12 awesome souvenir ideas for kids

12 awesome souvenir ideas for kids

by Stacy Roman
Stripes Europe

One of the fun parts about traveling throughout Europe is the opportunity to collect different souvenirs from the amazing places you visit. When exploring with kids, you’ll often get pulled in the direction of the nearest gift shop or souvenir stand. After informally polling friends and colleagues, we came up with a list of 12 items worth bringing home. The main rule of thumb? Whatever item your child picks shouldn’t end up in the trash or in a garage sale.

  1. Food. Okay, food doesn’t quite fit the caveat listed above, but is a tasty take-away to bring home. In France, hit up a local patisserie for fresh baked macarons, cream puffs or eclairs. When in Italy, find fun shaped dried pasta to bring home and recreate their favorite dishes as a reminder of your trip.
  2. Books. Books are a great way to capture memories of your vacation. Pick up a city guidebook or a special souvenir book with fun facts or information about the region you’re exploring. Or do as one mom did and pick up a blank adventure book similar to the one in the animated film “Up,” and fill it with your favorite pictures. Another idea is to find a book which is special to that region. Pick up a copy of “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” or “Le Petit Prince” written in French.
  3. Teddy bears or stuffed animals. For the younger ones, teddy bears and stuffed animals can definitely be a hit. Find ones with local flair and have fun. Take photos of your new family member enjoying the sights with you. We have a stuffed DOMO monster who gets into all sorts of shenanigans while on vacation with us.
  4. Keychains. One friend picks up special keychains for her daughter with teddy bears on them. Her daughter then hangs them up on a cork board to display. One of my favorite keychains to collect are LEGO minifigures. Many stores in the larger cities have limited edition ones for that particular city.
  5. Stamped currency. These are actually really fun souvenirs for kids. Put the penny or cents in the machine and watch it stretch and stamp a picture on the currency. A friend collects them for her son and places them in a globe-shaped piggy bank.
  6. Wearable souvenirs. Growing up, I loved seeing where my friends had been just by looking at their Hard Rock Cafe t-shirt. Hoodies, hats, visors and even printed socks are fun reminders. Once t-shirts get a bit worn, be sure to save them to make into a quilt into the future.
  7. Scarves. While scarves can definitely go into the wearables section, there are so many different types, it deserves its own mention. Even if your kids aren’t fans of wearing them, you can use them as decoration. My son is a huge European football fan and picks out a soccer scarf every place we visit. We hang the scarves on dowels around his room as decorations.
  8. Magnets. Brightly colored mementos clinging to the front and/or sides of the refrigerator? Yes, please! Most magnets are very inexpensive and are decorated with plenty of reminders of your favorite spots. Grab ones with clips or bottle openers incorporated for dual functionality.
  9. Small trinkets or mini snow globes. Did your child fall in love with the Colosseum in Rome or the Acropolis in Athens? Let them relive their favorite spot with a miniature replica. Soon their desk will be lined up with a tiny Sagrada Familia or Eiffel Tower. If you visited a castle, keep the fairy tale alive with a mini snow globe.
  10. Patches or flags. One of my friends has a son who loves collecting patches. Not only are they flat, inexpensive and easy to pack, but they can add a little spice to your child’s backpack. If you don’t want to sew or glue them on, tack them up on a corkboard. Likewise with small flags. Cities, provinces and individual states often sell their own individual flags.
  11. Stickers. A timeless souvenir which has never really disappeared is the humble sticker. Kids can plaster them on their water bottles and laptops (or hang on to them for use as bumper stickers when they get older). It’s a great way to tell whose computer or phone is whose.
  12. Christmas ornaments. Christmas ornaments were the hands-down favorite souvenir. If you have little ones, you can purchase sturdier plastic ones. They’re great for reminiscing while decorating the tree and also make wonderful gifts to pass down when they get older.

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