5 tips for entertaining a toddler on a long train journey

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As I don’t drive, we’re pretty used to traveling by train. I’ve been taking the girls down to Kent to my sisters since Baya was a baby, and if we go back to visit our parents it’s a 5-hour train journey. The girls are big enough to be able to keep themselves entertained pretty well – they read, or draw, play Go-Fish or listen to some music. Toddlers need a little bit more entertaining on long train journeys though! I took Beastie with me to London a few weeks back and he was good as gold on the train, we read and played and he didn’t get cross once {even without his sisters to entertain him!}

We’re traveling by train to Bluestone today – last year we hired a car, but to hire the seven-seater is crazy expensive, so we decided to go by train instead. We’ve a 5 hour journey with only one change – good in some ways, but it means the second train we’re on for 4 and a half hours – sometimes train changes break it up if nothing else!! The key to keeping a toddler entertained is to be prepared {like a good girl scout!}.

Here are my five top tips for entertaining a toddler on a long train journey…

1| Pack plenty of snacks. I never rely on a dining car or trolley {expcept in an emergency} For one they’re expensive, and don’t have much of a selection. We always take a picnic if we’re travelling over lunch time, but I also make sure I have plenty of snacks for in between – mini boxes of raisins, carrot sticks and houmous, tubs of berries, packs of fruit ‘sweets’ {beastie loves Kiddilicious Fruit Wriggles}, tube yogurts…anything that is light and easy to carry {and eat}. Make sure you have plenty of drinks with you too.

2|Take some toys I always pack a little bag of toys – I usually use one of those canvas shopping totes and keep it all in one palce. You don’t want to have to unpack half of your luggage to find a few toys! We take some mini books {these Furchester Hotel books are our current favourites}, little cars, mini figures {hello Cookie Monster and Elmo!} model animals, a couple of little tubs of playdough, mini aqua draw – basically anything small and non-noisy – oh and no bouncy balls!!

3|Plan some games Games can distract them if they get a bit bored – Eye Spy is a good one – I simplify it for my toddlers and have them spot the thing I say – or if there are animals I say “Can you see something that goes Moo?”

4|Go for a walk The good thing about being on a train is you can let your toddler walk up and down the aisle {holding your hands}. A change of scene and a stretch of their legs makes a big difference – toddlers aren’t meant to be sat still for long periods of time! If the disabled/buggy bay isn’t full I’ll let mine sit on the floor and play with some toys there.

5|Sing! I used to feel ridiculous about singing nursery rhymes out loud IN PUBLIC!! You know what – I couldn’t care less anymore, and truthfully, I’m sure the other passengers would rather put up with my singing than a screaming toddler! Mine have all loved a good sing song and it cheers us all up!

Finally – don’t feel bad about getting out the iPad. I never had one when the girls were little, but we do now and we do use it. I wouldn’t let Beastie sit and play games or watch shows for the whole 5 hours, but I don’t see anything wrong with a little TV time. Beastie also loves playing the Cbeebies games, and it’s a sure-fire way of getting him to sit still and be quiet for half an hour. I usually try and save it for the end of the journey when we’re all tired and fed up and sung out!

Do you have ay other trips for making long journeys with toddlers less stressful?



  1. May 16, 2016 / 15:08

    I love that photo of Beastie! I agree with all of your tips – we’d never get anywhere if I didn’t take plenty of entertainment with me. I can’t drive, so during the week it’s the bus or train for us!

  2. May 16, 2016 / 20:36

    My top tip is to give zero shits about other people and do what you need to do to connect and keep yourself and your child sane! x

  3. May 17, 2016 / 06:52

    Love the fact none of these tips involve a screen. But not as much as I love the thought of a Pixie family singalong on the train. I wanna join!

  4. May 17, 2016 / 14:50

    I love Mel’s tip :) I’ve never thought of doing a sing along – I’ll have to give that one a go !

  5. May 17, 2016 / 16:03

    Great tips Polly! How gorgeous does Beastie look up there?! Hope you had a lovely journey and enjoy Bluestone xx

  6. May 23, 2016 / 08:43

    Food and Tablet keeps my little ones engaged the whole time! They are not much interested in the scenery.

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