Active toddlers can make for some of the most engaging travel companions—their always-curious minds eager to learn new things and explore new places. This holiday season, fuel your little globetrotter’s imagination with gifts that will inspire and entertain. The toddler in your life is sure to share your love for travel after testing out these travel-themed gifts from our holiday gift guide that will keep them entertained on and off the road.
For the gamer
Let’s be honest, on an 8-hour car ride, plane ride or train ride you—and the other passengers—are most likely not interested in listening to a fourth episode of Dora the Explorer or the snickering of those little green piggies that the Angry Birds just can’t seem to defeat. If that’s the case, be prepared for your next trip and deck out your child’s electronic device with some cool headgear. Lots of companies make headphones with large earpieces and kid-sized headbands that will easily fit comfortably on a small child’s head. Take it one step further and get them a set with their favorite character or animal featured on it like the Listening First Stereo Headphones by Caliphone, which feature three different animal designs.
For the future globetrotter
If you and your toddler have practiced the names of the countries you’ve visited for months and discussions about food from different countries are staples at your dinner table chats, then the VTech Spin & Learn Adventure Globe will quickly become a favorite in your toddler’s toy chest. With 30 interactive buttons and five settings, this kid-friendly globe is the perfect gift for a traveling toddler (not to mention a great educational tool).
For the adventure seeker
Whether you are a family of campers or the resort-going type, you will find that a flashlight can be a useful form of entertainment both outdoors and in. Go on a treasure hunt to see what goodies are under the bed, in drawers, in the shower or in the back of the mini-fridge. After a long day of travel or playing out in the sun, turn off the lights, flip on the flashlight and practice your shadow puppets to calm the kiddos down and get them in a sleepy mindset. Flashlights come in all shapes and sizes; check out Melissa and Doug for some wacky and fun designs or go eco-friendly with squeeze-powered lights in animal designs by International Playthings. Or go old school with a crank powered model. The extra effort to power the flashlight is a fun way to entertain (read: tire out) kids who love hands on activities.
For the independent type
Luggage may seem like a lame gift for a child, you know, like the cutesy toe socks that your great aunt just couldn’t help but get for you. However, having his or her own luggage gives a child a sense of responsibility while traveling, and it is a great way for them to showcase their unique personality. A child sized backpack is perfect for a toddler—easy to keep track of and hands free so they can still hold hands with mommy and daddy while walking from point A to point B. Cute designs like ladybugs or superheroes are not only exciting for tiny travelers but also makes them easy to spot in a crowd. Having their own bag also gives toddlers easy access (read: less “Mommy/Daddy can I have____”) to any books, toys or games that have made the trip.
For the reader
Of course, travel-inspired children’s books are always a crowd pleaser, but for a unique spin on the combination of travel and education for toddlers, consider a subscription to National Geographic Little Kids magazine. Your toddler will love checking the mailbox to discover their magazine has arrived (just like Mommy and Daddy’s subscriptions). A six-issue subscription provides colorful photos, stories and games that are geared toward teaching small children about animals and cultures around the world.
For the curious ones
Do you have a wonderful nature trip planned? Perhaps somewhere in the mountains where birds soar overhead or on the coast where you may be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a porpoise? Would your child like to see spots on the leopard at your local zoo up close? Do you have colorful flowers near your house that are just the perfect shade of purple? Binoculars appeal to a child’s sense of adventure and can be used on pretty much every trip that you take—even if it is literally in your backyard. Get a fancy pair or one that is just seriously fun and give your little wanderer the ability to explore their world a little more closely.
For the backseat driver
If your family travels are marked by constant interrogation as to how much farther or whether you are there yet, then a map is the perfect gift for your toddler. Yes, a map. Not just any map, however—a HUGE map. For international travelers, a giant map of the world is the ultimate gift, or if your travels tend to be more domestic choose a map of the U.S. Not only will a map be useful for geography lessons, but children of all ages love to mull over the distances from home to grandma’s house and mark the places that they’ve been to. Special stickers are the perfect accompaniment to this gift, and really, who doesn’t like stickers? Get a felt map, cardboard or a paper one. We love the FOA Schwarz Big World Map, but with so many options out there, you won’t have any trouble finding one that is in your budget.
For more information visit:
Listening first stereo headphones by Caliphone
VTech Spin & Learn Adventure Globe
Melissa and Doug flashlights
International Playthings flashlights
National Geographic Little Kids magazine
FAO Schwarz Big World Map
Meghan Miranda has worked with a number of travel and lifestyle publications including Little PINK Book and Four Seasons Magazine. She is also the World Events Editor at Pure Wander. Learn more about her losing battle with the travel bug by connecting with her on Twitter @Meghan_says