Technology can come in handy when traveling with kids if used in moderation. Our own Family Game Time blogger even shared a few apps that siblings can play together on one tablet. But distraction and fun can be had without the use of devices. Visiting this year’s Toy Fair in New York City I discovered a few toys perfect to pack in your carry-on bag or stow in the backseat for your family road trip.
I should point out we haven’t yet had a chance to play these games first hand but as they fit my travel criteria (compact, fun, no set-up, easy to play, and very few loose pieces) they’ve made my list of games to seek out.
Employ a little friendly problem solving competition with MindWare’s Square Up. I first discovered this brand due to a favourite family game Qwirkle and then I spotted this. Shake up the enclosed coloured square box to see what pattern you have to duplicate and then in sider fashion, try to mimic the pattern on the bigger square pads. Be the first to complete the challenge. Having the pieces enclosed makes it ideal for travel.
Blue Orange Games is another favourite gaming company that creates fun board games without the physical board, like Froggy Boogie, our first game from Blue Orange . For compact travel fun try Flapz. This takes the concept of that childhood favourite, cootie catcher, but adds some challenges. I love that the game is easy enough to tuck into a pocket of your travel bag and made with the strong yet flexible eco-friendly Tyvek material. I have a Mighty Wallet made of this material so I can attest to its durability.
MindTrap Shadow Mysteries
Remember those mystery radio programs? We’ve started listening to these on a number of Spotify like the Radio Crime Dramas playlist and The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes. There’s something about visualizing the scene and using your imagination and my kids love it. MindTrap Shadow Mysteries is a great way to bring that sleuthing fun with you on the road. The deck of cards works great for a single player like a child reading and solving a case on his or her own or get the whole family involved to sort out the solution.
Solve the Mystery Gram
If you’ve read our collection of kids’ riddles you can probably guess how much we love sorting out solutions based on logic and thinking a little differently. We’ve been working on a picture based riddle post as a follow-up. Think a puzzle based on pictures is too easy? Checkout Solve the Mystery Gram from University Games. Each card in the tin contains a pictorial problem that you need to solve and it’s perfect to take anywhere. You can also try Solve the Brain Teaser and Solve the Mystery in the collection.
ThinkFun is another favourite producer of logic games. I love the collection of single player games, like River Crossing and Hoppers, to keep the kids busy after school or during quiet time. For on the road try Back Spin. There are no cards or loose pieces, just the game board you can manipulate. It reminds me of the idea behind Rubik’s Cube where you have to move the coloured beads around the playing field to get them all within their correct colour columns. The double-sided board has a single drop area enabling you to move beads from back to front and change their owner to ultimately get to the final match. Forget the kids, this is something I wouldn’t mind putting my brain toward.
You probably know how much I love the variety of products available from Melissa & Doug based on the posts I’ve written. I love the Box Girls as a way to connect when out to dinner and their Trip Talk Box looks great for the next family road trip. For a little traditional fun try their Flip-to-Win Hangman. Kids can think of words to stump one another and the write on/wipe off board means they can keep the challenge going over and over again. I really like the idea that there are no loose pieces, body parts are attached by elastic that just spins to an empty square of body part.
Toy Fair as you can imagine is huge and these are just a few games I spotted from some of my favourite game and toy makers. When you’re traveling with kids what do you pack to distract and entertain them?