Some of the links below are affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. This means that, at zero cost to you, I will earn an affiliate commission if you click through the link and finalize a purchase.
As parents to an almost two-year-old, we know that long car rides with toddlers aren’t always easy. We’ve taken 14-hour non-stop flights and multiple 6-hour plus car journeys with our little one and have found that, with a little preparation, the boredom (and subsequent stress) of long trips can be eased with some simple and affordable travel toys.
1. Busy Board
The busy board is in our opinion one of the best travel toys for any little hands you’re looking to keep occupied.
This Montessori-inspired toy has twenty-five different learning games, including shoelaces, belt buckles alphabet activities and jigsaw puzzles.
However, what makes this board particularly great for travel is that all the activities are securely attached to the board.
2. Reusable Sticker Pad
Children love stickers, however, they are typically known for having a short life span.
Thankfully, however, a reusable sticker pad allows the stickers to be reapplied time and time again.
These Melissa & Doug sticker pads are available in a range of designs, including fairies, farmyards, prehistoric, town and vehicles and are the perfect way to keep little ones entertained.
3. Magnetic Puzzle
These magnetic puzzle books are the perfect size for long car trips and are one of the best toddler toys for building dexterity.
Each book contains three different jigsaws with 20 bright and colourful pieces.
Made of quality wood, the pieces are durable and will provide entertainment for many car journeys to come.
4. iPad / Tablet
While we do try to minimise screen time during a long flight or car journey, we also try to be realistic in what works (and works well) for our little one.
Personally, we’ve gone for the Fire HD tablet from Amazon as a tablet since this is significantly more affordable than other tablet options and comes in a kid-proof case for added protection.
Be sure to download a range of suitable apps and videos in your hotel room or at home in advance to avoid having to rely on mobile data.
5. Magnetic Drawing Board
Let your child’s artistic imagination go to new levels with this magnetic drawing board.
The magnetic element helps keep stamps close by for when they need them and the pen is attached to the board with a short string.
Even though it’s attached, it can still be used by both left and right-handers.
For when they want to wipe everything off and start over, the ergonomic eraser is perfect.
6. Buckle Toy
Buckle toys are a great way to keep your toddler busy whilst you are driving.
It aids brain development and educates children about numbers, colours, and more.
There are six buckles for your little one to connect together and a zipper pocket too.
Those fine motor and problem-solving skills will be worked on with every mile you spend on the road.
Books are utterly fantastic. Losing yourself in the pictures and words on the pages is something quite special.
By having some age-appropriate books in your car during long journeys, toddlers can enjoy stories by themselves or with you.
Books help to develop the brain and imagination, strengthen relationships and even develop emotions and language.
9. Suction Spinners
Suction spinners have multiple uses.
Not only can they be suctioned onto windows and other flat, smooth non-porous surfaces, but they can also be chopped on to help with teething pain.
When they are attached to the window, they can be spun around to provide spinny entertainment.
However, they are also completely safety-tested and BPA-free for those times when you need a teether.
10. Mess Free Colouring
Mess-free colouring is every parent’s dream!
The quiet time of colouring fun, without the risk of said colouring being all over anything in the vicinity of the child.
This groundbreaking invention from Crayola means that colouring only appears on special paper.
The pens don’t work on anything but that special paper, meaning your clothing, car interior and even the child’s own skin is safe from being coloured in!
11. My Quiet Books
Quiet Books are exactly that, books that will entertain youngsters and keep them quiet.
Available in a range of different colours, the product is a Montessori toy that provides education through play.
The soft-touch durable book has nine activities for youngsters to enjoy, including telling the time, using a zipper, and matching different coloured velcro straps.
12. Pull String Toy
Another fantastic Montessori activity for long journeys is the Pull String Toy.
Toddlers will develop their fine motor skills by pulling on the cords, making different sounds and vibrations depending on the cord they pull as well as the speed at that they pull it.
There are additional activities, including raised soft buttons which will stimulate curiosity via texture. Meanwhile, the portable size makes it the perfect travel toy for little ones.
13. Magnetic Tiles
These magnetic tiles are fantastic!
You can use just six of these tiles to make a cube or all sixty of them to create an incredible set-up.
There are a number of different shapes in the pack, including speciality ones and even wheels. Encouraging creativity, imagination and problem-solving.
Creations are easy to bring to life with magnetic tiles and your toddler will soon get a grasp of the magnetic polarities too.
14. Pop Tubes
15. iSpy Books
Along similar lines to Where’s Wally, iSpy books are great for car journeys.
The creators use everyday objects to enhance intellectual discovery. Your toddler will become a detective, trying to solve the riddle and find the objects on the pages.
The books are aimed at ages 4 – 7, yet the reviews say that older children and grown-ups enjoy them too.
16. Magnetic Play Set
Magnetic toys are perfect on long road trips as they are easy to handle and don’t fall all over.
If you have tots who love dress-up, a Magnetic Play Set is perfect to keep them entertained.
In the kit, you will receive three flat magnetic dolls. Along with a whole load of clothing items and accessories that are also magnetic.
Kids can create their dream outfits, mix and match and make the dolls look like their favourite characters.
17. Pipe Cleaners
Kids love to be creative. You only have to look at Forky from Toy Story 4 to see that.
