As the holidays draw near, little ones are thinking of one thing—PRESENTS! Sure, the colorful lights, tasty food and fun decorations generate a certain excitement, but the excitement on a child’s face when he or she finally gets to rip the paper off the presents under the tree is priceless. Do you need a gift guide for little wanderers this Christmas? We know some stellar products to consider that will make travel even more exciting for toddlers.
For the little architect
Little ones like to build. Whether it is wooden blocks, LEGO bricks or K’NEX, mental stimulation and creativity flourish when children are crafting something of their own. But these types of toys don’t travel well—the tiny pieces are quick to disappear and the bulky containers take up precious space that may be needed for other things. However, Tegu’s magnetic blocks solve both of these problems: they fit together to take up less space while traveling and the magnets ensure that the pieces don’t get misplaced.
These blocks come in both natural wood tints and bright colors. Some also come with a travel pouch for storage.
For the aspiring photographer
There is something so appealing to kids of all ages about taking photos, especially while traveling. But when your youngster grabs for your expensive camera, you have a mini heart attack—and understandably so. Offset that stress by giving your child the Polaroid Cube, a new still and video camera that is perfect for toddlers. They will be attracted to the brightly colored casings, but the weatherproof Cube is also nearly indestructible. With a price tag of only $99, it won’t break the bank and they can fill it with sights, sounds and special moments from your travels.
For the adventurer
When you have a little adventurer on your hands, you tend to camp, hike and explore the outdoors at every possible chance. Toddlers traipsing around outdoors will love Princeton Tec’s Bot headlamp. The waterproof headlamp comes in various color combinations and features two LED lights so your child can take pride in leading the way through the darkness.
For the reader
Although many toddlers aren’t able to read on their own yet, some still enjoy flipping through books or trying to figure out what it says based on the pictures. Just because you’re on the road doesn’t mean you have to skip literary interactions with your child. Publications International creates a series of cardboard book sets in travel packages that are perfect for long plane or train rides, or late night hotel bedtimes. The carrying cases have magnetic closures so children can open them easily and plastic handles so they can carry them on their own as well. Each book features some kind of toddler-friendly educational story and each set is based on characters from popular media, like the Disney Princesses, Cars, Sesame Street and Mickey Mouse.
For the artist
If you have a mini Picasso on your hands, go for the Fisher-Price Doodle Pro Tag-Along. Instead of paper, crayons (or markers or colored pencils or gel pens…you get the picture) and pencil boxes, this one inexpensive item allows little ones to draw anywhere and everywhere they go. The built-in handle makes it easy for your toddler to transport it and the pen is attached so it won’t be misplaced. Slide the lever to erase the picture and start over to create endless pictures. They also come in a variety of colors.
For little ones who can do it themselves
Toddlers often want to grow up too fast, trying to take on tasks they may not be able to accomplish on their own. Give them a task they CAN take on—let them be in charge of their luggage. These child-sized rolling suitcases from Skip Hop are inexpensive and make wonderful gifts for little ones who love to travel. You can’t go wrong with colorful designs depicting a dog, an owl, a monkey or a ladybug. Whether they use it for long distance trips, short road trips or overnight sleepovers with friends, the easy-to-handle suitcase will become a staple of travel and they will be excited to pack it (and roll it) all on their own.
For the off-season
As much as we’d love to, most of us can’t travel all the time. If your toddler has already been bitten by the travel bug, he or she will be begging to go, but if it’s not feasible, consider educating your youngster about far-off destinations with Madame Alexander’s Travel Friend dolls. The international collection is comprised of 7-inch play dolls that represent girls from countries including India, Kenya, France, Germany, Russia, Italy, Mexico, China and Ireland. Each doll’s outfit depicts clothing worn in her country and comes with an information sheet to teach children about the country’s culture.