Traveling with kids is never easy. But with a little extra planning and prep work, you can make traveling with kids smoother and less stressful for everyone! Having the right travel toys for kids is essential for going through long road trips, traffic jams, layovers, and flight delays. The best toys are always the ones that will keep your child engaged, stimulated, and busy, which is especially important when traveling. So, as you prepare for any upcoming travel this holiday season, save and share this list of our 15 top travel toys to keep your kids having fun and your mind sane!
RELATED: These travel accessories for kids are SO helpful during any long travel days!
Why you need travel toys
Having travel toys makes travel easier. Period. From packing for a big family trip to being on the go in restaurants and airports, travel toys will help make traveling smoother and more enjoyable for everyone in your family. Keeping your kids busy, entertained, and distracted during long travel days (and those unwelcomed delays) is so important for kids.
Experts suggest that when kids are content with their play, their confidence, emotional self-regulation, and patience improve. So whether you’re on a plane or in the car this holiday travel season, having travel toys is a must for smooth and happy campers.
RELATED: We love making busy bags for easy on-the-go activities in the car, on the plane, or even in a restaurant!
Types of travel toys
Several categories of travel toys can help to define what is good to take on the road. If you are heading in the car with kids, read our best tips for family road trips.
- Busy boards
- Coloring books
- Handheld sensory toys
- Mini versions of games
- Sticker books
It may or may not feel obvious as to what toys travel best. Taking a giant construction truck or a huge set of wooden building blocks is not the best choice for travel. Of course, we want our kids to be content and busy during travel, but what do you do if they get upset that you didn’t bring their favorite toy from home?
This is a good time to invest in a little something new to make travel exciting! Check out our favorites below.
PRO TIP: Traveling with compact and lightweight toys is always the best type.
Preschool Plus Travel Toy
The Yoto Mini has brought my boys so much joy. Listen to the daily podcast, songs, stories, and so much more on the go. Compatible with headphones. It’s an audio player without the noise of the internet or YouTube.
5 best travel toys for toddlers
Our favorite toys for one-year-olds during travel are sure to keep your littlest ones busy on long travel days.
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Suction Cup Spinners
Anything that sucks on a surface and spins is a guaranteed win. When you are not used to travel, add to the bath to give bathtime a fresh idea.
Fat Brain Toys Original Dimpl
Who doesn’t love a fidget toy? Keep your toddler busy with this simple, yet fascinating, color-popping travel toy.
LiKee Montessori Sensory Toy
Your toddler will love pulling, pushing, and stretching this silicone sensory toy as they explore new directions and tricks.
Melissa & Doug Children’s Book – Poke-a-Dot
Books are truly the best anytime! And we love these hands-on Poke-a-Dot books by Melissa & Doug to keep your kids learning and engaged in the car or on the plane.
Melissa & Doug Wooden Work & Play Desktop
Your little one will love this busy board that will help keep them involved in pretend play and exploring their sensory awareness. Works well with plane rides.
5 best travel toys for preschoolers
When it comes to ages 3-5, there are so many amazing toys for preschoolers, but these top choices are always a hit!
I Spy Travel Card Game
Take the classic game of I Spy on the go with this easy-to-grab and pack I Spy card game that will keep the whole family having fun on the road.
LCD Writing Tablet
We love a mess-free way of doodling on the go to promote creativity, imagination, and great fine motor skill practice.
Melissa & Doug On the Go Water Wow!
Just add water! Another fuss-free way to keep your preschooler having fun and being creative during travel is by using this all-in-one paintbrush and reusable coloring pad.
Skillmatics Dot It Art
Strengthen fine motor skills using dot stickers to help keep your preschooler occupied and having fun! This is a BEST SELLER! Families adore this.
5 best travel toys for big kids
Keeping your older kids, ages 6 and up, entertained with big kid toys can be hit or miss, but these favorites are always winners!
Atomic Fidget Ball
All three of my boys loved this fidget ball on our last road trip to the beach.
SHASHIBO Shape Shifting Box
This award-winning innovative fidget toy is super compact and easy to throw in any diaper bag or kid’s backpack for travel to keep them distracted and stimulated anywhere.
Guess in 10 Marvel
We love all the Guess in 10 games for big kids! They are such a fun way to keep your kids learning while playing on the go.
Plus Plus Portable Case
We love, love, love taking our Plus Plus Big to go. Now we can! There is also an option for the smaller-sized Plus Plus with base plates if you prefer the small. (I am team BIG!)
Magnetic ThinkFun Rush Hour
Challenge your big kid’s critical thinking and problem-solving skills with this super fun Rush Hour Jr. game that comes with a travel bag for easy packing.
Our favorite way to pack toys for travel
The best way to pack and travel with toys is using these clear zippered bags.
Packing is no joke, especially with kids. Which is why we LOVE these for travel! They offer easy access and visibility. We love that you can see through the bag so you always know what you are grabbing. So whether you are digging through your diaper bag in the car, or reaching in the overhead bin on the plane, there’s no guessing as to what toy you get.
Plastic Mesh Zipper Pouch
We use these bags for games, puzzles, and on the go everywhere. This 12-pack will get your organizing party started!
RELATED: Toys that you already use for your kids as quiet time toys and activities also make for great travel toys!
Make travel smoother and simpler with the right toys
Traveling with kids doesn’t have to be stressful! With the right toys for travel, packing tips, and a lot of patience, you next trip is guaranteed to be smoother and easier for everyone with a little extra prep work!
Activities on Demand
Want great ideas without the ads? Download these 20 hands-on learning games for kids.
FAQ about travel toys
The best types of toys for travel are compact, lightweight, and most importantly keep your kids busy!
The best toys to keep a toddler busy on a plane are ones that are engaging. Our favorites include handheld sensory play toys and books!
Packing for airplane travel with kids can feel overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Keeping your kids content and busy is so important for smooth travel. Pack fun, stimulating travel toys that are handheld and compact for easy travel.