You might not think that a bag of pipe cleaners will entertain youngsters, but add some googly eyes and you have got a winner.
In around 30 vibrant colours, these pipe cleaners will provide hours of crafty fun.
See who can create the cutest character during the journey. The only limitation is what you can imagine.
18. Inny Bin
The Inny Bin is perfect for toddlers 6 months and up.
It comes with six chunky blocks, in different colours and shapes. Which can be pushed through the elasticated webbing of the cube.
Sounds simple, right?
However, the toy actively encourages a number of things including sorting skills, shape recognition, tactile skills, creative thinking and intellectual curiosity.
You can’t go wrong with Play-Doh. It is a great product to have in your accessible travel bag to entertain little ones.
The 2-ounce pots are perfectly sized to give kids plenty of dough to play with without creating too much of a mess.
Let their imaginations run wild with dazzling colours or give them a little challenge to complete.
20. Audiobook Reader
This player is perfectly sized to fit on youngsters’ laps as they are told a story they have selected.
The audio books come on individual cards which are inserted into the machine. There are many stories available, including collaborations with Disney.
The pixel display on the machine helps bring the story to life. There is even a headphone socket so they can listen by themselves.
21. Wooden Take-Along
The Wooden Take-Along range from Melissa & Doug is fantastic.
Everything your little ones need to have fun with is bundled up in this playset which packs away into a foldable storage case with handles.
With different themes available, including town and farm, tots will love playing with vehicles and setting up little buildings to drive around.
The squishy and squashy Playfoam is perfect for toddlers to get creative with.
Preschoolers can express themselves through play, as they mould and sculpt different shapes and creations with the vivid, non-toxic Playfoam.
When they want to start over, just squash it back down and get crafting again.
This product aids hand eye coordination as well as fine motor skills. As it never dries out, the fun will never end!
23. Bristle Blocks
You have probably come across Bristle Blocks before. They have been a classic and somewhat staple toy for more than 50 years.
The pieces come in a range of shapes, sizes and colours, with the soft, interlocking bristles opening opportunities to build whatever takes your fancy.
Compatible with other brands, this 112-piece set is ideal for your travels. Enough pieces to allow for ultimate creations without the worry of hauling around too much stuff.
25. Stacking Cups
Stacking toys are wonderful for fine motor skills, organisation and problem-solving.
The muscles in your little one’s hands will be worked, as they learn to control their fingers and their grasp and release skills.
Perfect for travelling because they nest inside one another for simple storage, these eight beautifully coloured cups will give your toddler lots of joy and fun.
26. Me Reader
The Me Reader is a fantastic interactive and educational toy that’s great for family road trips.
With a set of storybooks and an electronic reading device, your child can listen to stories being read aloud and improve their reading skills.
It’s easy to use and entertaining, making it a great option for kids of all ages.
27. Traditional Colouring Books
Colouring books are a great choice for children of all ages who love to be creative.
With a range of different designs to choose from little kids are able to express themselves and develop their artistic skills.
Whether they prefer crayons, markers, or coloured pencils, there’s nothing more satisfying than bringing a blank page to life with a burst of colour!
28. Twistable Crayons
To go with your colouring books we recommend twistable crayons.
These crayons are easy to use and have a twistable design that eliminates the need for sharpening.
With a range of bright and vibrant colours, they’re perfect for little hands and will keep your child colouring and creating for hours on end.
29. Sticker Face Books
Sticker face books are a great way to keep your child entertained on a long journey.
With a range of different stickers, including eyes, mouths, and hats, your child can create their own characters and engage in imaginative play.
These books are perfect for kids who love to be creative and will provide hours of fun and entertainment.
30. Scratch Art
Scratch art is a great option for older kids and a perfect addition to your road trip toys.
With a scratch pen and a pre-drawn black surface, your child can scratch off the black coating to reveal a colourful design underneath.
This activity is perfect for kids who love to be creative and is sure to keep them entertained for hours on end.
31. Lacing Card
Lacing cards are a great opportunity for young children to improve their hand eye coordination and fine motor skills.
With a set of pre-punched cards and some colourful laces, your child can create their own designs and patterns.
This activity is perfect for kids who love to be creative and is sure to keep them entertained for hours on end.
32. Leapfrog 100 Animal Book
The Leapfrog 100 Animal Book is one of the best toddler travel toys currently on the market.
With 100 different animals to discover, this interactive book is perfect for young children who are eager to learn.
The book features different modes of play, including letter and animal recognition, making it both educational and entertaining.
33. Water Wow!
The Water Wow! toy by Melissa & Doug is a super fun painting activity set for kids that’s totally mess-free.
With this set, you get some special refillable water painting pads and a cool water pen that you can use to reveal bright and colourful pictures on the pages.
The pads come in different themes like animals, letters, and numbers, so your little ones can learn while they play.
Other Things To Pack For A Family Road Trip
Alongside a whole host of great travel toys, you’re also going to want to pack some toddler essentials including;
- Car Seat: A portable car seat is essential for ensuring the safety of your toddler in the car.
- Tray Table: A tray table acts as a work surface for little ones to play on.
- Water Bottle: Keeping hydrated on long journeys is essential.
- Potty: If you are potty training don’t forget to bring this along for emergencies.