“Are we there yet?” Whether you are driving or flying, the little ones get antsy sitting for a long time. When I was younger, I always played the license plate game, but that can only last so long. Ideally, a travel game is absorbing enough to keep kids busy for a while, without a ton of small pieces that can get lost along the way. Here are a few that I always recommend to parents who visit our stores and ask how to keep the kids happy on the road!
One of my favorites to play is Perplexus (6+, $24.99): it’s a 3-dimensional maze that can keep you busy for hours! The goal is to navigate a marble through a series of obstacles by carefully rotating a big clear plastic orb. The pathway is numbered so you know which way to go, but sometimes you have to make the ball hop down to another level, travel across a bridge, or go through tunnels. Sounds simple enough, but the marble-like ball can fall off the pathway with any jolt or wrong turn. Then, you have to start all over back at one. This will keep anyone busy for hours. I haven’t even beaten it yet! There are a ton of versions too: Perplexus Rookie for 4+, Epic Perplexus for 8+ and Perplexus Twist for 8+.
And if your kid has already mastered her Perplexus, try timing her and having her try and beat her best time, or have everyone in the car compete for the fastest time. Well, except for the driver. This is definitely not a game that you can play while driving!
Every kid is magnetically drawn to Mom and Dad’s iPads, but not every iPad activity is both educational and fun. Tiggly Shapes (18 mo+, $32.99) add educational enrichment and 3D, tactile fun to iPad play: they’re four geometric shapes that interact with the iPad screen, and are designed to work with a series of apps that let toddlers and older kids experiment with drawing, matching, shape recognition, and animal recognition. Tiggly Shapes will keep kids occupied for a long time because of the sheer number of play possibilities… and because they just love that iPad. Plus, they come with a storage bag that will keep all of your Tiggly Shapes together on the go.
Rory’s Story Cubes (8+, $7.99) provide tons of open-ended fun with limited pieces, and for any number of players! It comes with nine dice with 54 different images on them. One way to play is to roll the cubes and pick an image that will begin your story. You then create a story connecting all the images together. Each player can take turns continuing the story with one of the cubes. These cubes are great for problem solving, creative inspiration, literacy, and vocabulary development. The possibilities are endless, at home or abroad – for instance, my niece Elizabeth and my mom have a bedtime tradition where they use Story Cubes to create a story together called “The Misadventures of Lizzie B.”
Traveling can be stressful, but the more you keep the kids occupied and giggling, the less stressful it will be – and ideally, these games will help you create great vacation memories, too! And we’ve got plenty more travel games for you to try. If none of these are the right fit, just ask our customer service team online or in Magic Beans stores, and we’ll hook you up with some surefire fun.