Year-round inspirational gifts for little kids who love travel
This year I feel we have taken some leaps and bounds out of the ‘baby globetrotter’ stage of life and we are slowly emerging into the fun part of family travel. The bit where our kids actually know they are travelling, experiencing something new and learning from the world around us.
In short, I think the Globetrotters have been bitten by the travel bug, and I’m pouncing on this opportunity!!!
We know how difficult it can be to find that perfect gift for loved ones living overseas, and nobody wants to add to their clutter so we’ve been thinking of practical non-toy gifts for kids that will inspire their wanderlust.
Here are our top 5 picks for Christmas gift ideas for kids that will inspire them to travel and to learn about the world – and they are easy to get delivered from abroad!
All our recommendations have been tried and tested by the Globetrotters
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1. Little Passports
These home explorer subscriptions kits are a superb way to introduce kids to global learning. At first, my older girl didn’t seem that taken by them, so imagine my surprise when that was the number one thing she just asked me for this Christmas!!
What do you get: Available now in four main product types – Early Explorers, World Edition, Science Expeditions and USA Edition. They are best ordered as a 6-month or 12-month subscription.
A starter pack will be mailed to your child including a suitcase, world map, tags and stickers arrives first, followed by monthly topics or countries to add to your pack.
We trialled both the Early Explorers and World Edition with our Globetrotters – come see what they thought.
Cost: Depends on type and length of subscription package ordered and postage – the range is $14.45 – $19.95 per month – costings and locations they ship to are in our review.
2. Little Traveler Passport
Now turning our attention to “in real life” travel with kids. Are your kids looking to get more involved when you’re on the fly (literally!)? Our 6-year-old is now super keen to help out with things like ticket checking and passport control but of course, we don’t really want her holding “the real thing”. When I stumbled upon Little Traveler Passports – as close as they can get to the real thing!
What do you get: From the outside a pretty real looking passport; On the inside fun facts and activities on 20 different countries and a space to collect a passport stamp for each country.
Not only do they make a fabulous keepsake, but it keeps kids entertained during airport layovers with additional fun activities and room to write their own journal notes too.
They are currently available for Europe (in Navy/ Blush) and Asia Pacific (Mint/Charcoal). Cost: $9.95 AUD Will border officials actually stamp them?
We had no problems in Australia and the UK this summer with the border staff very politely and willingly engaging with the kids but I’m afraid Abu Dhabi border staff looked utterly confused…
Update 2021: these look to no longer be in stock, we’re looking for a great replacement product to send you to!
3. Lonely Planet Kids Travel Book
I bet many of you who travelled pre-kids owned at least one Lonely Planet guide in your life, right? (We may have a dozen or two…). But let’s be honest, these guide books are really more geared to the broke backpacker than the family with kids. Introducing LP Kids series!
What do you get: From Atlases to history books and city guides, these are superbly aimed at beginner to confident readers. My personal favourite so far (yes, I love them as much as the kids!) has been The Travel Book.
Far more than just an atlas, it goes into many facts and details about the people, climate and culture of every country around the world. It is a great resource book to pull off a shelf when we are talking about a particular country, animal or custom (so we use it in conjunction with a number of the products we talk about on this page).
Some of the newer titles that we’ve purchased and love include the Cities Book – covering an incredible 86 Cities (though as it recommends 8+ we will hold off a year or two on this one).
For the younger audience, we recommend Adventures around the Globe which includes stickers, maps and puzzles – and various other titles in this sub-series like Adventures in Busy Places, Adventures in Cold places and Adventures in Smelly Places (you can guess which one my boys love most!)
Cost – varies across the range but expect to pay between $8-$18 USD per book.
4. National Geographic Little Kids Magazine
My brother first subscribed Miss Z to the Little Kids magazine when she was 3. I’ll admit it took a year or two until she took the slightest notice of their bi-monthly arrival in the mail – now she simply laps them up (and her brothers after her – she’s now 11!).
They are ideally targeted to the 3 to 5-year-old age bracket but there’s obviously flex within this depending on your child’s interests and reading ability.
