If there’s one phrase that describes the toddler stage best I think it would be, “Go! Go! Go!” Your incredibly busy toddler is growing, changing, and soaking in their world at an astonishing rate which is equal parts exciting and exhausting. The always on the move nature of toddlers can make traveling an entertaining and challenging time because let’s face it, sitting still is definitely not a favorite activity at this age. But never fear my friend, because I have put together a big list of activities that when paired with a sense of humor (parenting a toddler requires humor, am I right?), will help make traveling with your curious toddler a smashing success. Here’s 30 Travel Toys and Activities for Toddlers that are perfect for airplanes or car trips.
30 TRAVEL TOYS AND ACTIVITIES FOR TODDLERS
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1. Melissa and Doug Water Wow
Water Wow! books have quickly become one of our favorite travel activities. Each one of these paint-with-water coloring books includes four reusable pages and a refillable water pen. Once the pen is filled up with water, you can use it to color in each scene. I’m not going to lie, it’s pretty exciting to see the scene magically appear! After the page is painted, you can let the page dry to erase the pictures and fill it in again and again. The chunky-sized water pen stores neatly right in the front cover, which makes this an ideal travel activity for kids.
2. Wikki Stix
Twist, bend, stick, create! Wikki Stix are bright, colorful, bendable, and they’re the perfect way to keep little hands busy.
3. Dot Stickers
4. Favorite Character Stickers
There’s so many fun things that can be done with stickers! Especially if you pick ones that are a favorite of your kiddo.
- Invite your toddler to decorate a piece of construction paper with stickers.
- Play games such as:
- Match the Stickers—Put stickers on a piece of paper and their challenge is to match the same sticker next to it.
- Sticker Lineup—Draw a line on a piece of paper and put stickers on the line.
- Count the stickers— Draw 5 circles on a piece of paper and number them 1-5. Tell your child to put the correct number of stickers in each circle. For example, in the four circle they would put four stickers.
5. Buckle Toy
If your toddler has a fascination with buckles then they will absolutely LOVE this toy. I don’t know if it’s the playful bright plush with vibrant colored straps or the fun buckles and zippers, but goodness this toy really holds the attention of kiddos. It comes in lots of different shapes and animals (like this adorable turtle). You can find all of the other options here, here, here, here, and here.
6. Wooden Lacing Watermelon Toy
Work on fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination as you push the caterpillar through the different holes in the wooden watermelon block with this fun (and totally adorable) lacing activity. This is a wonderful way to entertain your kiddo while you’re on the go!
7. Triangle Crayons + Coloring Book or Drawing Pad
8. Fabric Pull Box
Tie fabric pieces together and stuff them inside of a use a small box or water bottle. Invite your child to pull them out.
9. Button Game
Punch a rectangle shaped hole in top of a tupperware container. Put the oversized buttons in the jar one by one. A travel tray is a good idea to put under this activity to keep all the pieces contained.
Bring along a few cars for an easy way to keep little ones entertained. We love these thick chunky ones, but any cars you have on hand will do.
11. Magnetic Block Set
I love blocks in general because they encourage open-ended and unscripted play. But obviously the thought of bringing a ton of blocks on the plane or in the car might not be a good idea, especially if you have a child who loves to throw things. That’s why I love small magnetic travel size blocks like these and these. They’re easy to pick up and take anywhere and they are magnetic which means you aren’t picking up a gazillion blocks that have been strewn all over your car.
12. Board Books
When traveling, I try to bring books that encourage engagement and can easily spark questions and conversation.
13. Small Animals/Little People
Toss in a few of your child’s favorite characters (similar) to pretend and play with.
14. Post It Notes
I’m not exactly sure what it is about them, but toddlers LOVE post it notes. They are fun to stick on the window in your car or on the back of the seat on an airplane. Pair them with a few crayons and stickers for an added bonus!
15. Washi Tape or Masking Tape
There are so many ways to play with washi tape! Here’s a few ideas:
- Create a road for your cars
- Put a piece of tape on the tray table (or the back of a book) and line up toy animals or people
- Decorate a piece of paper
16. Spike The Fine Motor Hedgehog
Build fine motor skills with chunky, peg-shaped pieces that fit to the back of this adorable Hedgehog. The pieces also fit in the hedgehog body which makes storing it really simple.
If you’re looking for a mess-free way to color with your toddlers, this is it! It is really similar to the Water Wow! books, except it’s a blank canvas so your kiddos can draw anything they imagine.
18. Reusable Sticker Book
Encourage imagination, storytelling, and play with a reusable sticker book.
19. Counting Bears + Silicone Muffin Cups
Counting bears are great for encouraging imagination and pretend play. Plus there’s lots of fun learning activities that you can do with them such as matching the bears to coordinating silicone muffin cups and sorting them by size.
20. Velcro Craft Sticks
21. Card Slot Drop
Punch a rectangle shaped hole in top of a container and then put the cards (similar) in one by one. You might not want to bring an entire deck of cards. Unless you’re keen on playing 52 card pickup on an airplane or the back seat of your car. If you don’t want to risk losing your deck of cards, you could also cut out rectangles from cardstock.
22. Finger Puppets
Finger puppets are a simple and portable way to pretend and play with your child. Your kiddos will love using them to tell stories, sing nursery rhymes, and so much more!
23. Velcro Shape Match
Draw the outline of shapes on a piece of construction paper. Cut out matching shapes from a different piece of construction paper. Laminate the pieces for added durability. Attach velcro dots to the back of each piece and on the piece of construction paper where you drew the outline of each shape. Take the shapes off and encourage your toddler to match them to their silhouette.
24. Color Match
Since we’ve already established that stickers are a huge hit with kids, why not work on practicing colors with them? Simply cut out circles from construction paper and then attach them to a piece of paper. You could also use markers to draw the circles. Laminate the sheet for added durability and so you can reuse the activity for future trips.
When your child is ready to play, give them dot stickers and invite them to stick the coordinating color onto the matching circle.
25. Oombee Cube Sorter
The Oombee Cube is such a unique way to entertain your little ones with shape-sorting fun. The best part is that the shapes are attached to the corners, so you never have to worry about losing a single shape.
A big chunky calculator might seem like an odd thing to have on a list of toddler travel toys, but just trust me on this one. Kids love to push the buttons!
27. Duplo Blocks
Blocks are really fun for toddlers. How cute is this airplane set? Just keep in mind that you probably don’t want to bring a ton of them with you since they will likely be thrown.
28. Jumbo Nuts and Bolts For Toddlers
Color matching, sorting, fine motor skills, and construction all wrapped into one? Yes, please! These Jumbo Nuts and Bolts for toddlers fit perfectly in little hands and are a great way to help kiddos learn through play. I also love that they come in a handy dandy storage case.
29. Pipe Cleaners
Put a few colorful pipe cleaners in an empty water bottle for this really easy and lightweight activity. When you’re ready to play, dump out the pipe cleaners and then invite your toddler to put them back in.
30. My Family + Favorites Photo Book
Put photos of your family and your child’s favorite things in a small photo album. They’ll love seeing familiar faces and objects while they are away!
I hope you were able to find an idea (or ten) to use on your upcoming adventures with your toddler and that you feel equipped with some new tricks up your sleeve. If you get a little creative there really are lots of easy and fun ways to keep toddlers engaged. Be sure to soak in the wonder and curiosity of this age and when it feels hard keep in mind that there’s so many great reasons to travel WITH your kids. Cheering you on, friend!