Activity Ideas for Travel with Autism

Keeping your child occupied is a key element of smooth travel.  With summer on its way, I wanted to share some great ideas for travel activities.  In case you missed it, you can also read our blog on travel tips for children with autism here.  Below are ideas for specific activities and ways to pack them that are great for travel.

The Organization:

  • Binders
  • Binders can be a great way to keep activities portable and compact.  A variety of binder inserts can be used to help keep various parts of activities organized, but can also serve as play surfaces.  An excellent example of using zipper pouches or binder pockets is included in this pin:
There are also some great activities in there.  I love the Lego maze they created.

  • Zipper pouches
  • Zipper pouches can also be used independently of a binder to create activity or “busy bags” for kids.  It’s a great way to keep activities grouped, and you can swap them out a few at a time like we talked about in our blog on travel tips.  Handing your child one at a time not only helps prevent pieces from going everywhere, but keeps activities fresh.  If I see everything all at once, I may lose interest faster.  Here is a great example:
  • Pencil boxes/lunch boxes
  • Speaking of organization, using pencil boxes or old fashioned lunch boxes can be an awesome way to keep things together and create an activity space of its own.  For instance, the lid of the box can become the play surface.  I love this Lego lunch box complete with the platform on one side to build on.
Another great thing about the old metal lunch boxes is that one side can be used for anything magnetic.  Check out this example for magnetic letters:
  • Cookie Sheets
  • If you’re after another magnetic workspace, a cookie sheet works great.  It can also provide a flat surface for writing or coloring.  Cookie sheets are great with the edge to help prevent things from rolling off the edge.  I like this example here:
  • Attaching writing utensils:
  • To save yourself from finding melting crayons in the crevices of your car 3 months later, attaching them to whatever your child is writing on can be useful.  Using string or Velcro can be a great way to accomplish this.  I like this idea here with attaching a string to the pencil, keeping everything together.

Other Activities

In addition to a lot of what you see in the above articles, I’ve included some of my favorite activities for travel below.

  • Folder activities
  • You may have seen these before in your child’s classroom.  Simple matching, sequencing, or writing activities can be created in manila folders for easily accessible and well organized activities.  Here is an example of the same thing done with a binder.
  • Scavenger Hunt
  • This one is a little harder in a plane, but great for car or train travel.  You can create a checklist ahead of time of things you think you may see on the road.  Your family can keep an eye out and mark things off the list.
  • Crayola Color Wonder (or similar brands)
  • The idea of markers that only leave marks on specific paper is genius.  These have been around a while and are great for anywhere, but particularly conducive to travel.  I’m sure my parents wished these were around when I was young.
  • Reusable stickers
  • Melissa & Doug have several great sets of reusable stickers that often come with a background to use.  Think Colorforms from days of old.  They can be a great way to keep your child entertained and can be used over and over.

Hopefully, you find these tips and activities useful.  At the very least, they may spark some ideas of things you already have or kits you can create.  An occupied little traveler makes for a better experience for everyone.  Happy and safe travels!