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35+ Best Travel Toys for Toddlers

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Traveling with toddlers can be a challenging experience – but it doesn’t have to be! You just need to be properly prepared with toys and activities to keep them entertained.

Little ones have a short attention span and can easily get bored, fussy, and restless during long journeys. But, with the right travel toys (and snacks, lots of snacks!), you can keep them entertained and engaged, making long trips enjoyable for both you and your child.

Here are the best toddler travel toys and practical tips to help you plan your family vacation and keep kids engaged on your next trip. These toys promote fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, problem-solving skills, and imaginative play.

Our Experience

As parents, we’ve spent countless hours searching for the best travel toys that will keep the kids occupied during long flights and road trips.

With two young children aged 3 and 6, we’ve had plenty of experience testing out different toys and activities on our family adventures, from long flights to the beaches of Phuket and Bali to long road trips from Brussels to Venice and Athens.

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In this guide, we’ll be sharing our top picks for the best travel toys for toddlers, based on our own experience and feedback from other parents.

So, whether you’re planning a long-haul flight or a cross-country road trip, read on for some inspiration and ideas to keep your little ones happy and entertained on the go!

How to Choose Travel Toys

Traveling with toddlers can be quite a challenge, especially if you’re planning a long journey. Keeping them engaged and entertained throughout the journey can be quite a task, but travel toys can make things a lot easier.

However, not all toys are suitable for traveling, and you need to choose carefully. The perfect toy for traveling with toddlers need to be quiet, compact, lightweight, mess-free, and allow kids to play independently.

  • One of the most important things to consider when choosing travel toys for toddlers is their size and weight. You want something that’s easy to pack and won’t take up too much space in your luggage. Choose toys that are compact and lightweight, so they don’t add too much weight to your luggage.
  • Another important consideration is the noise level of the toys. No one wants to be stuck on a plane or train with a noisy toy, so try to choose toys that are quiet and won’t disturb other passengers with much noise. Look for toys that are designed to be played with quietly or that have volume controls.
  • Mess-free toys are also essential when traveling with toddlers. You don’t want to be dealing with spills and stains while on the go. Choose toys that are easy to clean and won’t create a mess.
  • Take into account the personality of your kid. What do they enjoy playing with at home? You know your kid best!
  • All travel toys should have no small parts, so that kids can play safely without supervision.
  • Finally, choose toys that allow toddlers to play independently. This gives them a sense of control and helps them develop their creativity and imagination. Look for toys that are easy to use and don’t require adult supervision.

In conclusion, travel toys for toddlers need to be carefully chosen to ensure they are quiet, compact, lightweight, mess-free, and allow kids to play independently. With some of the following great travel toys toys, traveling with toddlers can be a fun and enjoyable experience for the whole family.

Tips for Keeping Little Hands Busy

Before we get into the list of the best travel toys for toddlers, here are some tips to keep your child engaged and entertained during long journeys.

  • Get lots of new toys – anything they haven’t seen for a long time counts as new too.
  • You don’t need lots of toys, for example 2-3 toys for a 3-hour flight.
  • Wrap each toy like a present, as this will add to the excitement and anticipation for your child.
  • Give the toys one at a time, as this will prolong the excitement and keep your child engaged for more extended periods.
  • Get lots of snacks and a water bottle with you. Ok, not a tip on travel toys! But the last thing you want is to find out you have no snacks to give to your hungry kid. Then they become hangry and no toys can save you ūüôā
  • Some airlines give a small inflight entertainment gift for kids, which can be a great addition to your child’s travel toys. Some airlines don’t do that, especially the budget ones, so it’s best to be prepared.

Best Travel Toys for Toddlers

Busy Book

Busy boards are a perfect travel toy for young children as they promote problem-solving skills, and imaginative play, and keep little hands busy. If you only get one thing, this sensory board is a good option!

This busy book is a great option as it includes a variety of activities such as zippers, buttons, and puzzles that promote fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. The different textures, different designs, and different themes on each page make this one of the best sensory toys for independent play.

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Drawing Tablet

Drawing tablets are a great way to keep your little artist engaged during long journeys. This cute dinosaur drawing tablet is an excellent option as it allows your child to draw and erase as many times as they want, promoting imaginative play and creativity.

This LCD writing tablet is also lightweight and easy to carry, making it a great travel toy for toddlers.

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Mess-Free Drawing

Crayola Color Wonder is a mess-free coloring option that promotes creative play and imagination. The color wonder markers only work on the special color wonder paper, leaving no mess on clothes, hands, or furniture. The pack also includes a variety of coloring books that keep little hands busy for hours.

There are different sets depending on what your child likes, such as Peppa Pig, Minnie Mouse and Disney characters.

