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Travel Friendly Kids Games

Author: Naomi Liddell

We likely won’t be jetting off anywhere this summer. But Ethan has finished nursery and I’ve been on the hunt for games we can play on a picnic blanket in the back garden that are entertaining for the little man, but doesn’t involve me having to waddle my heavily pregnant backside around playing hide and seek, chasies and the like. The following is made up of some existing favourites and some that have found their way into my Amazon basket, I figured that this roundup of games would be perfect for anyone travelling with kiddos over the summer break.

I’m also secretly hoping that our growing collection will help keep my four year old occupied during the copious amounts of imminent breastfeeding of the new bub. Wish me luck!

A firm favourite in our house are the beautifully Illustrated card sets, Magma for Laurence King. Ethan loves playing Match a Track, illustrated by Marcel George, which encourages you to match the track with the animal (it’s actually quite challenging for me too!). Dog-loving families would love the equally beautifully illustrated (by Polly Horner) Dog Bingo. I’m thinking of expanding our collection with Bug Bingo and Ocean Bingo too. They are just too gorgeous not too.

Taking advantage of this stunning spat of summer weather, outdoor card games are great for getting little ones to open their eyes to the world around them. I’ve added Go Find It and Mindfulness Scavenger Hunt to my online basket. I’ll be doing quite a bit of walking by the canal over maternity leave and these portable little card sets seem perfect for engaging my four-year-old tag along. The cards encourage your kiddo to pay attention and look for textures, colours, shapes in nature and one of my favourites “Find something you enjoy looking at.” So sweet.

When Ethan was a toddler, I invested in a My Quiet Book for him. I paid a whole lot more for essentially the same thing from a handmade vendor in Australia, but luckily you lot can grab this Amazon bargain. It was a worthwhile investment for us because even at this stage and age, Ethan still gets great joy out of it. He’s now mastered most of the fine motor skill tasks, except tying the lace. But it’s a great travel activity because it’s light, easy to pack/carry and fosters concentration and problem-solving. It’s also the kind of thing that could be passed on to other littlies in the family.

I’m a massive fan of the compact board games by Orchard Toys. I was also delighted to see my local Lidl selling some of them recently! Ethan currently owns and loves Tell The Time and The Rocket Game. But the array of games they have for all ages is fantastic.
I’ll definitely be buying more.

If you’re in the market for small person friendly cards for a good old family game of snap, these Where’s Wally, Ben & Holly or Farm Animal sets look like the perfect size for small hands.

And of course, I can’t mention card based kids activities without the fabulous Play Hooray Prompts cards (currently £2 off throughout July!). Although most of the prompts require props, it could be worth sorting through some of the travel-friendly activities in the deck that could keep kids entertained if the mercury rises too high on holiday. Or if like me, you’re stuck at home with school free kiddos to occupy, the entire deck is gold dust.

Lastly, while most of the above can be purchased quick smart online for anyone flying out imminently (you lucky ducks), if you are keen on a good spot for picking up super cheap kids games, I highly recommend perusing your local Flying Tiger. Unfortunately, I can’t link to any of the games we’ve picked up there, they don’t have an online shop. But they had an excellent game of “What is it?” that we played after dinner last night. I kid you not, Ethan’s mime for ‘going to a petrol station’ had me laughing lemonade out of my nose.

Do you have any family games that always get brought along on holiday?
Or any in your collection that your little ones love to play over and over?

Naomi loves daytime baths, learning things and rock music.
(Oh and her kids. She loves them too)
Follow Naomi on Instagram @naomiliddell
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12 thoughts on “Travel Friendly Kids Games

  1. Thank you so much. I’m staring down the barrel of a 7.5 hour drive to Aviemore in August with a 4 year old and 1 year old so will definitely be checking out your suggestions.

    1. You brave brave soul. I found that games, ‘surprise bags’ with a few small new toys/books etc and heaps of snacks were the best for long journeys. Good luck!!

  2. This is a brilliant list, thank you. Also perfect price range for birthday presents for my 4yo (5 in September) friends. I hate buying another plastic toy that will inevitably get added to the pile of plastic toys they own. I usually get books but these are some fab alternatives.

  3. We’ve discovered Story dice, there’s a few versions. Essentially a small box with 9 dice, the dice have pics on instead of numbers. The idea is you throw them and then make up stories using the pics as prompts. Probably more useful for slightly older ones but great for pre-bed stories whilst in holiday… Saves packing too many heavy books!

  4. For long car journeys (we did 6 hours Cornwall to Cheshire this weekend) you can’t beat some educational apps on the iPad. My daughter knew all her alphabet by two and it’s down purely to the iPad for sure.

    If you like Dog Bingo then have a look at Bird Memory Pairs. I don’t know if they do the dog version. But memory pairs goes down a storm here. We started off playing with half a pack but now (at 3.5 she has around 20 pairs so 40 cards).

    Also if you are into ispy the ispy books are good. We have beach, ferry, car journey, camping and nature but you can buy the whole set from book people super cheap. Unfortunately we have to read them as a bedtime story ‘power station – 10 points’, ‘electricity pylon – used for carrying electricity to your home – 5 points’

    My child is a weirdo.

    I do find a lot of the Orchard Games quite samey. The shopping one has always been a hit here (and we’ve taken the cards to Waitrose and played find the item there too) and Landmark Lotto (from Aldi last week) a hit with my geography loving Go Jetters fan. Incidentally did you all know you can write to them and they’ll provide 5 lost cards free of charge for each game. I bloody hate incomplete games and orchard are a devil for getting mixed up. The games will live on. You’re welcome.

  5. Really liked these recommendations Naomi, we love the Orchard Toy ones here & have quite a few but nice to see some other recommendations for inspiration as we have a car journey to Cornwall in September coming up.

  6. My 4 year old loves games and we played a lot on our recent holiday. As well as the orchard games type we’ve been teaching her some old school games like dominos and uno.
    I also picked up qwirkle which was a hit, fairly easy for her to pick up and score.

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