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Are you planning on traveling with toddlers this year or next year? Keep scrolling for the best travel toys for toddlers on airplanes or road trips!
This post about the best travel toys for toddlers was originally published May 28, 2018 and was updated September 19, 2020 and contains affiliate links which means if you purchase something from one of my affiliate links, I may earn a small commission that goes back into maintaining this blog.

As we head into holiday travel season, I’ve been doing a lot of research on the newest travel toys for toddlers.

Some of the items we have from our preschooler are still in good condition. 

However, we’re always looking for unique toddler travel toys to bring on our family vacations.

Here are some of the top travel toys for toddlers in 2020:

Road Trip Toys for Toddlers

Road trip travel toys are one of my favorites to shop for because it’s a personal preference. If loud toys don’t bother you, go for it! If you don’t mind a bit of mess, knock yourself out.

These toys for long car rides can be as simple or elaborate as you’d like. Your only constraint is room in your car. Oh, and something your child can do while sitting in a car seat.

Fat Brain Toys MiniSpinny

When I was at MommyCon Vancouver a few years ago, I picked up this Fat Brain Toys MiniSpinny in their MommyCon shop. We already had the full-sized version and I wasn’t sure we needed both. Until I tried it.

Both my kids LOVE playing with this simple toy. Heck, my husband and I find ourselves playing with it, too.

It’s almost like an oversized fidget spinner. It’s perfect for road trips because little hands can grasp it and it’s pretty durable. It’s also a great teething toy.

It’s one of the top toys we own.

Buy this Fat Brain Toys MiniSpinny on Amazon

Fat Brain Toys Pop and Slide Shelly

This is another one I picked up at MommyCon. There’s something a bit addictive about playing with the Fat Brain Toys Pop and Slide Shelly.

It’s great for car rides because it doesn’t make noise and it’s perfect for little hands.

Plus, you can easily tether it to the car seat. It’s another one of those toys I find myself playing with absentmindedly.

If you’re looking for portable travel toys for a 1 year old, this one is my top pick!

Buy this Pop and Slide Shelly on Amazon

Aquadoodle

The Aquadoodle is a great car toy for toddlers because it’s lightweight and mess-free. It’s perfect for road trips because kids can keep the Aquadoodle on their lap while they color.

And it’s durable enough that kids can bend it or toss it around the car and it will still work. Plus, it encourages imaginative play!

This is an awesome travel toy for kids that will last even into elementary school!

Buy the Aquadoodle on Amazon

The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Friends Magnetic Character Set

Magnetic toys are always popular toys for toddlers. This one is great, especially if your kids love reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar or Brown Bear, Brown Bear.

Toddlers can create scenes from the books or some up with their own imaginative stories.

I like that the magnets usually stay on the metal container, so it’s not messy. And, you can use the magnets on metal surfaces at your hotel.

Plus, they toddler road trip toys are pretty quiet!

Buy the Very Hungry Caterpillar Magnet Set on Amazon

Travel LEGO Kit

If your toddler is into LEGOs, this is a great way to let them play with it on the road. This Travel LEGO Kit is an easy way to store LEGOs, plus it comes with a building surface.

You can also make something similar using a plastic diaper wipes container and this LEGO tape.

Buy this Travel LEGO Kit on Amazon

Airplane Travel Toys for Toddlers

The most important thing about finding the right airplane toys for toddlers is that they don’t make a lot of noise.

If they play music, rattle, or squeak, don’t bring them on the airplane. That’s for everyone’s sake. These are the toys that will drive you crazy after a few hours and they will annoy your fellow passengers.

My advice is usually to leave anything with a battery out of your carry on bag. Unless it’s something that your child can play with wearing headphones.

BUCKLE TOY “Boomer”

When I brought my youngest to Hawaii when he was 1 year old, he spent most of the flight trying to unbuckle and then buckle his seat belt.

He was going through that stage of wanting to learn how to buckle. Four months later, he’s still going through that stage.

That’s why this BUCKLE TOY “Boomer” would be so helpful on an airplane with toddlers. They can sit and work on 6 different child-friendly buckles during the flight.

And it’s small enough to stash in your diaper bag or carry on luggage.

