Whoever said, “it’s about the journey, not the destination” wasn’t traveling with a toddler. Traveling with a toddler in tow certainly adds a challenge, as they are balls of energy from the moment they wake until they go to bed. Confining that energy ball to a small space, be it a plane, train, or automobile, for hours on end keeping them entertained takes some planning, some patience, and some great travel toys. So check out the tips below and the ultimate list of travel toys for toddlers to keep your little one happy on your journey.
The Ultimate List of Travel Toys for Toddlers
Tips for the travel toys
Keep the travel toys, well, travel toys
When you’re not on a trip, keep your travel toys for toddlers out of reach of your little one. You don’t want them to get bored with the toys by using them everyday, so make them a “special treat” for when you’re on the go.
Keep the travel toys a surprise
Unwrapping a present is fun for anyone, so give your little one a special treat on the road. It doesn’t even need to be a new toy! You can wrap it and say, “Guess which toy I packed for you” and then have them guess. It’s fun for your little one and chips away at the trip time.
It’s not just the toys
If you are traveling, chances are your child will be stimulated by the new sounds, smells, and sites of a new place. Don’t underestimate the power of natural stimulation and it’s entertaining abilities with your toddler.
Don’t just rely on the travel toys to entertain your toddler for hours. Play, create, and imagine with them. While traveling, it’s a special opportunity to be with your family without distraction and without escape. Use it as some quality bonding time.
Ok, I know you just want me to get to the goods and list the best travel toys for toddlers, so here they are:
The best travel toys for toddlers:
Wikki Sticks are super cool, super light, super compact, and super fun for toddlers with some fine motor skills. They are sticks of yarn covered in wax that shape and mold together to create whatever your child’s imagination allows. From making stick people to spelling out words by creating letters, it’s worthy of a few hours of fun and not much space in your luggage. Check current prices here!
I advise against crayons and markers on-the-go unless your toddler is the saintly kind who somehow keeps the ink on the paper and not on the upholstery of airplane seats and car windows. Aqua Doodle allows your little one to put their imagination on a “canvas” without the mess. If you can’t guess by the name of it, it uses a water pen to draw on a special (extremely lightweight) mat. It’s very compact, clean, and fun. Check current prices here!
I never leave our house without stickers in my purse. They’re a great distraction to have on hand and cheap to buy. They’re a great way to make friends as well. My son usually passes them out to our neighbors on whatever mode of transportation we’re on, making the times he does have a slight meltdown more bearable for them because they have been wooed by his cuteness. Check current prices here!
Kids Travel Tray
These are great for any mode of transport. It’s a one-stop-shop for your little one and all of their travel goods. They come with slots for their pens, a hard platform for coloring or other toys, and it’s great for snack time too. Check current prices here!
Boogie Board Play N’ Trace LCD eWriter
We’ve come a long way from Etch a Sketches, I’ll tell you that. This is a battery operated drawing pad. It’s great because your child can draw freehand whatever their mind conjures up, or you can get accessory pads that attach to the back and they can trace whatever scene or letters the sheet has. This toy has longevity which is always a plus as it’s fun far beyond toddlerhood. My only complaint on this toy is that the pen is not attached to the toy, so it can be lost easily. I would fashion something to secure it with string or tape. Check current prices here!
LeapFrog Scout’s Learning Lights Remote
These talking remotes pack at least an hour of entertainment at a time for toddlers. And real talk: this toy definitely taught my son how to count to ten by 18 months. PSA, do not use this on public transportation, as it will drive your fellow passengers insane. It is great for car rides though. Check current prices here!
A generic addition to the list, yes, but a great one. Whether your child is into dinosaurs, farm or safari animals, or reptiles, there are plastic toys for your child (and chances are you might already have them). Bring one or two of them along to play some make believe on your journey. Check current prices here!
Never underestimate the power of books! I always bring three books on our travels (more if it’s a car trip). If there is a favorite book your kid loves, break the “travel toys should only be travel toys” rule and bring it along. Check current prices here!
Stickers, but fancier. These are great because you can create scenes with the stickers and reuse them. And a bonus: you won’t be scraping off stickers from airplane trays with your fingernails at the end of your flight because they’re easy to peel off. Check current prices here!
Melissa & Doug K’s Kids Take-Along Shape Sorter
Keep your child engaged by teaching them shapes. This toy is great to develop their fine motor skills, learn patience, as well as their colors and shapes. It’s a little bigger than the other travel toys I recommend, but it’s worth the extra space it takes up. It’s hard on top with a soft bottom and zippers up so the shapes don’t fall out. This is a toy that your little one can work on and develop from young toddlerhood to late toddlerhood. Check current prices here!
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