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Our Favourite Things to Pack for a Summer Holiday

Every summer families across the country make lists, pack their bags and leave the country in droves - hoping for sunnier weather!


We know everyone packs differently, but there is always something you wish you'd packed when you arrive at your destination. We asked Wendy, mother of 3 and founder of Tots to Travel what she has on her essential summer holiday list!

We'd love to hear what you enjoy doing with your children whilst away on holiday and what items have earned their place in your suitcase! Add your comments below.

Wendy says, "Whilst I don't subscribe to being a full time kids' entertainer on holiday, I do think it's worth having something up my sleeve to inject a dose of playful silliness and to initiate those moments of quality family time. Over the years of holidaying with my 3 kids (Barnaby 10, Maisy 9 and Monty 3) I've put together a list of things that now make it onto my essential packing list..."

Top 10 summer holiday packing essentials for kids

1) Pool toys

Pool toys

An absolute must have as far as my lot are concerned. Lots of places have pools, but very few have toys or diving rings to play with. Our collection of pool toys is growing and brings a huge smile to my children's faces when the pool toys come out for packing.

Sinking ones, floating one, blow up ones... they're all in the pile!

2) A new story book to share with the children

A couple of summers ago I decided the best way to get my children hooked on reading was to find a comfy hammock under the shade of a walnut tree and use the relaxed environment to enjoy a good book together. Out came Secret Seven and what followed was extraordinary! We had a lovely time together and my son, then aged 6 became a book worm! We now need a Kindle to ensure that he has enough reading material to last the whole holiday.

3) New colouring book and felt tips/crayons

I always buy a new colouring/puzzle book for my kids and brand new felt tips or crayons (depending on their age). I particularly enjoy having the time to sit with the children and doodle or solve puzzles together. We have found that supermarkets and bookstore usually have a good selection or if in doubt Amazon does a great range of "doodle books" for boys and girls where the children are encouraged to finish the picture.

4) Water bombs

Water bombs

As soon as the sun comes out my lot are pushing for a water fight! Water bombs can also be used for gentle throwing and catching or for a more full on assault on the parents!

I recommend these if you have a private space as they don't go down well with other sunbathers.

5) Record some of your children's favourite books...

...onto your phone or iPad. For younger children, I've found that making a video of yourself or an older sibling reading your child's favourite books, can provide hours of entertainment when you are busy or you can't take your eyes off the road. Having a mobile library of books for those moments on the plane or waiting for a meal in a restaurant, has saved many a moment.

6) A balloon and/or bubble mixture

Children (and adults) of all ages can rarely ignore a balloon or plethora of bubbles. All sorts of games evolve as a result. Be it keep up or pop the bubble, it's cheap and takes up so little space.

7) A pack of cards and/or some good old fashioned games

I grew up playing card games, backgammon and Connect 4 and my children are similarly enthusiastic about challenging me to a game! Children as young as 5 can be taught all sorts of games that are both educational and highly entertaining!

And the younger ones like to join your team if you give them a simple task. You never know when a rainy day or quiet evening will appear on the agenda!

8) Paper aeroplane kit

I bought this paper aeroplane kit for our last holiday and found that it had the entire family hooked. My 3 year old loved the stickers and the flying part whilst the older children became preoccupied folding, sticking and flying. It's flat so it's easy to pack and leads to competitions and giggles when the plane ends up in sticky situations.

9) A map for walks

As a family we prefer to go off the beaten track so wherever we go we always take an Ordinance Survey scale map on with us. This allows us to find picnic spots, walks or get access say to a river for paddling in. If you are in a foreign location ask at your hotel and make sure you know where you are allowed to explore, as well as what plants and animals to avoid.

10) Upload the geocaching app onto your phone

games for the family

Geocaching has become a world-wide treasure-hunting phenomenon so now, almost everywhere you go there are geocaches to be found. Try it before you go away so you get into the swing of it by uploading the app onto your phone. The key here is that people hide geocaches in their favourite places so you get to see places that you'd have never have known about otherwise. Remember to check when this needs to use your phones roaming capacity.

Wendy has also written a Holiday Planner Pack which includes a more traditional packing list. Visit their website to get your free copy in the post.

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