INSIDE: The Epic Guide to the best Travel Toys for Toddlers, Babies & Preschoolers to make your trip as hassle free as possible.
Travelling with a toddler on a plane?
This is an epic list of the best travel toys for toddlers, babies & preschoolers that you need in your carry on.
Plus ideas for car activities for toddlers on a road trip.
Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking on one of these links, we may receive a small commission at NO extra cost to you.
THE BEST TRAVEL TOYS FOR TODDLERS ON PLANE
The best travel toys for toddlers on airplanes are ones that don’t pose any choking hazard at all.
No one wants to deal with a choking emergency 30,000 ft in the air, or in the middle of the outback.
The top travel toys for toddlers also need to be small and compact, and lightweight to fit the space requirements of the airline, or inside a cramped car full of road trip supplies.
Best Toys for Flying & Toddler Road Trip Toys
Correct at time of publication on Roam the Gnome. Please check with venue for updates. We apologise in advance if there have been any changes we are unaware of. All prices in US dollars, unless otherwise stated
Don’t leave home without the original Magna Doodle.
This one travel toy for kids has saved many a tantrum. And not just tantrums by the kids either!
If you are looking for travel toys for 1 year old, this is it.
Give a child a Magnadoodle magnetic sketch pad and you’ve got a no-mess, no-fuss drawing pad for games of:
- the Mr Squiggle drawing game, (where one person draws a random squiggle and the other has to make something of it), and
- Dots and Boxes.
Or they can simply draw.
There’s a DELUXE color version these days too.
This is our number one of toddler travel toys!
No.2: Melissa and Doug Water Wow On-the-Go Activity Pads
These are our next go-to travel activities for kids. The Water Art pads by Melissa and Doug are a reusuable water coloring book for kids with a refillable water pen. Kids use the pen to ‘color’ the pad, and complete the drawing.
When they are done, it dries up and is ready for someone new to have a go.
They also make great car seat toys for toddlers if you have a portable kids travel tray you can attach to the front of their car seat.
The Melissa and Doug range of water art pads have six different designs to choose from.
BUY NOW ON AMAZON:
- 3 pack of Water Art Books (Farm, Safari, Under the Sea)
- 3 pack of Water Art Books (Animals, Alphabet, Numbers)
No.3: Invisible Ink Coloring Books (Magic Ink)
Toddler boys and girls will love these Magic Ink books.
It’s mess free coloring, which is perfect for the plane, train and automobile.
The pack comes with a magic invisible ink pen to reveal the illustrations.
The magic ink books come in these styles:
- Disney Princesses
- Disney Fairies
- Toy Story
- Mickey and Minnie
- Marvel superheroes
- My Little Pony
- Fancy Nancy (with Doc McStuffins & Sofia the First)
There’s even a BABY SHARK invisible ink book for the super young kids!
Bonus stickers included.
No.4: Magic Rainbow Scratch Art Pads
Take along a box of Rainbow scratch art notes and let the kids go wild with their doodles.
I used to love making these in school, but the process was tedious.
Now, the prep is done and it’s straight to the fun part: creating with color.
These are fun for little hands of older toddlers.
BUY NOW ON AMAZON: Melissa and Doug Scratch Art Box of Mini Rainbow Notes (Wooden pen included)
No. 5: Sticker Books
If you don’t have much room, a sticker book is the way to go.
Here’s three sticker pads to try:
- Make your own Pizza sticker book
- Build your own Cupcake sticker book
- Make your own Ice Cream Sundae sticker book
If your toddler loves Peppa Pig, try this sticker pad.
You can also find sticker books based on famous cities, like this New York one.
A city sticker book is a cool, easy way to introduce a new city to the kids, especially when you are on route, and great for hand eye coordination.
There’s also sticker puzzles for the slightly older kids.
And these Paint by Sticker books too.
No.6: Storytelling Magnetic Toys for Toddlers
A magnetic game is good for quiet fun too.
Magnetic toys for travel usually come in a carry case with flat magnets, so don’t take up much room either.
Try these styles:
- Curious George magnetic play set
- Thomas the Tank Engine magnetic play set
- Cars, Planes and Trains
- On the Farm
- Dress ups
No.7: Activity Toys for Toddlers? Wiggle Eyes
The cheapest, easiest travel toy for kids is a pack of wiggle eyes.
Pull out the onboard travel magazine, and add googly eyes to EVERY face.
(We did it on our recent flight to Singapore!)
It’s the best game ever, and may even give the next person on board a good giggle too!
BUY NOW ON AMAZON: Wiggly Eyes, pack of 100
No.8: Toy Airplanes for Toddlers
The Green Toys airplane is BPA and Phthalates free.
Green toys are made from 100% recycled plastic milk jugs so they are sustainable, and helping to reduce damage to the earth. (This one comes with a matching book.)
The Playmobil Jet is a fun activity for a road trip.
This four-in-one pack of toddler airplane toys can be handy on a flight to hold a toddlers attention if you give out one at a time.
Therese are the pick of the bunch of the best airplane toys for toddlers.
No.9: Good Car Seat Toys for Toddlers? Die Cast vehicles
Need to take along some toy cars for boys or girls who are mad about them?
Take a few new Matchbox cars or Hotwheels vehicles in your handbag.
You can even buy Jurassic World matchbox cars these days if you are big fan.
Matchbox cars make great toddler toy cars for road trips but top our list of small travel toys for toddlers, especially boys, as they can fit in your pocket AND you can replace them pretty easily no matter where you are, should they get lost in transit.
No. 10: Melissa and Doug Tape Activity Book
This is a toddler game with a difference.
