packing their own suitcases, they’d probably be crammed full their favourite toys, with not a single item of clothing to be seen. After packing the essentials, here are some handy holiday games and gadgets that our experts think are well worth finding room for:
Bethany Koby co-founded Tech Will Save Us with her husband, Daniel Hirschmann, after their son was born. Rather than growing up to be a passive consumer of technology, they wanted him to have a healthier relationship with tech. What if kids could build the technology they use, and learn more about technology in the process? Bethany recommends exploring tech to kickstart your summer adventure:
The Gamer Kit empowers kids to build their own console, play retro video games and code their own games. It’s a great project to set kids in the run-up to your holiday, so that they can enjoy the game once you’ve set off. The physical process of building the Gamer is supported and enhanced by our digital platform Club Make. This is a community space for building, making, coding and inventing hosted by Tech Will Save Us. Kids come to the platform to learn how to build their kits and find inspirational projects to inspire their next invention.
Perfect for: keeping kids 10+ entertained during a flight or long car journey.
Tech Will Save Us Mover Kit is a wearable for kids 8+ that reacts to their movement. It’s easy to assemble encouraging kids to get moving immediately! Kids can enjoy simple challenges; it has been pre-programmed to light up red then pink then rainbow to reward the wearer for shaking it as fast as they can, or they can make up their own. Once kids have mastered the basics, they can head over to Club Make and go on to code it in infinite ways for hours of active fun.
Perfect for: lighting up summer discos or beach games.
Fun Learning’s an independent retailer of children’s educational toys and for over 25 years has aimed to inspire and encourage young brains with puzzles, games and play.
Here are some of their favourite products that we think work well for travelling with children:
Keeping very little ones busy while travelling can be tricky, especially when space is limited. SmartMax are chunky, tactile magnetic bars that give a satisfying “click” sound when connected. Plus, the colourful squishy animal parts prove very appealing for small hands to mix and match. Lightweight and easy to pop in a bag, the SmartMax Animals are an ideal companion for travelling with toddlers.
For mess free creative fun, try Playfoam Go! Squish, squash and shape the Playfoam sculpting beads into anything you can think of, then do it all over again! This reusable non-toxic modeling material doesn’t stick to anything but itself and never dries out, making it the perfect craft activity for planes, trains and automobiles.
Help time fly with a compact SmartGames logic puzzle. The IQ Puzzler Pro is an addictive one player non-verbal reasoning game with 120 2D and 3D challenges, all in a neat little case that fits in even the smallest carry-on bag. Children love these puzzles and parents also like having a go themselves!
Keep the whole family busy with this Mensa approved poker-like card game that tests your intuition, risk-taking and memory. The aim in Rat-a-Tat Cat is to get the lowest score by getting rid of the high numbered rat cards and keeping hold of the low numbered cat card, but be careful, you’re relying on your memory as can onlylook at your cards at the start of the game.
Tin Box Traveller is a family travel blog sharing adventures from the UK and across Europe. It’s written by Claire, who is a mum to two girls. This summer their travels include a caravan break in Cornwall and a package holiday to the Italian Lakes.
Here are Claire’s top gadget tips for family travel:
Capturing the memories we make on our travels, whether it’s for the blog or our own family album, is always on my mind. Those 18 or so summers you have with your kids pass far too quickly, so I try not to miss a moment. One piece of tech that I never leave home without is my Anker PowerCore 5000 Portable Charger. This is for keeping my smartphone topped up when we’re on the go as it is the main way I take videos and a lot of my pictures. I’m forever running my battery flat by lunchtime when there’s still hours of fun to be had. My portable charger regularly saves the day.
KeepEmQuiet.com is the one-stop shop for all things family travel. You’ll find the most innovative products to sit alongside travel entertainment packs for kids, so parents can worry and stress less whilst traveling with kids. Here are our top five picks:
This is a lifesaver with little ones, especially on flights where you want them to sleep. It inflates to fill the space on the ground between your seat and that in front of you and allows kids to stretch their legs out, and dare I say it, sleep! Both ours did on the way back from Los Angeles using these. Incredible, especially when flying in economy.
Why is it always the furthest gate away when travelling with kids? Well, these are genius for whizzing around the airports. And, they fit our KeepEmQuiet packs in too. Our son didn’t complain once, even when we got off a 12 hour flight in LA, he was the happiest on his scooter.
When packing is a military operation and space saving’s a must, these compact for 4+ year olds seriously save the day. They’re great for taxis or even back at home.
I swear by the Snooze Shade. I’m certain they’re the reason my little ones sleep so well in buggies. Blocking out the light, these breathable, UV Ray protected buggy covers are an absolute must for holidays.
These lightweight, almost sock like, rubber-gripped soled shoes are perfect to keep little ones safe around the pool. They come in a variety of colours and styles and prevent children from slipping up by the pool. They protect little soles when walking on hot sand and are great for walking on uneven surfaces, such as rocks and pebbled beaches.
Online store KIDLY, stocks genuinely useful and design led products for 0-4s. The aim is to make parenting easier, whether it’s feeding to sleeping, changing or travelling. Here’s three of their faves to help at the airport and throughout your stay.
What kid wants a normal suitcase when they can have one with a scooter? In a fun design, this unique piece of kit has an easy to fold footplate, which locks neatly and securely within the case. Just pull it out and use it with the handlebar when they want to scoot. Made to fit in overhead lockers, it’s great for getting to the gate on time!
This roll of play tape is great for travelling. With track printing, this funky motorway print can be cut to size and stuck anywhere with a hard surface. Think airplane trays after take-off or tiled floors when you reach your holiday accommodation. Just add a car for a light and simple way to play race tracks wherever, whenever.
Travelling with tots? You need a Bagrider in your life. Made by Mountain Buggy, it’s a suitcase that transforms into a travelling seat for toddlers up to 15kg/ 33lbs, while still keeping it’s luggage bit. Just strap in your toddler and whizz around the airport. #smugface.
Whatever holiday gadgets you deem worthy of a place in your suitcase, make sure you’re travelling with them on your dream holiday.