3 Kids’ Crafts You Must Bring on Vacation

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My ideal travel craft materials are versatile, easy to pack and inexpensive. I spend a lot of time actively seeking out good ideas for art projects and products we can take on the road (our Take section is proof of that). But sometimes I just stumble across a great art supplies expectedly. Here are my three favorite recent discoveries. The first two are similar and even interchangeable.

Three Awesome Crafts To Travel With

Craft #1: Pipe Cleaners!

chenille sticks are great travel craftsI think they are now actually called craft chenille stems. But in my youth we just called them pipe cleaners. You can buy them on *Amazon at a rate of $3-$8 for a pack of 100. You can buy all one color but I recommended the assorted ones. The longer ones are better than the shorter ones. *Alex makes a kit with assorted sizes including some puffy ones. There are *kits aimed at helping kids come up with ideas, but I think kids find ways to amuse themselves pretty easily.

On a recent vacation I tossed a pack of these craft stems into my suitcase almost as an after thought. I was happy I did. During that lull between sight-seeing and dinner each night, Tiny Travler sat on the floor of our bedroom braiding. She twisted all 100 stems, then used the braids to make bracelets and necklaces and than passed them out to our hosts, traded them for other people’s bracelets and general kept herself well amused.

One way to give kids more options is to mix the chenille sticks with other materials. In Target I once bought a kit that included crafts stems and wooden beads, a great combination for making jewelry and animals. I also like wooden craft sticks (the ones that are tongue depressor size). They’re also inexpensive and pack easily. And kids can use them with the chenille sticks to make magic wants, butterflies and more.

The best part about these crafts: If you’re really stuck for something to do, you can take apart whatever your kids have made and let them start anew.

Wiki Sticks are handy for travel craftsCraft #2 Wikki Stix!

Lots of parents know about Wkkki Stix; you usually learn about them when a waiter in a kid-friendly restaurant hands you a 5-pack with the kids’ menu.

Wikki Stix are a waxi counterpart to pipe cleaners. They’re bendable but hold their shape, can be reused for a little while before they permanently stick together, and are inexpensive to buy. You can get *2 dozen on Amazon for about $6. But you can also get *50 party packs for about $20. I love the idea of having these small packs to stash in a diaper bag, purse, glove compartment, carry-on bag and so on, to draw on whenever I need quick distraction. Just remember that like crayons, it’s best not to leave them on the seat in a hot car.

Craft #3 Modeling Clay!

small packs of modeling clay are great for travel craftsFor a long time I was a big fan of *Play-Doh minis for travel entertainment. But it always dries out and kids can never open the tubs by themselves (this is bad when you are a solo parent on a road trip).

On a recent trip, I decided to take modeling clay instead. I found *Small 6-packs, which are light and handy for travel. It doesn’t dry out and kids ages 7and up can do a lot with it without molds and accessories. Just bring a Ziplock back to keep it contained after you open it.

Crayola makes great travel craftsMy daughter eventually mixed her clay into one large grey ball (so we didn’t bring it home). But before that she made animals, beads and pretend food. Modeling clay is also the kind of thing that gets adults involved; my husband amused her with pastel elephants and kangaroos.

For a very long flght I would consider this *kit from Crayola (transferred from bulky box to Ziplock of course), but in general I think the small boxes are better for traveling.

I'm always on the hunt for good arts and crafts supplies that travel well and can go on vacation with us.  Here are three craft materials we don't leave home without lately and ideas for what to do with them.

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