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Since we left on our trip around the world 10 months ago, we have traveled a lot—sometimes we spent many hours on trains and buses—and two ways we have found that allow us NOT to use screens with kids are music and drawing tablets.

Music without screens

Screens are not healthy for a young mind under construction, which is why we wanted a music device without a screen that would also be small enough to not take much space in our luggages: we chose to buy two second-hand iPod Shuffle (4th generation) on eBay, and it was the best decision ever (it’s not very easy to put the music on them, but it’s a small price to pay 😅)! The headphones are Sennheiser PX100-II: they're foldable, and take little space in their backpacks which make them ideal for traveling.

This solution is They’re also great when Oliver and Emily don’t want to listen to the same music at home, or one of them wants to spend some time alone.

Drawing without wasting paper

These coloring tablets were revolutionary for us. Not only are they thin and light, perfect for traveling, and a lot more eco-friendly than using paper, but you can use them in so many ways.

There are many on the market, but unfortunately we couldn’t find them locally in Vietnam so we chose the best seller on Amazon (this was before deciding to stop buying on Amazon): our tablet is NEWYES and it's ok, but I think they’re all the same, so if you find one locally and maybe from a sustainable brand, it’s better (and let me know in the comments, please 🙂).

Game ideas:

  • Free drawing
  • Copy images from newspapers
  • Copy objects that we see around us
  • Tic-tac-toe
  • Practice the letters
  • Practice the numbers
  • Practice the shapes
  • One draws, the other guesses
  • One "commissions", the other draws
  • Make straight lines to fill the tablet
  • The parent draws/write, the child copies
  • Any game on paper, like the hangman

Other screenless devices that I like, but I haven't tried

I’m sure our drawing tablets are made in China, we couldn’t find a better alternative (if you have one, please send I try way and I’ll include it in the article).

When possible, buy from a local shop or choose products made in your country to avoid shipping and to reduce your carbon footprint; also avoid “made in China” as much as possible in order not to support the exploitation of labor (and to avoid health risks from low quality materials).

Ocarina - mp3 player for children, made in Italy

Hörbert - mp3 player for children, made in Germany

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