Travel Play Ideas for Kids – Play Dates

Play Dates – Eating Out

You know the ones I mean where you’ll meet up for a play date and inevitably everyone needs to eat. There’s always going to be some waiting and you need to keep everyone calm and entertained. Whether you’re the parent who has bought everything bar the kitchen sink with you to entertain your little one or the one who’s just about remembered to bring out your purse and nothing else, having more than just your child/ren brings a different dynamic. Often they just want to play with the same thing, so it’s really helpful to consider travel play ideas that can bring harmony to your play date.

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We had a couple of days like this last week, so I changed our travel play bag to cater for two and it worked brilliantly. It’s good to have a little variety if you have got children who like to do different things, but the main aim of the bag was that they were all activities that could be done together.

What’s in the Play Dates Bag?

We love our mini back pack – it’s just over A5 size with about a 10cm depth and fits our travel toys. Perfect size for when Floss wants to carry it and not too big for when it gets passed on – you know what I mean! The yellow tin is an old cosmetics tin. I can never throw away tins – so many uses for play! I find it helpful to have things in little bags and tubs, it keeps things organised and tidy, can often contain the play and Floss has a great time pulling drawstrings or zips!

So, here’s what was in our play date bag. As you can see, although the bag is relatively small you can fit quite a few bits and bobs in. Variety is so important.

Crayons and Paper

I don’t think I go anywhere without crayons and paper. They are such a versatile toy and great for play dates and eating out. I clip together loose bits of paper to form a little booklet. This way if we want to use a single piece of paper and make an origami penguin or a paper aeroplane you can. Our crayons are from Tiny Land and the rainbow crayons from Hope Education – who doesn’t love a rainbow.

Rainbow Dinosaurs

Little characters are an essential for us to have when we go anywhere. Floss can spend hours playing with small world figures. She’ll use the things she finds in her environment as props or plays hide and seek with them.

Floss has recently been enjoying a My Busy Bots – Somewhere Over the Rainbow – busy bag, so I decided to modify it a little for our play date. If you’d like to find out more about these busy bags check out this blog post review I wrote here.

The pack contains a rainbow mat on one side and the reverse has seasons. It comes with little pictures that correspond to a colour and a time of the year. You could divide out the little cards amongst friends for them to sort. I added two sets of dinosaurs so that each child would have a set to play with, but also be able to match them on the rainbow.


Beeswax modelling clay is such a great item for out and about. It’s not sticky and takes up very little space. I love modelling activities for groups of children as you often find they work very collaboratively sharing ideas, but can each work on their individual piece playing alongside each other. The range of colours in the Stockmar pack is great – you can get more than the colour range we have below – this is just the starter pack – link here.


This is my go-to calming activity for Floss, she really enjoys ‘sewing’. They can swap laces or cards and again is something easy to do while eating out. There are so many lacing/ threading style kits you can buy. We have The Very Hungry Caterpillar set, but you could easily do it yourself using some card, a hole punch and some string.

Fabulous Small Worlds

Earlier I mentioned my love of tins, well containers in general. Check out these amazing travel play ideas from over on Instagram. I love the recycled nature of @today.our.children arctic and dinosaur land scene. Kirsty got the inspiration from her reminiscing of Polly Pockets. Oh how I loved my Polly Pocket!

Here’s another awesome dinosaur land in a little tin from @nicr4. The dinosaurs fitting perfectly into the small case make it ideal as a travel play toy. Her little one loves it for out and about. We are certainly going to be having a go at making some of these small world scenes for ourselves. Have you made anything like this. Please do share using #travelplaytuesday.

Top Tips for Play Dates

  • Use what’s available. Lots of places now give out crayons/ pencils and some puzzles or paper to help keep little ones entertained. Exhaust these first!
  • Don’t get everything out at once. One thing at a time. You can always rotate things out again, or add different things from your bag in different ways to extend play.
  • Activities where children are doing the same thing, but can work independently are very useful for around meal times when hunger may not make everyone feel as cooperative as usual!

Next week will be a car travel theme. If you’ve got any great car travelling ideas to share then please DM on Instagram or email

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