Toys, Games & Crafts In Travel-Ready Tubes
I’m always thinking about my next vacation. And I’m always on the lookout for new toys and games to bring with us in the car or on planes.
The International Toy Fair has always provided great inspiration. On one walk through I noticed that quite a few toy and game makers are eschewing bulky boxes in favor of slim, easy-to-pack tube=shaped cases. I love it.
Here are the coolest, cleverest or most fun travel toys, games and crafts that I found in made-for-travel tubes. There are options for preschoolers, kids and tweens.
Look for them in stores and on Amazon. They’re all under $25 and most are in the $10-$15 range.
12 Travel Games, Toys & Craft Kits Your Kids Will Love
Building Toys For Backpacks
Kids use nubby, interconnecting Zoob pieces to build toys and figures they can then play with. They come in basic, neon, translucent or glow-in-the-dark colors.
They struck me as harder to lose than other building pieces. We’ve had these in the back of our car for a few years now and Tween Traveler still plays with them. Age: 7+
Dado interconnecting squares from Fat Brain, are great for compact spaces like airplanes and restaurants. A pack of 35 squares stack into such a compact cube it’s hard to resist tossing them in your child’s backpack for a long trip or overnight bag for a sleepover.
Pack a few small play figures or cars with the blocks. The squares could easily be built into a “house,” “hotel,” or “garage” for pretend play. Age: 3 to 8; $23
Fat Brain also has its Squigz that are similar to Zoob but connect by suction cup. This means you can start with a secure base on a airplane tray, high chair or restaurant table. The 24-piece starter tube is just the right size for your child’s carry-on.
Portable Craft Kits
If you’re flying, beware the knitting needles in the scarf kit.Otherwise, these are a handy option for kids who are outgrowing other craft kits. Age: 7 to 13
Not very good at coming up with craft ideas to bring on vacation? No worries; neither am I. Creativity for Kids has scaled down its Creativity Cans to make them portable. These craft kits have themes like Build, Stories and Motion. And everything you need is right inside.
These struck me as an excellent Plan B to pull out of your suitcase if you have a rainy day at the beach or lake house.
They’re also handy for that hour or two after you return from your day and before dinner is ready. You know, that hour you need to yourself to have a glass of wine and unwind without the kids pestering you? These kits will give to you! Age: 4+
Take Your Drawing Anywhere
I loved the colored markers and Britto crayons (top), in colorful tubes from P’Kolino (top). They triangular crayons are easy to hold and break less easily. Age: 3+ for the crayons; 7+ for the markers.
And who can resist a tubular crocodile Mess Eater colored pencils and pad that you can tuck into a bag or attach to the outside? I love colored pencils best for travel. They don’t run dry, leak, snap in half or melt in the car. Just remind your young traveler to carry a sharpener. Any age.
The Create & Doodle Travel Set from The Piggy Story puts a handful of markers and a roll of paper in a soft tube that zips.
It’s easy to refill when you run out of paper or the markers run dry (I’d refill with colored pencils instead of markers). And it’s easy to pop it into a diaper bag, tote or purse. Age: 5+
Chunky Rainbow pencils, and 100 pastel crayons from Alex Toys are in tubes that are slightly chunky—more for a kids’ backpack than your purse. But the variety of colors they include will keep kids happy on even the longest trip.
Also very handy to store at grandma’s or at a weekend house. Age: 6+
Travel Games For Kids
Australian Company The Purple Cow has put its Memo memory games in assorted themes – dinosaurs, animals, faces and robots – in slim packable tubes.
You do need space to play, though. So keep them handy for rainy days and evening game time rather than the car or plane. Age: 5+
Technically, Ring It from Blue Orange comes in a can, but it’s round, compact and pretty much made for travel, though I wouldn’t play it on a plane.
Imagine the classic card game Slap Jack at a faster pace and with a bell. Ideal for picnics, camping, and maybe a noisy brewpub or beer garden. Age: 8+
Sand Toys That Fit In Your Suitcase
This bright-colored water tower set from Kid O is compact enough to fit in a purse or diaper bag.
The pieces, which include a sieve, water wheel and funnel, will keep little ones well occupied at the beach, by the pool and even in the bathtub. Age: 1 to 4 years
Melissa & Doug makes these Seaside Sidekicks nesting pails. The stack for easy packing and each one has a different molded shape on the bottom.
Age: 2+, though a 1YO will have fun stacking and unstacking them and putting things into them and taking them back out. They might even be a good airplane toy for that age!