Lonely Planet has, for years, put out quality, appealing travel and guide books for adults, and, more recently, has published some exceptionally high quality informational and activity travel books for kids. This year’s selection is no different.
What kid doesn’t love a pop-up book? This new series of pop-up books takes kids on a quick trip to a far away city, flying through New York, London, or Paris. Get up close and personal with notable landmarks in each of those locations, including the lions in Trafalgar Square, the Moulin Rouge, and the Brooklyn Bridge. The books’ contents are fun and colorful, and each page includes an interesting fact about the depicted scene. The final page in each book includes a monochromatic map of part of the city. Each retails for under $10, and would be a fun way to travel around the globe without leaving the house. Or, parents could use them to prepare a little one for an upcoming trip to one of the cities.
If your kids are more into activity books, Lonely Planet has also published a series including a journal, a map, and a book of games, perfect for your family road trip or international trip this summer. And, though these are generally aimed toward kids 5-12, older kids and parents will also enjoy using them.
Anyone who spends a lot of time in the car with their kids understands how easy it is to get sick of the same car old game ideas. And kids aren’t always the best at coming up with new ones. Boredom Buster: Games for the Road is chock full of activities for the car, including story starters, physical challenges, quizzes, secret codes, tongue twisters, board games, bingo, memory games, mazes, logic puzzles, and more. You’d have to go on a really long trip to use up all the activities in this book. And many of them have great replayability. Most are easily played from inside the book, but some of the board games might be easier if you photocopied the board in advance, as the book doesn’t lay flat. Add in some coins or tokens, and you have everything you need for your kids to be entertained for hours. You might just want to join in the fun.
With a tear-out world map poster to fill in and over 180 stickers, My Family Travel Map allows kids to mark every journey your family takes. Each country in the world is represented on this map, including South Sudan. Even Wales and Scotland are listed separately from England. Handy for today’s political climate. The back of the map includes facts for each of the 226 locations listed, allowing your kids to learn a bit about the places you’ll visit and encouraging them to dream about visiting more. The included stickers come in a variety of colors, shapes, and purposes. A page of location beacons help label where you live, where you’ve been, and where you will be. There are also stickers you can use to mark interesting animals you’ve seen, modes of transportation you took, unusual weather you encountered, and postcards you sent, plus stars, hearts, people, and several kinds of stickers that you can label yourself. Kids can mark important events or experiences on the map along with the locations. With so many stickers and such a detailed map, this is one activity that kids can add to for years to come.
For kids with a chronicling bent, My Travel Journal is a hardback book filled with plenty of blank space for writing (with writing prompts) and graphical organizers for getting down your thoughts when you have them. Talk about your favorite parts of the trip or the parts you’d never do again, take notes for future postcards to send, make lists, sketch scenes, and more. Then close it all up with the elastic closure. Pair with a fancy set of pens or pencils and your kid is ready to hit the road.
I’m always looking for ways to make traveling more fun and less arduous for my kids, and these books fill the bill. They have earned a permanent place in our family.
Note: I received copies of these for review purposes.