What do you get: An annual subscription to Little Kids Magazine has 6 issues, each is 24 pages, packed with activities and interesting facts – mostly on animals but also about countries and cultures, space, plants. They are full of high-quality pictures, bright colours and simple language but probably more interesting topics than they get in their class readers!
It is designed as a step into self-reading and children questioning the world around them. Most activities my daughter now does independently (with Master 4 hot on her heels) like spot the differences and missing letters. You also get 6 tear-out animal fact collector cards with each issue which seem to be Miss Z’s favourite part.
Cost: $15USD for 12 months – 6 magazines (note Amazon linked in this article now price match with National Geographics own site).
As your kids start to outgrow this series and become independent readers I would move them up to the more advanced National Geographic Kids, more complex language and facts but still full of glossy colourful images that encourage self-reading.
The magazine, like many other services these days is also tied to their NGkids website which is something we are starting to explore now in line with the kids’ school topics, and the National Geographic Kids YouTube channel.
(Note that reviews that appear on Amazon saying this magazine is full of advertisements were from 10+ years ago! This is no longer the case and is a product we believe in and happily recommend – albeit yes there is some product promotion, NG is now a company run for profit).
The Globetrotters are also starting to explore the reading series too. These are again, fabulous bright colourful photography books with interesting facts. They are broken down by reading levels so you can choose according to your child’s reading ability, ours have already become a much-loved section of the bookshelf.
5. And for your older kids – Leap & Hop Activity Books for Kids
Geared to a slightly older audience, these activity books are a must-have travel item for kids travelling with their parents to more adventurous locations around the world. They are better suited to learning on the go when you’re actually in one of the country/regions covered, but they would also make great preparation material ahead of an overseas trip too, or complement in-class learning.
What do your get: Each book is sold individually by country/region (currently there are 9 titles including Bali, Cambodia, Hong Kong, London, Paris, Myanmar, Rajasthan, Singapore and Sri Lanka – and very soon Vietnam).
Each is ever so beautifully and intricately illustrated, with facts and activities related to the location weaved throughout. They are aimed more towards the independent learner so 8 to 12 years old is ideal, though younger ones will still benefit from the activities and facts with guidance.
Cost: HKD $170 ($22USD approx) with worldwide shipping
For more on general ideas for kiddy entertainment on the go check our “getting through the flight” post as well as our selection of best travel toys for all age groups
It is truly exciting to be taking that mammoth leap from dragging our kids around the world behind us to having them independently wanting to learn more about the world. I hope that with a little extra wanderlust inspiration in your household your kids may also make that monumental step towards being confident little globetrotters too.
More gift ideas for travel-lovers?
We have plenty! You can pop over to the gift section of our website, or check out here:
- All our favourite unique gift websites – the perfect place to start for that hard-to-buy-for person!
- 60+ Gift Ideas for Tween Girls Who Love Adventure
- Ideas for the new parents-to-be who love travel
- Coolest gift ideas for travel-loving families
- Unique gift ideas for boys and men
- Camping toys and activities to enjoy nature
- What do you buy a Mama Who loves the Beach?
© Our Globetrotters
11 thoughts on “5 fun & educational travel gifts for kids”
These are such fantastic ideas! I think it’s a great idea to teach kids about the world, and these gifts do just that. We have a few different place mats and puzzles that have maps and info about different states and countries as well, which are quite cool and educational.
Fantastic list and many I didn’t know about. We’ve done little passports so I will have to explore the rest.
There are definitely some great and creative resources out there at the moment
Great Ideas! The NG Channel is already a favourite with my little one, so to subsribe to their magazine is a superb idea !
You won’t be disappointed!
I’ve added NG Kids to the subscription so you should be getting both next year. Cheers Joel & Kristy
Oooo, I really like the Lonely Planet books! Think I’ll add it to my list for Joshua!
Such great ideas Keri; one better than the other really.
Some great ideas here Keri, those passports do look really cool!
Aussie company too Shea, well recommend it for your kids they are the perfect travel gift for kids who want to learn more while they travel.
These all look great, really refreshing ideas.