When we set out for family adventures with our two toddlers, toys are always a priority on our packing list. Although we’ve been known to travel with large toys like our daughter’s Fisher-Price Piano and our son’s Strider Balance Bike, it’s important to find options that are compact, lightweight, and engaging for little ones away from home.
We’ve rounded up the 50 best toddler toys for travel, all tested from our personal experience with two young children.
The Best Toddler Toys for Travel Day
From noisy musical toys to educational activities, here are our favorite toddler travel toys for the car, plane, or train ride (and they double as excellent entertainment once you reach your destination!):
1. Coloring books
2. Non-rolling crayons
3. Sticker books
4. Doodle board
7. Busy board
Our son loves to undo the latches and buckles on his busy board. He even carries it through the airport like a briefcase.
8. Dry-erase cards
9. Melissa & Doug Poke-a-Dot Cards
I almost always include Melissa & Doug’s Poke-a-Dot cards and books on my lists of favorites for toddlers and babies. They’re simple and educational, and the novelty of their satisfying popping sound doesn’t wear off for young tots.
10. Melissa & Doug Water Wow Books
Another winner from Melissa & Doug is its collection of Water Wow Activity Books. Each book comes with a refillable water pen that toddlers use to reveal hidden colors and objects on each page. Once the page dries, they get to do it all over again. The brand makes Wow Water books in a range of themes, including animals, sports, and children’s shows like Blue’s Clues and Paw Patrol.
11. Fisher-Price Smart Purse
Although sound-making toys aren’t the best for trains or airplanes, they’re lifesavers on road trips. This interactive purse comes with a set of small toys inside and talks to toddlers when opened and closed.
12. Learning Journey Wheels on the Bus Toy
If your toddler can’t get enough of the “Wheels on the Bus” song, they’re going to love this button-activated singing toy from Learning Journey. Just make sure you’re ready to hear the same lyrics on repeat in the car!
13. Melissa & Doug Vroom & Zoom Steering Wheel
Help your young one feel like they’re behind the wheel with this creative pick from Melissa & Doug. The interactive steering wheel toy has music stations, classic car controls like turn signals and flashers, and a steering game all incorporated into its design.
14. Phone toy
15. Fisher-Price Counting Koala Linkimal
Fisher-Price’s Linkimals are musical toys that sing in sync when placed close to each other. This adorable Counting Koala Linkimal is an excellent road-trip choice for toddlers learning their numbers.
16. Board books
If you’re looking for quiet activities for air travel, you can’t go wrong with board books. Opt for favorites your child already knows by heart, or invest in a boxed set. Toddlers will love going through each book in the group and placing them back in the box when reading time is finished. We love Richard Scarry’s Busy Busy Boxed Set and these cute Books of Kindness.
17. Lift-the-flap books
18. Ready-to-Read Books
As your son or daughter starts to crave independence, the Ready-to-Read book series is a road-trip gem. Each page has a corresponding button that children can press to hear the text read aloud. These books feature characters from favorite movies and shows, like Mickey Mouse, Frozen, Moana, and Spiderman.
Toys to snuggle
If you’ve planned to have your toddler sleep on travel day, it’s helpful to bring a few well-loved toys from home for them to snuggle. A classic babydoll and bottle helps encourage pretend play on the road and at your destination, and softer dolls make for great companions at naptime.
20. Stuffed animals
Plan to bring your kids’ favorite stuffed animals and blankets along for the trip, especially if they love to sleep snuggled up with them. Jellycat is a beloved brand for stuffed animal friends, like this adorable bunny, pig, and chick.
The Best Toddler Travel Toys to Bring for Your Destination
Having a variety of toys on hand can help keep toddlers entertained and happy when outside their familiar home environment. From puzzles and blocks to cars and games, we’ve rounded up our favorite toys to pack in the suitcase and bring along for playtime away from home:
21. Wood puzzles
Whenever we go on trips by plane or car, we always bring a few puzzles. They engage toddlers for extended periods of time without taking up too much space in the suitcase. For a few classic wood options, try these alphabet, numbers, and shapes and animals puzzles.
22. EeBoo puzzle pairs
23. Wee Gallery puzzles
24. Kidoozie Peek ‘N Peep Eggs
The Peek ‘N Peep Eggs from Kidoozie have been a winner in our household for years. Each egg sports a different face expression and pops open to reveal a colored inside. The snap-shut egg carton doubles as a shape-sorter and offers almost as much entertainment as the eggs themselves.
25. Clock puzzle
Our son is at that curious age when he always wants to know what time it is. Help your child build on their interest in the time of day with a shape-sorting clock puzzle from Melissa & Doug or Fat Brain Toys.
