xmas gifts-Optimized.jpgWith the holiday season upon us, and with many of us having traveling plans this year, now is the time to think ahead and make sure your little ones are travel or road trip ready too. You may have some great toys at home to take along, but buying the perfect gift can also be great for keeping your kids entertained while you’re away from home and on your return trip.

With my kids being 10 and 15 they both have very different toys and gadgets they like to take along with them when we travel. Even just on a longer drive they like to have something to take along with them to keep them occupied. You would think at 10 my youngest handles long car rides well, but he still gets in moods where he likes to annoy his brother, which in turn annoys my husband and I.

I can remember the toddler and younger years with my boys as well, and as they have grown up their toy preferences has changed also.

Read on to see my recommendations for toy must haves when traveling with your kids from the toddler years on up.

Baby and toddler years

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Since toddlers are still in 5 point harness car seats you have to think of toys that are either easy for them to hold in their little hands, or better yet, toys that can attach right onto the car seat in case they do drop them, they won’t be going far.

My boys always loved toys that had lights and sounds, or that made sounds when they touched or squeezed them. This Melissa & Doug Traveling Inchworm Stroller Toy is perfect for your little ones. It is brightly coloured and makes all kinds of sounds such as jingling, squeeking and crunching. It will also attach onto a stroller and car seat, so great for on the road and for your stroller when you get to your destination. On top of keeping them entertained it’s also great for building their fine motor skills, so it’s educational and fun all in one.

If your little one is in the toddler stage Vtech has you covered with the VTech InnoTab 3 Baby Learning Tablet. It’s available in blue and pink and comes with a very durable case, perfect to protect against any drops and drool, which you know what I’m talking about if you’ve been through the teething phase. It also has a great handle which makes holding onto it very easy for toddler hands. There are so many learning apps to choose from such as sign language, numbers and shapes. I also love the option of the eReader to introduce simple stories. My boys have always loved books and having story time is a great way to wind down. This feature will come in handy when you’re away from home and your little one needs some down time.

Younger kids

Until this year we’ve only done smaller road trips and vacations, but even a few hours in the car can feel like a lifetime if your kids have decided they are done sitting in the car. When my kids have had enough, I usually start hearing complaints about restless legs and then the whining starts out. From there it progresses to the kids annoying each other, and then annoying mom and dad. Sound familiar? This is where having the perfect toys with you can come in handy.

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Of course what child would not take along their favourite video games if they could, but the reality is if you’re going on vacation or visiting family for the holidays, they’ll be so busy there isn’t much time for gaming. I do always make sure to take along the 3DS and the iPad for the road or plane ride, but it’s also good to think about what your kids will want to play with once you get to your destination.

My oldest son is of course all about his computer and his phone but my youngest still loves to play. We have a ridiculous amount of plush toys which keeps him quite entertained so we always pack a few, and of course action figures are always a must. He’s really into the Funko Pop! Toys right now, especially if they are Star Wars. His newest to the collection is this Funko Pop! Star Wars First Order Flametrooper.

If you’re going somewhere that will have T.V. I always bring along a few DVD’s or Blu-ray to watch at bedtime or I download a few on the iPad. Games and puzzles are also great to take along for when you need some peace and quiet. My youngest is really into The Game of Life right now. I swear he has luck on his side always, he wins at every game.

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I have been a reader my whole life so when I had my sons I was always reading to them in hopes of them become book lovers too. Luckily it worked and they both love a good book. While I do still love to read an actual book with pages, having an eReader has come in handy many times. My hubby gifted me an eReader a few years ago and I love it. My kids also love when I get their books on it too, so it really ended up being a great gift for everyone.

Books can take up precious packing space and eReaders are pretty slim and sleek. Buying books on the eReader can also be very cost efficient. Kobo makes some amazing eReaders. I love the Kobo Glo HD 6″ Digital eBook Reader with Touchscreen. They really do read just like a book and with built in WiFi you can get a book anywhere you are. Some eReaders don’t have the built in light but this one does and it is perfect for late night reads when you can’t sleep. Both my boys love reading on the Kobo too and actually sometimes getting the books on here are cheaper than buying the actual book which is always a bonus.

Maybe you’re just going to be driving local this year,  or maybe you have big travel plans, but whatever your plans are, it will be good to be prepared with some great toys to take along with you.

Title image @ www.photography-match.com