Kids can finish pictures and make drawings in the book using brightly colored tape.
The tape peels off easily so the little ones can have multiple goes.
Awesome activity to practice fine motor skills, and one of the best car travel toys for toddlers.
BUY NOW ON AMAZON: Melissa and Doug Tape Activity Book
No.11: Nail Decals for Kids
Here’s a fun idea for “travel toys for kids” to keep the toddlers happy.
If you are happy for your toddlers to experiment with putting on nail stickers, this is a fun way to keep them occupied for a time.
Caveat: This busy activity needs your help of course.
This wins the prize for unique travel toys!
MORE Travel Activities for Toddlers
Looking for more road trip toys or travel toys for toddlers on airplanes?
How about an i-Spy guessing game book for kids 2-5?
It helps kids to identify the A-Z, so is an educational tool as well.
THE BEST TRAVEL TOYS FOR BABIES
The challenge with finding travel toys for babies is that 1. they are usually noisy, and 2. they are usually bulky and cumbersome.
The best baby toys for travel are soft activity books like these ones.
- Melissa and Doug Soft Activity Book “What should I wear”
- Lamaze Peekaboo Forest
- Eric Carle My First Busy Book
They’ll probably just want to eat your keys anyway!
You can also carry a pocket mirror as they LOVE to see their reflection.
THE BEST TRAVEL TOYS FOR KIDS OVER 4 ON A ROAD TRIP OR FLIGHT
No.1: Aqua Magic Mat
An Aqua Mat is an awesome mess-free activity for toddlers in a hotel room, or at the airport when you can find a quiet corner.
These airplane travel toys for toddlers come complete with two water-fillable pens, plus two drawing molds.
Toddlers can start doodling as soon as the mat is on the table.
Older kids will find it fun too.
No.2: DIY Color-your-own Lunch Bag & Water bottle
This is a very cool activity for preschoolers and older kids, a chance to color their very own lunch bag.
Fill it with their travel snacks before you leave, and you’ll have happy kids on the airplane.
BUY NOW ON AMAZON: DIY Snack Pack Craft Kit
No. 3: DIY Travel Toys for Toddlers & Preschoolers
Grab yourself a clear fishing tackle box with moveable dividers and a handle, and fill it with your kids favorite miniatures.
It’s a great way to carry Sylvanian families toys, or your Beverly Hills Doll collection. Plus, it fits all the doll accessories and things for the house.
Keep all the Polly Pockets and Polly Pocket accessories together in one spot.
Or use it to store Beyblades, a small LEGO set or two, or Ryan’s World toy collectibles.
Do you have any more tips for Toddler Road Trip toys?
We’d love to hear about them.
No.4: Wooly Willy
Our favorite, Wooly Willy magnetic personalities!
(Or for a bit of variety amongst siblings, grab the four pack, including the original, Buddy Beagle, Hair Do Harriet and Wanted poster.)
No.5: Special mention: Wonder Crew dolls for boys
Wonder Crew cuddly superhero dolls for boys are the answer to cuddly toys for kids who are homesick. (Just like an American Girl doll is to others.)
You can also buy Wonder Crew adventure packs in an assortment of explorer outfits too including astronaut and explorer, so he can come on your travels.
More Travel Activities for Preschoolers & Older Kids.
Here’s a whole bunch of other fun activities for kids on the go.
Take along a small LEGO kit to complete at your hotel.
Color by Numbers Activity
Melissa & Doug On the Go COLOR BY NUMBERS activity pad
Little Passports monthly subscription box
Little Passports is an award-winning subscription service for kids.
Subscribe to Little Passports and take your monthly subscription box with you on a trip.
Scratch Art pad
Check out the Melissa & Doug SCRATCH ART hidden picture pads
Kids have to read the clues then scratch the surface with the wooden pen to find the answers.
This cool scratch art paper book for the older kids explores America’s natural wonders in National Parks, as well known landmarks around the country.
Buy extra scratch art sheets so you never run out!
This Scratch art multipack comes with 50 Sheets black scratch art paper & 5 wooden stylus pens so you can share it amongst the kids, or give a few to your plane neighbours to keep them busy too!
DIY Lego Kit
Make a DIY Lego Kit inside a metal carry tin, like this one in the video above.
Laminated playdough mats
Take along some laminated playdough mats, and use white board markers instead of playdough to add detail
Look for the open-ended ones, eg trees where the kids have to draw apples, pears, fruit, birds etc.
Or add food to a dinner plate.
Or dress people, or make crazy hair do’s and fill in faces.
A car playdough mat where they have to add wheels, door handles, windows etc is cool too.
Check out these free play dough mat printables at Picklebums.
DIY necklace kits and charm bracelet kits
Some children LOVE jewelery, especially pieces they make themselves.
DIY Pajama decorating!
Check out this unique craft idea for plane trips.
DIY pajamas craft kits from Selfie Clothing, where the kids get to color a new set of pj’s ON THE WAY to their vacation.
Check out these DIY art styles:
- Color in Dinosaur pajamas
- Color in Ice Queen pajamas – for the Frozen fans
- Color in Space & Rockets pajamas
- Color in Christmas pajamas
They also have tops for kids, like this Color In Top, in a Mermaid pattern
Leap and Hop books
LEAP AND HOP books are interactive cultural travel books for kids, helping kids to learn about the country they are heading to visit, through:
- drawing activities
- writing games, and
- collecting travel mementos to add.
Pocket Chart cards
Lauri Pocket Chart cards with sight words, or story sequencing
- UNO games
- Skip Bo games
- Go Fish card game
- Games in a Tin
Looking for More Travel Tips?
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