26. Gear toys and puzzles
Every toddler seems to love objects that spin. Try a simple gear toy like this colorful caterpillar, or add an engaging dimension with Melissa & Doug’s interchangeable gear toy or Fat Brain Toys’ wooden gear puzzle.
27. Block puzzles
Each cube face in Melissa & Doug’s block puzzles sports the missing piece of a different puzzle, adding an extra challenge to traditional wood puzzles. These sets come with six kid-friendly puzzles in one package, which helps to save space when traveling. Parents can choose from pet-themed, farm-themed, or Blue’s Clues sets, each of which comes with its own carrying tray.
28. Kidoozie Lights ‘N Sounds Shape Sorter
There’s something about Kidoozie’s noisy Lights ‘N Sounds Shape Sorter that keeps youngsters coming back again and again. This compact toy has catchy jingles, rattling puzzle pieces, and multiple modes of play.
Toys on wheels
29. Friction-powered trucks
Toy cars and trucks pack a ton of fun into a compact package. These friction-powered monster trucks do hilarious stunts and spins when pushed across the floor, and they’ve been long-standing favorites in our family. We also love these sets of friction-powered trucks and construction vehicles.
30. Hot Wheels cars
Hot Wheels cars add up in weight in a suitcase, but at just over $1 each, they’re affordable and space-saving. Use household items to make creative jumps and ramps when you arrive at your destination.
31. Cars with music and lights
If your child is more entertained by lights and sounds, try this set of music-making Hot Wheels cars with multiple buttons, sounds, and glowing colors.
32. Motorized Hot Wheels Car
Skip the bag of small cars and invest in one big one that’s sure to make your child smile. This battery-powered Hot Wheels car changes color and zooms across the floor with impressive speed.
33. Pull-back cars
If you’d rather not worry about keeping batteries on hand, classic pull-back cars make for great games between parent and child when away from home.
34. Mega Bloks ABC Musical Train
For under $10, this Mega Bloks ABC Musical Train includes 46 blocks in a lightweight set. Just be sure not to leave any of the pieces behind when you pack up to head home.
35. Lego Duplo Train
Lego’s Duplo Number Train combines your toddler’s passion for trains with their love for building, with chunky pieces and smiling characters. Check out the brand’s fire engine, tractor, and other building sets for more Lego fun.
36. Shape stacker train
37. Remote-control cars
If you’re like our family and willing to travel with any toys to keep kids entertained away from home, throw these remote-control cartoon cars or construction vehicles in the toy bag. For older kids, try this smaller remote-control Hot Wheels car.
38. Magnetic tiles
39. SmartMax magnetic toys
40. Learning Resources Preschool MathLink Cubes
Our son loves to play with his small, lightweight MathLink Cubes. Toddlers can build freely or follow the educational activity cards with an adult’s help. Also try the brand’s kindergarten math activity set and additional building cubes.
41. Bath blocks
If you’re traveling with young kids, be sure to remember some bath toys. These ultra-lightweight bath blocks (with mesh travel bag included!) let your toddler build something entirely new each time they sit in the tub.
42. Balancing toys
This clever toy set encourages children to balance the colorful animal pairs on the curved wooden ark without tipping it over.
Other toddler toys we love
43. Window crayons
44. Fat Brain Toys RollAgain Ball Sorter
Our son received this unique game by Fat Brain Toys as a gift almost a year ago, and it’s been a mesmerizing toy for him and his sister to play with since. Place the colorful, rattling balls into the gradually widening track, and watch as they drop into their perfectly matched landing spots.
45. Melissa & Doug Bean Bag Toss
This foldable bean bag toss game is compact and lightweight for travel.
46. Memory matching games
47. Bead maze
If we’re traveling by car, we often bring our bead maze toy along. It’s lightweight and doesn’t include any loose parts that could be lost in transit or during packing.
49. Learning Resources Preschool Letters
This Learning Resources Preschool Letters set comes with 91 pieces, including tiny letter beads, sturdy letter cards, strings for lacing, a color spinner for games, and multiple activity sheets to complete together with your toddler. If you’re worried about traveling with too many tiny pieces, opt for a simple lacing card activity instead.
50. Popping tubes
A set of popping tubes is one of our favorite simple toys for traveling with babies and toddlers. The tubes make silly noises when stretched and squashed, and children can connect them together to create various shapes and loops.
The Upshot: Choosing the Best Toddler Travel Toys
We hope our comprehensive list of favorites helped you find some winning toddler toys to add to your packing list for your next family trip. No matter which you decide to bring with you, sitting down on your toddler’s level, giving them your full attention, and using your imagination for dedicated, interactive playtime makes all the difference.
If you’re looking for travel toys geared towards younger toddlers and infants, check out our list of the 50 Best Travel Toys for Babies.