Portable Picks for Kids on the Go
Headed over the river and through the woods this holiday?
Take along any, or many, of the products below for fun-filled travel and a very playful stay.
6 & up
What it is: The object of this shape-matching game is to get four of your shape in a row (horizontally, vertically, or diagonally) before your opponent does. Be assured that this is unlike any other four-in-a-row game you may have played in the past. The playing cards look like rounded dominos; that is, each card has two curved sections, on each of which can appear any combination of the following images: a blue circle, an orange square, or a blank. Players select whether to be blue or yellow, and a dealer gives each player one card to start.
Why we like it: Sometimes simpler is better, as is the case with this two-player crisscross card game. Fold back the four panels that enclose the game, and voila, there’s the game board with the playing cards already in place! It’s great for traveling.
For another fun travel game, try Slooooks!
Infant to 6 years
What it is: The duo who call themselves Hullabaloo are Steve Denyes (Guitar, Vocals) and Brendan Kremer (Cajon, Vocals), who create what they call “Free-Range, Organic Kid-Folk.” Road Trip is their seventh album for children, and it uses the motif of going on an extended trip to showcase thirteen great and overwhelmingly positive, country-tinged songs.
Why we like it: Denyes has a friendly and powerful voice that is reminiscent of Brad Paisley, while Kremer expertly plays a wooden percussion instrument called a cajon. The duo are joined on this album by the mighty playing of Dennis Caplinger on a host of stringed instruments, as well as a trio of lovely female singers. A sure favorite with kids must be “Flying Toward the Light,” a lovely ode to the insects that meet their demise on the car windshield at night.
For more fabulous music, see our Audio Award winners here!
3 to 12 years
Free 30 day trial, $9.99 per month,$99.99 per year
What it is: An iOS app that provides instant, unlimited access to the T2G app on up to five Apple iOS devices – in any combination of iPhone, iTouch, or iPad – for a full year.
Why we like it: Tales2Go lists over 1,400 titles. The list is as encompassing as eclectic. Odds Bodkin, Willy Clafin, Joel Ben Izzy, represent just a few on the wide-ranging talent list.( And yes, our bias may be peeking through, many of the artists are Parents’ Choice Award-winners.) Tales2Go.com offers stories for bedtime, to smooth bumps in the road, to render highway traffic powerless, or just to please. This is a reader/listener’s dream come true.
Ages: 3 to 8 years
What it is: An art station to go with included crayons and roll of paper
Why we like it: It’s compact, and the fact that it keeps the paper and crayons all together in one unit is refreshing for parents trying to stay organized while providing their children opportunities to be creative and independent. Children can draw, write, play games or make creative projects (like a mural or banner).
5 & up
What it is: The Geopalz activity tracker is a pedometer for kids that comes in all sorts of cute shapes such as a butterfly, peace sign, ladybug, and soccer ball. Children can go to the Geopalz website each day to log in their steps. Each time they log in a specific amount of steps (25,000 steps) they earn a point, once they have earned enough points they can win small prizes.
Why we like it: Parents liked having a source that informs kids about their eating choices and how they affect their health. This is a great way to teach children about the importance of exercise in a fun and low key way. It’s also a fun addition to vacations, especially if they entail lots of walking.
3 to 12 years
Why we like it: Travels with ease. The fabric folds into a small tote that will fit in a car, stroller, or backpack. Like the magic of an empty cardboard box, the Fortamajig is a simple object brimming with possibilities for endless hours of imaginative play. There are few toys that offer such timeless appeal to children of all ages.
6 & up
What it is: Albert’s Insomnia, a card game, was born out of the inventor’s attempts to soothe himself to sleep with math practice. While watching the digital clock by his bed, the game designer tried to build as many consecutive numbers (1, 2, 3…) from the numerals on the clock (12:48, for example) as he could, with the assistance of basic arithmetic operations (+, -, ×, ÷). In the card game, this means that each player is dealt four cards. Two will be yellow cards with numbers from 1 through 4, two will be blue or green cards with numbers from 5 to 12. Each card has all of the four basic arithmetic signs placed on its corners. Players put their cards face up and take turns composing mental math equations that will equal one, then two, then three, and so forth.
Why we like it: We liked that the game manages to be simple, fast, and challenging. It’s a game that rewards repeat play, since practice certainly improves one’s ability to win with mental math. It can be played anywhere.
Quick Sticker Projects
Ages: 4 & up
What it is: Inexpensive kits for making simple purses, dinosaur play scenes, or robots as art projects.
Why we like it: With its low price point, it works well as a stocking stuffer or party favor. Clean up is easy, and it’s impossible to make a mess with these kits.
Folkmanis Finger Puppets
Ages: 3 & up
What it is: An exceptionally delightful trio of miniature creatures consists of a puppy, a monkey, and a sea dragon
Why we like it: With one of these puppets on the right hand and the other on the left, a child can experience “double pleasure” with language arts fun.