Transportable Play

by Deb on July 2, 2010

Alice Springs

Do you have a travel box or bag?  Something you can take with you whenever you go out or are travelling so you know your kids will have something to do even if your destination isn’t child friendly?  I know part of this is just how my mind works, but I find a lot of science activities lend themselves to travelling because they don’t need lots of bits and pieces or space, just something to observe and maybe make a change.  If kids are going to a different environment it’s great to give them a reason to observe and think about the differences to what they are used to.

Our kit changes regularly as the girls get older and their tastes change, but these are some of the enduring ones they still play with:

  • Books, books and more books.  Even for pre-readers, little board books are a hit.
  • A5 size hard cover book to draw in and pencils.  It’s a good size for the car, plane or to fit in a bag and pencils can’t stain things or lose their lids.
  • Things to transfer from one container to another.  Plastic containers with wide screw top lids are perfect, as are little drawstring bags and purses depending on the age.  Things to transfer include counters, toy money (or real money), business cards, large beads or small dolls like Duplo or Little People.
  • Wraps or flat cloth nappies.  For peekaboo, blankets, wiping up spills, sitting on, wrapping dolls and so much more.
  • Music.
  • Language games.  This is a newish one, we started with Eye Spy using colours, then Words that Sound the Same, just this week we started playing Opposites.  Although given how quickly the big girl worked that one out, I can see we’ll be on to synonyms very soon!


Some science-y ideas to do when you get there that don’t require much equipment:

  • Make a collection to take home, it could be rocks, shells, seeds or leaves.  Then you can sort and compare them to your own backyard.herb garden The containers or bags from the travelling kit are perfect.
  • Take photos of where you are, an adult can do the photography or many kids are very capable with digital cameras.
  • A field journal so you can draw pictures of where you are and write descriptions of things you can’t collect like the weather, soil and animals.
  • Pretend you are explorers on an expedition looking for a rare new animal and finding out as much as you can about its habitat and behaviour.
  • If you are going somewhere with different weather, use that as a basis for imaginative play – at the moment we are Antarctic explorers 😀
  • See if the mud in this new place is different to the mud at home.
  • If you are around cars or shops with big windows, look for reflections.  You can laugh over how they are distorted or search for things in the scene around you, and babies love talking to the people in the mirror.
  • Put babies down on the ground or on a mat so they can explore where they are.
  • Get on the play equipmentPlaygrounds are every parent and science teacher’s friend, even if you don’t say anything their bodies are learning.

upside down

What do you do when you are out and about?

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Marita July 2, 2010 at 8:19 am

We already carry Heidi’s bag of sensory stuff as well as her epi pen bag so my go out and about activity kit consists of a ziplock bag with paper, pencils, eraser and sharpener. Not much but the children love it. Especially when I slip some stickers or a sticky note pad in 🙂
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Deb July 2, 2010 at 10:07 am

Stickers are a huge hit! And you’re more organised than me with eraser and sharpener – I’ve given up after losing so many. A bag and drawing stuff is our basic for around town, the girls love carrying their own bags.


Hear Mum Roar July 2, 2010 at 11:49 am

We take a lot of books, a lot of bananas, and a lot of water, lol!
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Kristine July 2, 2010 at 9:23 pm

This is perfect timing as I’m in the process of packing bags to entertain on the plane. One thing (actually two) sciencey that we often take away are a magnifying glass or the bug catcher / magnifier)


Grace July 3, 2010 at 8:21 pm

When my kids were little, I always had some of their own toys with me. Unless we were going to Nana’s — her house had a better collection than ours did!
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PlanningQueen July 5, 2010 at 9:29 pm

In my everyday bag I usually have dice, playing cards, matchbox cars, paper and pencils (now an aquadoodle which has come in very handy). I make specific packs for certain occasions. Just last week I made an activity pack for each child to have on the flight (we flew Tiger and they give you nothing!)


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