Travelling with kids these Holidays?

Many of you may be ready to start travelling to see family and friends over the Christmas/New Year period. Some of you may be driving or catching a plane with your children for the first time. Unfortunately many children like to leave constant or intermittent screams as a parting present for those also travelling on a plane.

Here are a few general travel tips:

  • Preparation – Discuss the holiday with the kids, where and when you are going and start a calendar count down. Book the motel, transport and accommodation ahead of time to decrease any hidden expenses.
  • Make sure you have enough time – arrive at the airport earlier than required, children love to explore and will become distracted no matter how much time you have, at least if you have more you will be less stressed
  • Carry baby wipes – great for cleaning hands and faces after food or messy play items or even toilet paper if needed.
  • Carry additional pull-ups whilst toilet training as there may not be many opportunities to get to a toilet in time for little ones
  • Give them a camera – it will encourage them to explore and view things from a different perspective. Photos can be used in a travel journal depending on the child’s age and interests. It will also keep them entertained for a long time
  • Invest in a child locator app or device – this will help you keep an eye on them without being overly restrictive
  • Don’t let children pack their own backpacks! Usually they pack majority of ‘interesting items’ at the time that are very boring once travelling. Or they pack it too heavy and all you have is whinging the entire trip. It is important to supervise and provide them with ideas when packing.
  • Pack plenty of toys.
  • Offer the toys one at a time, replacing each toy with a fresh one once the child shows signs of boredom.
  • To cut down on fights over sharing, make sure each child has their own stash of toys.
  • Play family games such as ‘I-spy’.
  • Pack a picnic lunch.
  • For older children, show them a map beforehand and point out landmarks as you go.
  • Pack plenty of snacks as children tend to graze eat when travelling due to boredom and a changed sense of time as it is not a usual part of their routine.

I have attempted to provide you with a list of in-flight and car entertainment options that can also be used for “down” or quiet time” whilst on holidays.

Your Kids OT has great ideas for a 3 year old:


  • Trunki – the suitcase itself is a great fun. Mr 3 can sit on top of it and push along with his feet. We can pull him along whilst he sits and lifts up his feet. It fits neatly underneath the seat in front on the aeroplane so the contents can be accessed easily. Importantly, if you are in a hurry the Trunki has a long shoulder strap that adults can use to carry it.
  • Puzzles – individually packed in zip-locked bags.
  • Funny Faces colouring book by Crayola – includes stickers and colouring pages.
  • Kaleidoscope scratch art – includes wooden pencil, stencil and 2 pieces of scratch art paper.
  • Notebook, pencils and stickers
  • Books to read – chosen based on Mr 3’s interests.
  • I -Spy books – very thin small books that have lots of detail to find.
  • Mr 3’s folder of fun! – I found this neat zip up folder at Office Works. It has a small pocket which I have put the tiny car erasers and cars seen below. The folder also includes dry-erase markers, a glue stick and the following activity sheets.


My homemade activity sheets were made from scrapbooking paper, stickers and some printables. I laminated all of these activity sheets. They include:

  • Dinosaur scene with small dinosaur stickers. Mr 3 loves to tell stories with dinosaurs and I’m hoping this will occupy him for quite a while.
  • Thomas printables and train track. Both of these were found on the internet.
  • Car mazes with small cars. Three of the small cars are erasers found at a discount shop. These can be driven along the mazes or Mr 3 can use the dry-erase markers to draw on them.
  • Counting page. Mr 3 loves to count.
  • Rainbow I-Spy. I created this page for “spying” at the airport and on the aeroplane. Especially for the time that you sit on the runway and taxi to the runway….well this can take a long time! {Flashback to being delayed for an hour on the runway with almost-Miss-2-year-old}. You can find this printable at the Your Kids OT shop as a free printable.
  • Shapes matching page. Mr 3 can draw using the dry-erase markers to match the shapes or around the shapes.
  • Empty faces. Mr 3 (or I) can draw some funny faces.

What about an older child?

You can adapt the above package to meet their interests or more age appropriate activities such as;

  • Minecraft colouring in book
  • Book of masks – that you can colour in from kmart
  • Rubrics cube
  • Books to read – Minecraft, Horrible Histories, Ronald Dahl and Mr Underpants are popular
  • Zip lock bags of plasticine
  • Word searches
  • Travel guess who and connect four
  • Encourage them to keep a travel journal
  • Mp3 for music
  • Ipad/tablet


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