Whether you’re traveling somewhere for a few nights or a few weeks, the best approach I’ve found for what toys to bring is to mix n’ match. When you pack toys that can be used both on their own and in different combinations to inspire various kinds of play, you’re multiplying the play mileage and reducing how much you have to fit in your suitcase. Win-win! 😎
Here’s what I packed for a recent two-night hotel trip:
- Magnet Blocks
- Small Animals
We got a loooottt of play out of just these few toys. The kids played with the magnet blocks like normal on the floor, and then I showed them they could stick them on the hotel fridge, too. (Another way to play, yay!) The animals were played with on their own (these are great to take along to restaurants for waiting-for-the-food play) and in houses we made with the magnet blocks. One evening the kids built magnet block garages for the cars, and then made a ramp with the hotel ironing board and raced the cars. This led to building a barricade with the magnet blocks at the end of the ironing board for the cars to crash into (and a complicated scoring system managed by my six-year-old).
For a month-long trip to stay with family abroad, I took those same toys, but also added in play dough and play dough accessories from our summer Knowledge Crates. We had other toys and activities on hand as well, but I swear the kids almost exclusively chose the mix n’ match toys! In addition to playing with the playdough and accessories on their own, the kids made play dough islands and pools for their unicorns (the small animals I packed), used the acrylic seashells from our Knowledge Crates as magic jewels for the unicorns, and developed an ongoing game involving a war between the unicorns and the cars. It’s truly amazing to see what their little minds come up with when you provide just a few open-ended toys!
Depending on the ages and interests of your kids, of course your selection of mix n’ match toys may be different than mine, but use these examples as a jumping-off point and see what works for your family.
Cheers to light suitcases and hours of entertained children! 🥳
~ Elizabeth Guerrero @schoolofchildhood