Our Favorite Vacation Toys That Pack In A Suitcase


Play doesn’t always come naturally for me as an adult. Good children’s toys, though, give me “prompts” or “help” finding my playful side. Does that make sense? I get SOOOOOO bored playing Chutes and Ladders, but give me Sushi Go or Rummikub and I’m totally engaged. I know many moms who are ROCK STAR imaginative geniuses, but sometimes I feel like I run out of good ideas — give me story cubes or super-fun wiki-sticks, though, and I’m instantly more creative. Put me at a beach or a pool and I’m dying to hide in a book or take a nap, but start a game of corn hole or give me an adorable seashell collecting bag, and I’ll find my frivolous side. For me, good toys (in addition to turning off my phone, of course) just makes me a more in-the-moment fun mom.

The fact that good toys help me be more playful with my kids is one of the main reasons I’m always searching for those that are new and interesting. It’s definitely not that my kids need more toys. I especially love bringing really good toys on vacation. I WANT to play with my kids on vacation (in addition to wanting them to be able to play independently at times…UH, early mornings, anyone?) and funtastic toys help in both of these situations.

I’ve got some ideas for a few vacation toys you can throw in a suitcase. Some of these suggestions are repeats from my posts on traveling on airplanes with kids, as well as road tripping with kids, but they’re my absolute favs, so I don’t want to mess with a good thing. There are some brand-spanking-new favorites too, however, so keep scrolling. For those of you traveling soon, I encourage you to pack a few toys that YOU enjoy playing with (not just the kids’ top picks) and try to engage your light-hearted side. For those of you (like me!) staying put for your kids’ Spring Break — I encourage you to do the same at home. You should have some fun too, right?? 

Ideas for Fun Family Vacation Toys

For moms who want to PLAY, vacation is the time. Want some toys that fit in a suitcase & engage the fam in some fun? Here's what we're packing for the kids.

 Diving Rings | Our Favorite Goggles | Magna-Quibix |Table Topics Cards | Yoyo | Travel Toy MatsExploding Kittens | Mini Spot ItCollapsable Sand Buckets | Seashell Bags

 Pool Toys

Restaurant Toys

Family Card Games

Hotel Room Toys


Beach Toys


What other toys/games/play materials do you guys like to throw in your suitcase so that EVERYONE can play on vacation? As always, your suggestions are super-helpful to other readers AND us here at TME. Thanks, Mamas in advance for any other ideas.



  1. This is awesome! Thank you! My husband and I are certified dorks (think Dungeons and Dragons) and love table top games. As such, I have some other game suggestions 🙂 I have a 6 year old with severe anxiety disorder, so competitive games are not our jam. We love playing the cooperative board games Outfoxed and Hoot Owl Hoot. Our 4 year old son enjoys playing along too. Take ’em out of the boxes and stick the game components in ziplocks for travel. There is a great adult cooperative game called Stuffed Fables that the kids LOVE too – especially because it’s really for BIG KIDS.It’s about stuffed animals defending their little girl at night while she sleeps. We just simplify the rules and omit anything that may be too intense for our kid with anxiety issues. One day we will introduce them to Forbidden Island (good coop game!).

    • I guess that makes our family certified dorks as well (we have some pretty intense DM’ing with the Monster Manual going on right now in our household). 🙂 I’ve never heard of Stuffed Fable.Yay! Can’t wait to look in to it. Such a good reminder, too, that most table top games can easily be made “travel friendly” by taking all the parts out of the box and throwing them in a ziplock. I feel like we are at the height of table game fun right now (with a 5 and a 10-year-old)…I sure hope it continues. Thanks so much for the comment, Mary.

    • Mary, I also have a kid who hates competitive games — or really any kind of dramatic tension. We love Outfoxed but she used to ask us to take the fox off the board b/c it stressed her out (and she once made me play cooperative Candyland — that was a snooze). Anyway, we have recently discovered Telestrations, and she loves it — we just don’t score it and say we are playing to see what funny things happen. And the Richard Scarry Busytown board game is a cooperative game that your 4 year old would probably get into, and I think the 6 year old might still like.

  2. Thanks for all of the great ideas! Excited for new games to try.

    Please research the dangers associated with the full face snorkel masks. There is concern of increased carbon dioxide/shallow water black outs and drowning. I’m a former dive instructor and I am waiting to buy them for my kids until more research is done.

    • Thank you so much, Tami, for your comment. I really appreciate it. I HAVE read that some of the lower quality full face masks have left people feeling dizzy and of course there’s danger that comes with any kind of snorkeling. We’ve, however, seen so many people having a blast with the higher quality ones that have really good reviews. Personally, I’ve come to the decision that I’d like for us to try one of the higher quality masks and let the kids play with them in shallow water (with supervision). I took the mask we’ve been looking at out of the post, though. After you commented, I realized I really would rather people do their own research on this. So, thank you, again.

  3. My favourite toy/game for outings is Go Find It. Sold by the sensory trust in UK, it’s a scavenger hunt game to play in any outdoor setting (and buying it supports a charity too.).

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