Want to inspire a love of travel in the young ones in your life? Need the perfect gift for Christmas? Here’s my top ten recommendations for the best Christmas 2016 gifts for travel-loving kids:
(Disclaimer: most of the links below are affiliate links, which means that I get a very small commission if you purchase via my link. This doesn’t not affect your price in any way, and allows me to keep bringing you free content like this.) 🙂
#1: A Camera
Let’s get the most expensive idea out of the way at the start… Photography is a wonderful hobby for any age and the perfect travel-inspired gift. Don’t bother with “kids” cameras that you can find in the toy store. They don’t last long, and you’ll be sorely disappointed by the quality of image that they produce. You’re much better off paying a little extra and getting a “real” camera that is able to handle water, drops and crushes so your little adventurer can take it wherever the trail leads. The Olympus TG-4 featured here for $379 is a great choice.
Unless you like hearing “Let it Go” on repeat for hours, travelling with kids means you need kids headphones. However standard headphones – even those in kids sizes – can be uncomfortable, especially in a full car seat where they constantly bump up against the headrest, or worse, don’t allow your child to relax fully into their seat. Do yourself a favour and try these from Cozy Phones. The speakers are built into a fleece headband. You might like them so much you’ll try them for yourself (but unfortunately the unicorn style doesn’t come in growup sizes). They’re also perfect for those with sensory issues who can’t tolerate buds. Available for $18 from Amazon.
#3: Monthly Subscription
Want your child to experience around the world at a fraction of the cost of an airline ticket? Try this unique ‘World Edition’ subscription from Little Passports. Your child’s first shipment will include a world map, passport and unique blue suitcase. Every month thereafter, your child will receive stickers, letters from ‘Sam and Sophia’, souvenirs, activities and information about a specific country. The activities can be supplemented with activities of their website (access is included as part of your subscription). It’s recommended for kids ages 6-10 and available from $11.99 a month. (They also have a fabulous USA Edition if you’re planning a US road trip.)
#4: Make your own globe
This DIY globe is sure to get the creative juices flowing in your child. Perhaps colour each country as you visit it, or use it as a geography lesson. Unlike many craft projects that get abandoned when they’re complete, this one can be played with over and over. $20 from Seedling.
#5 Scratch World Map
Along the same kind of lines as the globe (above), this gift idea is sure to be a hit with older kids (or adults). Simply scratch off the countries you’ve visited. This premium version features vivid colours and defined country and state borders, making it super easy to use. It’s also pretty enough to hang on the wall and large enough (24×35 inches) to make an impact. ($42 from Amazon).
#6: Magazine Subscriptions
Give them the gift that gives all year long! Through stories, photos, games and more, kids will learn about the world around them. Just don’t be shocked when they decide that your next family adventure should be to the Galapagos Islands. Here’s a few of our family’s favourites:
#7: A Travel Journal
Get your child started early on the powerful habit of journaling. There are quite a few kids travel journals out in the market these days, but this one ($9 by Lonely Planet Kids) is my favourite:
#8: Learn a new Language
Nothing makes travel in a foreign country easier than knowing a few basic words. For the under-6 age group, it can be difficult to teach if, as a parent, you don’t know the language well yourself. That’s where Little Pim excels – easy and fun lessons, designed specifically for the under-6s.
#9: City Guides
Are you planning to visit one of the world’s iconic cities in 2017? These kids-inspired city guides will make great stocking stuffers! Originally sold on Kickstarter, these pocket sized guides are the perfect kid’s introduction to the major cities in the world (currently available: Rome, New York City, San Franscisco, Los Angeles, Paris, and London).
#10: Card Games
Who doesn’t love a cuddly baby animal? Combining adorable photographs, interesting facts and a fun game, this set makes an awesome gift for kids ages 6+. Any travelling family should have a ready supply of card games available. They’re small, light weight, easy to learn and great for all ages (I’m assuming that you already have old stand-bys like Uno and Skip Bo in your stash).