A Visual Packing List For Toddlers

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We are deep in the throes of ‘three-ness’ around here. Lots of big emotions and a burgeoning independent streak. I once read a quote about how terrible it is that just as our kids are starting to truly grow into their own personalities (what a wonderful thing!) we call it the ‘Terrible Two’s’ or another equally derogatory name. I’m not saying it isn’t hair pulling-ly challenging, that I don’t want often want to scream/lock myself in my room with my coffee and never come out… but I’m trying to see it in another way as well, and I hope this Visual Packing List for Toddlers is a step in the right direction!

Toddler packing backpack
All packed and ready to go!

My daughter is creating her own sense of who she is. She is discovering all the things she is capable of, and learning to take care of herself. All of these things are what I wish for her now, and things I hope she feels confident in as a tween/teen/adult. With this in mind I have started trying to create opportunities for her to practice her independence and have successes. The bonus is that by seeing myself as a facilitator for her independence, it takes some of the pressure off me! It is not my job to cajole and threaten and nag her into doing things. It is my job to set limits and clear expectations, and to guide her in taking care of her own needs.

To that end I have started to set up our home in a way that encourages her newfound independence. (Follow along on our Facebook to see our journey towards a more Montessori home environment!) She has taken to many of these things like a champ! Not to say there isn’t some practice that still needs to happen, ie brushing your teeth doesn’t mean half an hour in the bathroom playing with the water and squeezing toothpaste everywhere… we’re a work in progress!

Visual packing checklist for kids
Love this backpack and it’s adorable bird of unknown origin…

Visual Packing List

Since we enjoy lots of outdoor adventures and traveling, I thought a great skill to introduce would be packing her own daypack! She already has an adorable daypack from Deuter, and loves to put all manner of things in there and tote it around the house or bring it with to the grocery store:) She is pre-reader so I wanted a simple, visual checklist of just the necessities for her. The first time we used it I worked with her to identify the pictures (ie the Teddy Bear signifies ‘toy’ not just a literal teddy bear.) We also talked about the ‘Hat’ and how depending on weather we might want our sunhat or our cozy winter hat. For now I always check her bag and/or have extras, but I am excited to foster this bit of independence that will be SO helpful when we start preschool! *Added bonus, this gives her a job to do while getting ready to leave which means I actually have time to brush my hair, hooray for the small things! Without further ramblings, here is the visual packing list for toddlers and a few of our favorite things:)

KIds Visual Packing List



kids visual packing list
Build independence and get out the door faster!

20 thoughts on “A Visual Packing List For Toddlers

  1. What a great idea! I can work this for my slightly older children too! They are both Daisies in Girl Scouts – a visual packing list would be ideal! At least for the basic things, more complex camping trips may require specific items, but I can always just tell them what.

    1. Ooh, I can’t wait till my little is old enough for scouts:) I am working on one for camping specifically, keep an eye out! I would love to get her in the habit of making sure she has a first aid kit!

  2. What a great idea! This is what I do for my toddler and it makes our outings so much more pleasant when she has her own little bag of goodies that she packed herself.

    1. Yes I’ve found mine is more excited when she knows she packed her snacks;)

    1. Yes! Giving them opportunities to be in control meets such a vital need for the 3 year olds!

  3. This is a great list. I also have a certain list of items that I try and remember for my kiddos when we go places. I have a two-year-old, and it is crazy how independent they want to be.

    1. Yes, it’s fun and exhausting watching them exert their newfound independence!

  4. This is such a great idea! I am so making packing lists for my older girls now. I feel like I am always running out the door yelling “don’t forget this” and “did you remember this” lol. I can’t wait to share this with my sister and 2-year-old nephew. BTW, I do remember girls being three, sounds like you’re handling it well! =)

    1. Yes I felt like I was nagging and stressed just getting out the door to go to the park! So the packing list was a win-win:) I handle 3 better some days than others haha, they certainly know how to push our buttons don’t they?!

  5. It is so important to help our kids learn independence! This visual packing list is perfect. Allowing them to do things on their and make simple choices own goes a long way in tackling their need to be independent. Good parenting, mama!

    1. Thank you! This independence requires much more patience than I had anticipated but it is so worth it:)

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