Statistics show kids who play with nautical toys are the most likely to love cruising when they're older. OK, we made that up. But cruise fanatic parents can still fuel little ones' curiosities about exploring the world by ship with cruise-inspired gifts. Some of the best cruise toys and activities also make for great ways to keep kids busy while you're flying or driving to your homeport. (Parenting win.) Below are five of our favorites.
Every little sailor needs a Fisher-Price toy cruise ship. This two-in-one playset designed for toddlers features a toy cruise ship with a fold-out pier that also opens up to a beach scene, complete with a hammock and palm tree. When the thirst for adventure strikes, kids can take their figurines jet-skiing, fishing or snorkeling. Buttons enable the hammock to swing on its own or play songs, sounds and phrases.
Playfoam -- the less messy alternative to Play-Doh -- is all the rage among kids these days. Instead of just getting them a standard set, opt for this one with a fun underwater adventure theme. Little ones' imaginations will run wild next time they're on a cruise, and while they might not spot a mermaid, you can always hope for dolphins.
Inspire your little one to dream big with this kid-friendly scratch-off world map poster. Upon returning from a family cruise, scratch off the destinations you visited to reveal their vibrant colors and designs. Each has its own unique image that tells a story. The more you scratch off, the more your child will be inspired to see the world.
Handcrafted building block company Uncle Goose is the maker of this nautical toy building blocks set, which is not only fun but also educational. The blocks, made from sustainable Michigan basswood, feature matching semaphores, NATO phonetics, Morse codes and maritime signal flags, offering kids a dose of maritime history as they play. The nontoxic ink also means parents don't have to worry about their little ones putting the blocks in their mouths.
Kids are engineers and explorers by nature, and this LEGO toy cruise ship is the perfect way to combine their love of building things with their desire for adventure. Part of the company's "Friends" collection, this playset will take figurines Mia, Maya and Andrew on the trip of a lifetime, with everything from a water slide to a snack bar serving up refreshing fruit drinks. In reviews, parents report their kids haven't been able to stop playing with the set, even months after putting it together.