16 Easy and Affordable Toddler Activities – Holidays & Outings

My Bean is now 15 months old and although he is mostly running around exploring, keeping himself entertained for short periods of time, he tends to get bored quickly. At home, this is fine, because we have a variety of toys and activities available for him, but when we are going on holiday or on a day trip, it is simply not possible to pack all of his toys into the car. So, for our last trip, I put my creativity to the test and packed only 5 items. These items were affordable and lightweight and they could be used for a variety of fun (and educational) activities. Here they are:

Empty Cardboard Boxes


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For our trip, we packed a lot of the food which we needed for the week into empty boxes. Instead of discarding the boxes once we arrived, we kept them and they became Bean’s toys. Here are the activities we used them for:

  • Build a tower with the smaller boxes
  • Use the box as a drum
  • Make-shift car: Bean loves sitting in boxes while we push / drag him around
  • Build a little house with two rooms and a tunnel

Coloured Ice Cream Sticks & Pipe Cleaners

I simply bought some at our local arts and crafts store and used these for the following activities:

  • Cut slits or holes (should be slightly bigger than the ice cream sticks / pipe cleaners) into one of the empty boxes and let your child post the sticks / pipe cleaners through the openings
  • Place ice cream sticks and pebbles into a bucket of water to see and experience the difference between floating and sinking
  • Thread the pipe cleaners through noodles
  • Sort the different coloured pipe cleaners and ice cream sticks into colour order



Who does not love balloons – they are just so much fun! Remember to pick up the pieces once they have popped as they can be a choking hazard.

  • In summer, make water balloons and play a game of catch, or hide and seek, with these
  • Blow the balloon up (without tying it) and let it blow away (or make noises) as the balloon deflates.
  • Throw a blown up balloon into the air and let your child catch it.
  • Use as a make shift ball

Food Colouring


  • Use 500ml water bottles and fill each bottle with water and a specific colour. Then mix the colours in a bowl / bucket / bath to create a science experiment. Blue and yellow make green, red and yellow make orange, and blue and red make purple
  • Mix plain yogurt with various colours to create a finger paint.
  • Mix various colours with water and freeze these into different coloured ice cubes. Let your child play with these as they melt.
  • Alternatively, freeze one large ice block and create tunnels into the ice with running water.

Bean loves these activities and I love the fact that I can entertain him without having to pack all his toys! What activities do you do with your children while on holiday?

One thought on “16 Easy and Affordable Toddler Activities – Holidays & Outings

  1. Marianne Schoenfelder says:

    Hallo Alexa,

    Danke fürMail. Auch für die Krugerpark Fotos. (5) Hast Du noch weitere geschickt? Frage nur deshalb nach weil mein PC vorige Tage gesponnen hat und nicht sicher bin ob alle Mails eingegangen sind. Habt Ihr Fotos am Geburtstag Deiner Mutter gemacht?

    Ein schönes Wochenende,

    Tante Marianne.


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