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Window Clings

Window clings are stickers that you can stick to the window again and again. The Melissa & Doug puffy safari stickers includes reusable puffy stickers that can be used on the windows and on the scenes included. You just need to book a window seat ūüôā

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Reusable Stickers

And more stickers – you can never have enough stickers with a toddler ūüôā This reusable sticker pad is a great option. It includes 150 reusable stickers that can be used on different scenes promoting imaginative play and creativity.

Just a heads up, these are reusable, but not indefinitely ūüôā Also, kids will usually stick them on the seat, on the tray, and anywhere but the sticker books – so stick with reusable stickers and not the simple ones.

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Suction Cup Spinner

Suction cup spinners are great toys as the bright colors and the movement keep the kids engaged. This suction cup spinner is lots of fun for toddlers. Just stick it on the window and let the kid turn it around.

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Memory Game

This Melissa & Doug memory game is perfect for traveling as there are no separate pieces that can be lost. The cards are colourful and with themes like farm and vehicles they are sure to keep the kids engaged. Kids just love raising the flaps!

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Spin and Learn Flashlight

This spin and learn flashlight is another great toy for younger toddlers. They get to learn the colors and it keeps them busy for quite some time.

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Pop It

Pop it toys are perfect for keeping little hands busy. This bright-colored pop it comes in several shapes and colors and is BPA-free and because it’s made of food-safe silicone you can use it for ice cubes too.

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Shape Sorter

Shape sorters are a great toy for promoting problem-solving skills and hand-eye coordination. This Shape Sorter by Melissa & Doug is a great option for traveling, as it includes nine shapes and a bag to carry them. The toy also encourages sensory skills and fine motor skills, making it a perfect travel toy for toddlers.

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Threading Toy

This threading toy encourages motor skills and eye-hand coordination. It is small enough for a kid to hold it and thread it – and the best part is that the mouse is tethered on the cheese making it perfect for traveling. Kids love helping the mouse eat the cheese!

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UFO

This UFO sensory toy is compact and lightweight making it perfect for traveling. Babies and toddlers alike love it, so it’s a good option if you have two little kids that can share toys.

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Buckle Toy

Buckle toys promote fine motor skills making them a great option for toddlers. This buster square is compact and lightweight – perfect for traveling.

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Buckle Toy Backpack

Another good option is this backpack with a buckle toy, if your kid doesn’t have a backpack. It’s great to store small toys and it’s one of the best toys on its own.

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Squigz

Squigz are building pieces that stick on flat surfaces (like a plane window) and they also stick with one another. They encourage creativity like all building blocks. We are big fans of Lego and Duplo, but these are a better alternative for traveling for kids of all ages.

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Magical Drawing Board

This magnetic drawing board is one of the best toddler toys, as small children love drawing on it, erasing it and starting all over again – and their older siblings love it as well! Putting this in your diaper bag and carrying it everywhere with you on your next trip is a fun way to keep kids engaged!

We always had a big magnetic drawing board for home and a travel-sized one for when we’re on the way. We have never been on a family vacation without one!

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Pipe Cleaners

Pipe cleaners are a great way to promote creativity when traveling. They are lightweight and compact and there are many different shapes you can create with them.

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Wikki Stixx

Wikki Stix are wax yarn sticks that you can stick on a window, on paper, or with one another. They encourage creativity and kids love them! The travel edition comes with a little bag to keep everything organized.

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Learn to Dress Monkey

Learn to dress monkey is so much fun for kids! It promotes fine motor skills in a playful way and it’s much more interesting than simple plush toys.

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Fidget Cube

This fidget cube is a fun toy for little fingers with many interactive activities. Fidget toys also promote sensory stimulation and encourages cognitive skills and problem-solving skills.

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Stacking Tower

This stacking tower is hands down one of our most favorite travel toys for our eldest. It is lightweight and each part goes into the bigger one in a babushka-like manner making it one of the most compact toys and perfect for travel (better for the hotel room than the plane ride or a long car ride though!)

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If you get this stacking tower in plastic, then kids get to use it in the bathroom and on the beach too!!

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Hand Puppets

Hand puppets are a great way to promote imaginative play and creativity during long journeys. These hand puppets are an excellent option as kids love the cute animals. The puppets are also soft and lightweight, making them easy to use on the go.

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First 100 Animals – Lift-the-flap book

The First 100 Animals book has over 50 flaps that kids love lifting and finding out what’s underneath them. The animals are grouped in farm animals, jungle animals and more categories. It keeps their interest with the real photos and the bright colors.

There are also similar board books with different themes like colors and shapes.

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Magnetic Puzzle

Magnetic puzzles are a great way to keep little hands busy and engaged during long journeys. This magnetic puzzle is perfect for older toddlers as it keeps them busy for hours. The cards show the image that the kid will recreate using the pieces.

It is an excellent option as it includes a variety of shapes and colors that promote problem-solving skills and hand-eye coordination. The puzzles are also magnetic, so you won’t be looking for them all over the place ūüôā

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Dot-to-Dot

Dot-to-dot for tiny tots is a fun activity book which includes different activities such as join-the-dots and mazes. These activity books are erasable, so the kids can play them again and again.

