simple travel for minimalist kids

“Nobody can discover the world for somebody else. Only when we discover it for ourselves does it become common ground and a common bond and we cease to be alone.” –Wendell Berry

This summer we traveled for 5 weeks with only our backpacks. We lived in Amsterdam for 3 weeks, and then continued on to explore Ireland and England. Our children had a backpack that was small enough for them to carry by themselves. We managed to fit clothes and toys in their backpacks, and had enough to keep them happy the entire time. Here’s what we packed for them to play with on our simple adventure!

Simple Travel Activites For Minimalist Kids

Some people have been curious about what toys I brought for the kids, and how we’ve managed to play in a small space. Since we packed light in order to fit into carry-on luggage, we didn’t have space for a lot of toys. We also knew that we’d be living in a small space in Amsterdam: a family of 4 in 300 square foot apartment. For each child I have a zippered folder which could hold all of the books, crafts, and crayons during our travels. I also found smaller separate bags for the toy animals.

When we were waiting in airports, the girls made friends with other kids by offering to share their colouring sheets. Then on the plane I took out a few of the toy dinosaurs which were a novelty since they are new toys. The overnight flight to Amsterdam went by fairly quickly for the kids since they slept most of the time.

Here is a list of all the toys that I packed for the trip:

  • 4 books
  • 3 activity books (kindergarten level)
  • 1 book of stickers
  • crayons and mini colouring sheets
  • 2 stuffed toys
  • 1 bag of small toy animals
  • 1 bag of small toy dinosaurs
  • pencil and marker

minimalist kids travel

So far, this has been a great collection for the weeks of travel. We miss access to the many library books back at home, so we’ll have to make good use of the 8 we brought. We also made a new discovery: audiobooks! I found several Youtube channels with audiobooks. Our kids have never been so quiet! Since we spend so much time reading books at home, this was a wonderful substitute for our travels. I’m sure even when we get home we’ll continue listening to audiobooks.

Other Activities To Keep The Kids Entertained:

Of course, there is so much to see while we’re travelling that we try not to stay indoors. We explore new parts of the city, hunt to find new parks, and wander through the farmer’s market which is within walking distance of our accommodations. There’s also a few small play structures on our street. When we’re all home on the weekends, we often all go out to explore some of the city together and see new sites.

We do a lot of crafts together. One or two rainy days were the hardest, but we used our imagination to make new paintings and drawings and found ways to practice letters and numbers. Taking activities out one at a time also helped spread the fun out and kept some new things for later in the trip.

Kids have a wonderful talent for creating new games and fun play with very few toys. The most commonly asked question isn’t for more toys, but ‘will you play with me?’. I’ve learned that joining them in their games, running with them at the park, reading to them, and telling stories is often what makes them happiest. Maybe we can learn through their example that it’s not the stuff that adds value, but the people in our lives. Being somewhere new is exciting and fun, and we don’t have to buy more to enjoy it.

“Things don’t really impress me. Memories impress me. It’s not the toys, it’s the people.”

-R. A. Salvatore

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