This is definitely one of the best travel toys for a 1 year old that works on fine motor skills.

Buy this Buckle Toy on Amazon

Lacing Beads Busy Bag

If you want a ready made activity, this Lacing Beads Busy Bag comes with beads and string. Now, some of the beads will probably get lost on the plane, but if you are okay with that, this is an amazing activity!

It’s perfect for toddlers and preschoolers because it works on their fine motor skills,

Plus, you can get cups from the flight attendant and toddlers can sort the beads by color. Or simply put them in a cup and take them out again.

Buy this Lacing Beads Busy Bag on Amazon

Fat Brain Toys Squigz Starter Set

Suction cup toys are so much fun on airplanes! This Fat Brain Toys Squigz Starter Set has mini toys that can be stacked into a tower or stuck on a window. Kids love sticking them together and popping them apart.

And the small size makes them super portable.

I’d suggest just bringing a few on the airplane and sticking the rest in your checked luggage to play with at the hotel.

These are super fun travel toys for kids of all ages!

Buy this Squigz Starter Set on Amazon

Melissa & Doug Water Wow!

If you’re looking for an activity that has been a hit for years, try the Melissa & Doug Water Wow! You fill the brush up with water and then your kid can “paint” the pages to reveal a colorful picture.

It’s also one of the best travel toys for toddlers in the car because it’s not messy!

We always have a water bottle when we fly, so it’s easy to refill the brush. The pages dry fairly quickly, so kids can repaint the same picture over and over again.

Buy this Water Wow! on Amazon

Wikki Stix

One of our favorite things to give friends who are taking their toddlers on long flights are these Wikki Stix. They are bendable, colorful wax sticks and kids can make endless creations.

We give them as gifts a lot because they are made of knitting yarn and food grade wax. So, if one ends up in a kid’s mouth, it’s not the end of the world.

And when you are looking for the best travel toys for a 2 year old, being non-toxic is always a bonus!

As kids get older, they can use them to learn their letters and numbers. Parents can be as hands on (or hands off) as they’d like.

Buy Wikki Stix on Amazon

Hotel Room Travel Toys for Toddlers

So, something a lot of families don’t think about are travel toys for toddlers to use in the hotel room. These can be great distractions while parents get ready for the day.

It’s also a great way to get kids to have some quiet time in between adventures or to quiet down before bedtime.

Children’s Play Rug

My good friend made us a Children’s Play Rug like this and it’s been a lifesaver hotel rooms. Our kids know where the play area is and I like that they can play on the rug as opposed to hotel carpet.

This one is nice because it folds up pretty compactly. It would also be good in an airport if you have a long layover.

Buy this Children’s Play Rug on Amazon

Fat Brain Toys Kids Spinagain Toy

We first discovered this Fat Brain Toys Kids Spinagain Toy at Kidsquest Museum in Bellevue, WA. It was the most sought-after toy there and my kids couldn’t get enough of it. So, we bought one and it’s a HUGE hit!

It’s a simple enough toy, but kids of all ages love to see the gears spin down the pole. It’s great for packing in a suitcase because it’s lightweight and durable.

Plus, the pieces are large enough that you probably won’t lose any in a hotel room.

Buy this Spinagain Toy on Amazon

Wooden Ramp Parking Garage Play Set

If you are driving to a hotel from your home, this Wooden Ramp Parking Garage Play Set is an awesome travel toy for toddlers to bring in your car.

My kids can spend hours sending the little cars down the ramp and they think it’s hilarious!

It’s bulky enough that you wouldn’t want to pack it in a suitcase. But, it’s also small enough to bring to a hotel room. It’s a great distraction for them while you unpack and get organized.

I recommend bringing a bag to put the cars in so they don’t get lost. This ramp works with most small cars, so you can change it up.

Buy this Parking Garage Play Set on Amazon

Remote Control Cars

If you have two kids, this Remote Control Cars set is for you! They run on different frequencies, so your kids can race them.

Someone gave my son a remote control car for his birthday when we were in Vancouver, BC and I was hesitant to open it in the hotel room. But, it ended up being such a fun activity!

These are meant for little kids, so the remotes are simple and the cars are made of plastic.

