The Best Travel Toys and Games for 2014
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The annual Toy Fair in New York City is probably the biggest collection of toys and games to assemble under one roof. We love to go and prowl the rows of stalls stacked with products for babies, kids and tweens—some innovative, some clever and some of questionable judgment—to find the best travel toys and games for the coming year.
Here are the best travel toys and games we discovered this year. Hope these ideas help you out on your next big trip.
Games on the Go
• Try these two variations on Go Fish: Twisted Fish ($10; 10+) from McNeil Designs adds “zinger” cards to the deck that help you get more matches or trip up the other players. We took the zingers out to make the game simpler for 6-year-old Tiny Traveler and she and a friend got a big kick out of the silly fish cards on a recent vacation. In Wuzzits ($13, 6+) from Blue Orange players have to create monsters by matching up head and body cards.
• Also from Blue Orange, Niya (above) is a card-based strategy game set in Imperial Japan. We didn’t get to try it, but it looks interesting and very portable. ($13; 8+)
Building and Sand Play
• Tegu’s blocks aren’t inexpensive, but the magnets inside these wooden pieces make them very travel friendly. The 22-piece Endeavor set ($60; 2+) paired with travel case ($22) is ideal for visiting grandma, but we would even bring it on an airplane for a block-living kid.
• Toddlers will love colorful taking apart these Kid O stack and nest cups and reassembling the. But for any kids who like to play in the side these can be versatile, easy-to-pack castle-building tools. ($12, 1+).
• The very clever Quut Cuppi is two scoops, one with a sieve and an open tip for dribbling water. Build, write in the sand or design tracks for the ball that’s also included. It’s surprisingly versatile and highly packable. ($12; 4+)
• Crafty music lovers will love decorating these Alex Bling headphones and then listening to their favorite pop songs on them. ($31, 7+)
• Tweens and Teens can record your next vacation from a first-person view with Oregon Scientific’s ATC Gecko HD wearable action camera. A waterproof case (sold separately) lets them take it anywhere. ($60, 8+)
• Once you’ve invested in a phone or mp3 player for your kids you want to protect it. Digipals’ zippered phone cases come in cuddly animal shapes and have a secure pocket for ear buds. ($18, 6+)
• Glitter and travel don’t typically go together. But Melissa & Doug’s Mess-Free Glitter stickers (available toward summer) can go anywhere to neatly entertain kids on planes and trains, in cars or restaurants. The video shows how they work. ($4-$13, 5+)
• Two takes on sticker play: Reusable Sticker Totes from Peaceable Kingdom are a classic go-to toy for travel. Ne packs include New York City and ninja themes. ($8•$10; 3+). My daughter opened up the Melissa & Doug’ reusable Puffy Stickers Play Set and played with it for easily four hours. If only we’d been on a plane at the time! Choose from fairy, pirate, chipmunk house and dress-up themes ($5; 4+).
• I remember making Cootie Catchers from scratch when I was a kid; their prognostic abilities keeping us engaged for hours. The ready•to•fold forms and stickers in this kit from Peaceable Kingdom give kids something to put together and then entertain themselves with in a cramped backseat or airplane. ($3; 7+)
• It’s hard to find craft kits that travel for older kids and tweens. So we look forward to this spring’s launch of Alex’s Ultimate friendship bracelet Party ($33; 8+), which has everything you need for 30 bracelets and doesn’t need scissors. An alternative is Creativity for Kids’ Lots of Knots, a more versatile but also more challenging kit. (It includes scissors the TSA might or might not like.) ($20; 8+)
• Alex also has three new knitting & crochet kits that just might get your kids to put down their electronics. Hip to Be Square Crochet, Fuzzy Wuzzy Knitting, and Knit & Wear include everything you need to make hats, scarves and bags on the go. (And the TSA says knitting needles are OK in your carry-on.) (9+, $27)