11 Awesome Travel Gifts For Kids & Tweens

It’s gift-giving season. In our house we think about where we’ll be going and how we’ll be traveling in the next year before we shop for gifts. A laptop travel desk, M Sasek’s clever This Is books, Wiki Stix and a travel-size Zoob Tube have found their way under our tree or into stockings in the past.

Here are our favorite picks for this year. They aren’t just great travel toys, crafting kits and games; they’re great toys, kits and games in general. And we are suggesting gifts for kids of all ages, including your picky tween.

10 Travel Gifts for Kids of All Ages

Tinkering Gifts

great travel gifts include the Extraordinaires design kits1. In a room full of toys and games at Blogger Bash this summer, the Extraordinaires Design Studio blew me away as something absolutely no one else was doing, and especially  not for the tween  market. STEAM has replaced STEM as the hot educational buzzword and these will appeal equally to the young artist and engineer in your life. Choose from a variety of “clients” and parameters in four theme packs to create design challenges of yourself in fashion, building, gadgets or inventions. Then dream up an idea and create it on paper.

Age: 10 and up (I could see my 9YO liking the concept, even if she couldn’t execute the way an older kid would).

great travel gifts include illumicraft kits2. I like IllumiCraft because kids get to make things they will use. For travel, the picture frame, pencil case and journal seem ideal, though tweens wills surely like the MP3-player dock. Your child can make the picture frame and then put a photo of your trip in it. Or she can decorate the journal and then right about how boring much fun the family road trip has been.

Age: 8 to 12ish.

3. The Build & Imagine Draw & Build Dollhouse has flat magnetic building pieces and play figures that you can color in. Then you can build your house and play with it. I think it’s small enough to work on an airplane tray or at a restaurant. My only caution is that its four walls (plus roof pieces) is limiting. For the older age range or a longer trip I’d buy two kits to provide more versatility.

Age: 4 to 8.

great travel gifts include Modarri car kitss4. With Modarri kits kids can build your own car and then have them to play with. There are about a dozen to choose from, all pretty puffed out and sporty. It’s easy to appreciate the value of a toy that gives a child both a project to do en route to your vacation, and a new toy to play with when he arrives.

Age: 8 (maybe 7) and up. Your child needs to be able to manage small screwdriver and keep track of all the parts.

Gaming Gifts

5. Tiny Traveler discovered Coup at camp and asked for it repeatedly. It’s ideal for travel because the deck is small so it’s hard to lose pieces. And each person only gets two cards so games don’t last overly long. It’s ideal for killing time in a restaurant or airport lounge.

Age: 10 and up (though TT was 8 when she discovered it and could play fairly well).

great travel gifts include games like Tak-Tak6. Tak-Tak starts out as Checkers but has levels of added complexity – literally. Players stack their playing pieces as their steal them back and forth from each other based on colors and numbers. The box is pretty compact and if you need it to take up even less room, it’s a game that can travel by ziplock pretty easily. I have yet to beat my 8YO, but I keep trying!

Age: 8 and up.

7. Blue Orange has yet to put out a game we don’t like. This season’s winner is Gigamons, like Memory but harder. You only lay out 9 cards at a time from a bigger deck. Then you replace them as people find matches, creating a constantly changing playing field. It’s not as quite as compact as we like for a plane (though you could do it). But we brought it away this summer and played it both at the vacation house and camping.

Age: 7 and up.

great travel gifts include games like Little Read Riding Hood8. Smart Games has a lot of brain-teaser games and almost all of them are travel size to a greater or lesser extent. Our favorite is Little Red Riding Hood. You use pieces to build a path to grandma’s house with 48 different challenges that increase in difficulty as you go along.

Age: 4 to 7 or 8.

Learning Gifts

9. The Insect Lore Butterfly Garden kit comes with everything you need to hatch butterflies from larva and a coupon to redeem your larva when you’re ready. If I had a beach, lake or mountain home rented for the summer I would time my larva delivery so we could release the butterflies while on vacation. Pretty cool, huh? Or I might use it to add a bit of science and a made-for-photos moment to my summer staycation.
Age: 4 and up. Though I think ages 7 and up will appreciate the science of it all more.

Playing Gifts

10. We like Playmobil for its durability and its vast variety of pieces that all work with one another. Want to have a princess on your farm or a policeman in your fashion boutique? No problem!

The company has a few new Carry Cases out this year including a vet’s office (the only somewhat gender neutral one), a fashion store, police, fire, pirate and princess sets.

Age: 3 to 7 (If you go younger than 3 just beware of small parts).

great travel gifts include tablet cases like the iGuy from SpeckProtecting Gifts

11. If your child or tween is getting an iPad for the holidays this year consider a Speck iGuy case for it. It’s adorable, hard to lose, light and easy for kids to grip and it stands on its own. It also provides military grade protection against scratches, impact and even extreme temperatures. We’ve used Speck’s Glitter phone cases, which look good and perform well for us.

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11 kids for kids and teens for travel or any time.

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