9 Travel-Friendly Toys For Holiday Gifts
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Travel is never far from my mind. Even when it comes to birthday and holiday presents I’m always on the hunt for gifts that will make our next flight or drive a little easier.
Making the rounds at some recent toy fairs I had one eye on the upcoming holiday season and the other on items that will go wherever you might in 2016, whether that be grandma’s house, your favorite beach or a vacation home in Italy. Here were my best finds.
Playmobil and Lego have both realized that kids like traveling with their tiny toys—and parents hate trying to not lose them. And they’ve come up with their own carrying cases. Playmobil has 12 to Take-Along cases in sports, fantasy and adventure themes for boys and girls. Lego has two Junior Suitcases, with relatively gender-neutral supermarket and fire fighter themes.
VTech has upgraded it’s Kidizoom Smartwatch and increased its memory. The watch takes photos and videos, plays video games and leads your child in “action challenges” that will get ya-yas out at rest stops and in airports. It also tells time.
LeapFrog has come out with its own Android tablet for kids, the Epic. Think of it as a middle step between its products that only play LeapFrog games and your tablet with its wide open Web at your child’s disposal. Download the company’s apps and other apps as well. If more than one child is using it, you can set up profiles for each and tailor the table to each one’s age.
Real Toys With Apps
I was astounded at how many new toys and games require access to a phone or tablet (and many more that don’t require it offer options for using them). The toy industry clearly overestimates my willingness to hand my gadgets over to my child.
But there were two toys I found pretty clever. Tiggly sells plastic letters and shapes that interact with its educational table apps. The apps actually seemed engaging to me for the preschool-to-kindergarten set. And the letters are easy to trow into your purse in a Ziplock. It’s an option for adding tactile play to an app that will keep your kids busy and quiet away from home.
Kids use Zing Stikbot figures with a app and iphone camera to create stop-motion animation. The figures are small, easy to carry and could be manipulated on an airplane tray table. If you rely on electronics on planes this is an option that’s tactile and genuinely interactive and creative. I would actually hand over my phone for this.
Travel Sleep Solutions
I really like the Dream Frenz line I spotted. They’re pretty gender neutral and can be a stuffed cuddly toy, a pillow or a character to play with. They are a little big for a backpack (a smaller travel version would be welcome), but they are easy to toss in the back of a car for a road trip or to pack in a carry-on or suitcase.
Travel Transit Solutions
Seeing both Razor and Micro at recent shows reminded me to suggest that you put a scooter under the tree if you’re planning any big city trips in 2016. They fold or come apart, respectively, to fit in your suitcase. They aren’t light. But kids will scoot miles further than they will walk with nary a complaint. These cool rides will let you see way more of a city and rely on cabs and public transit far less than you would without them.