Buy these Remote Control Cars on Amazon

LEGO DUPLO My First Number Train

Really, any LEGO DUPLO set would be good for a hotel room. We like this LEGO DUPLO My First Number Train because my kids can’t get enough of trains.

I like that we can talk about the numbers and colors of the DUPLO bricks.

Plus, kids can push the individual train cars around or connect them to form one long train. And they can take them apart and put them back together.

This set is pretty lightweight and packs easily in a suitcase.

Buy this LEGO DUPLO set on Amazon

Melissa & Doug Reusable Sticker Pad

The Melissa & Doug Reusable Sticker Pad is great for hotel rooms because it’s quite large. It’s helpful if your child can sit at a desk or do them on the floor.

I like to separate the pages and just take out one at a time with some of the reusable stickers. You may need to help your child peel the stickers off the first time.

If you want to take it on an airplane, I suggest just bringing one of the pages rolled up and a bunch of stickers. Your child can put the stickers on the airplane window or screen for hours of entertainment!

Buy this Reusable Sticker Pad on Amazon

Original Gertie Ball

Does your toddler like to play catch, but usually drops the ball? We first discovered the Original Gertie Ball at a Kindermusik class in Issaquah, WA.

It’s touted as the must catch-able ball for kids! It has a sticky surface that makes it easy for toddlers to catch and throw successfully. And it’s pliable so toddler can pick it up with one hand.

Plus, it’s inflatable, which makes it easy to pack up. It’s a fun way to play a game in the hotel room to burn off energy.

Buy this Gertie Ball on Amazon

Transport Car Carrier Truck

As the Mom of two boys, we always have little cars with us where ever we go. Oftentimes, I fill up a gallon Ziploc bag with them.

But, this Transport Car Carrier Truck is a fun way to store those metal cars when you take them to a hotel. Plus, the car carrier truck is fun to play with on it’s own!

Buy this Transport Car Carrier Truck on Amazon

Car Tape

If you are staying at a hotel or AirBnB that has hard floor, bring along a roll of Car Tape. You can lay down some roads and kids can race cars up and down.

Plus, when it’s time to head home, just pull up the tape for easy clean up. It also works well on tables or walls. It’s an easy way to create a play area for your kids while traveling.

This is actually one of my favorite travel toys for a 2 year old because it can keep them occupied for hours!

Buy this Car Tape on Amazon

Hope you found some new road trip toys and plane toys for toddlers! Best of luck on a safe and healthy trip!

Looking for more Toddler Travel Resources? Get my top tips for Flying with a Toddler, KonMari Packing Tips, and Toddler Travel Books!

Find out the top travel toys for toddlers, including the best airplane travel toys for toddlers #familytravel #traveltoys #toddlertoys #toddler #travelwithkids | Best travel toys for toddlers featured by top Seattle family travel blog, Marcie in MommylandGet my list of the best airplane activities for toddlers, best road trip toys for toddlers, and toddler toys for hotel rooms #roadtrip #flyingwithkids #flyingtips #familytravel #travelwithtoddlers #toddlerlife

Author

Marcie writes the family travel blog Marcie in Mommyland. When she's not traveling the world, she's home in Seattle with her husband and two little boys.

24 Comments

  1. I didn’t even know there was such a thing as a travel lego kit. It’s awesome! Exactly what we need. Thank you!N

    • Isn’t that cool? My 4yo is obsessed with LEGOs so it’s been interesting to see ways to travel with them.

  2. These look fun, I don’t have kids but I can imagine the struggle of traveling with them, they can be so hyperactive

  3. We have a 15 hour road trip planned next month so this is SUPER helpful! We don’t have any of these toys so I’m excited to do some shopping!

  4. Great ideas! My cousins is traveling internationally with her toddler and newborn soon so I’ll be passing these recommendations on.

  5. Great round-up of travel toys foe littles. I’ve never seen many of these. I especially love that travel rug! We’re going on a trip in a few weeks and I might have to consider some of these for our 1.5 year old.

  6. That travel lego kit is everything! Never heard of it before, either. These are all so great, though. Travel toys are so helpful and so much better than just sticking them in front of screens, which we have been way too guilty of doing in the past.

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