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Play-Doh

All kids love Play-Doh, but we also know how messy it can get. We only give our kids one or two of these tiny Play-Doh pots, and they keep busy with it for a while. You’ll need to keep an eye on them to avoid the mess and this is a last-resort type of solution!

Tip
For younger toddlers put some Play-Doh in a Ziploc, they get all the fun without the mess! Or even better see the alternative below. Older kids will make less of a mess, so be strategic with this one.

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Tip
To have maximum success with Play-Doh, you need the right tools. Grab a couple of these cookie cutters from the starter set and you’re good to go!

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Modeling Clay

Modeling clay is by far a better option compared to Play-Doh, as it doesn’t crumble and is relatively mess-free. Modeling clay does not harden easily, so you can use it on your return journey as well.

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Travel Doodle

Aqua Doodles are large mats on which kids can draw with a water-filled marker. This travel doodle board follows the same principle, but comes in the perfect size for traveling and is easily folded in a little bag for maximized portability.

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Liquid Motion Bubblers

These liquid motion bubblers keep kids entertained for hours. Young kids love the vibrant colors and they have a calmig effect (on adults too!). These go a long way as airplane toys, as they make up for the lack of change of scenery.

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Felt Quiet Book

This felt quiet book is great for younger toddlers, as they love playing with the vehicles and putting them on the scenes. It is one of the best quiet books, as it’s soft and lightweight – and machine washable!

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Travel Tray

A travel tray is a great way to keep your child’s toys and activities organized during long journeys. This travel tray comes with a removable robot bag and it all folds into one bag. It is an excellent option as it includes a variety of pockets and compartments and it also includes a tablet holder.

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Toniebox

Kids love listening to stories and songs on a Toniebox! While it’s not meant only for traveling, if you add headphones it is the perfect toddler travel toy. It’s a great screen-free activity that keeps kids engaged.

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(Alternatively, you can get a kids tablet like Fire HD 10 Kids Pro tablet that comes with one year of Amazon Kids+ full of songs, books, and educational games and videos)

Kids tablet

If your kid has screen time, the Fire HD 10 Kids Pro tablet comes with one year of Amazon Kids+ full of songs, books, and educational games and videos that promote learning and creativity.

The tablet is also lightweight and easy to carry, making it a perfect travel toy for toddlers. The best part though is that if it breaks, they’ll replace it for free within the 2-year guarantee!

Note that Amazon Kids+ is only available in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, Austria, and Japan for now. You can either play the kids’ content on Amazon Prime or Youtube.

Tip
If you want to keep it screen-free, you can just play songs and stories on the tablet (that’s how we have been using it mostly).

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Headphones

These wireless headphones are a great option to keep your kid engaged with what they’re listening to or what they’re watching. The headphones are foldable and come with a carry bag – they’re perfect for traveling. Many different colors are available – and even one with a unicorn horn!

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How to Pack and Organize Travel Toys for Toddlers

When it comes to packing and organizing travel toys for toddlers, it’s essential to consider the size and weight of the toys. The Samsonite Dream Rider is lightweight and durable with sturdy wheels – it has survived both kids so far!

We have two of these and we use them for every single trip. The travel bag also includes a strap that you can use as a strap to carry the bag or to pull the kid – see photo ūüôā

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The best way to have everything organized in the Dream Rider is to have the toys in ziploc bags or packing cubes like these ones.

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Seat extenders

A seat extender gives extra room in a plane, so that little kids can sleep. These are lifesavers for a long flight. They are recommended for kids over 2 years old, as the kid has to have their own seat after that age. Just a note, kids are required to remain in their car seat when the seat belt sign is on (take off, landing, turbulence), if you are bringing one.

Tip
Check if your airline allows a seat extender, not all do!

JetKids by Stokke BedBox

The JetKids BedBox is a two-in-one solution: a travel cot and a ride-on suitcase for kids. Kids can store their toys in it, ride it through the airport and then use it as a seat extender to take a nap. It is perfect for flying long haul.

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Inflatable Seat Extender

This inflatable seat extender is a great option for budget-minded families that appreciate comfort on longer flights and want something more economical than the JetKids BedBox. This seat extender is inflatable and thus compact and lightweight.

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Tip
If you want a full equivalent to JetKids BedBox, then get also the ride-on Samsonite Dream Rider suitcase!

Conclusion: Have a Variety of Travel Toys for Toddlers

In conclusion, traveling with toddlers can be a daunting experience – but with the right travel toys, you can keep them entertained and engaged. You can make the journey enjoyable for both you and your child.

When choosing travel toys, consider the size, portability, and type of toy that your child enjoys playing with. Remember to wrap each toy like a present and give the toys one at a time. With a variety of travel toys that promote fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, problem-solving skills, and imaginative play, your child will stay engaged and entertained during long journeys.

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