12 BEST Toys for Toddlers in the Car

Author: Celine Brewer

Last Updated:

A family road trip with a toddler can be a stressful situation. Needing to drive for hours with a very active toddler strapped into a car seat can lead to some challenging times. But, in my experience traveling with kids, road trips with a toddler can be a very enjoyable way to travel as a family. I’ve learned that planning ahead, having the right attitude and a selection of entertaining toys for toddlers in the car will go a long ways towards success!

a BabyCanTrvel.com toddler reads a Chirp magazine, keeping him entertained during a family road trip.
My toddler “reading” a Chirp magazine in the car in Mexico.

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My Favorite Travel Toys for Toddlers in the Car

My Top Picks for the Best Car Toys for Toddlers

In case you are short on time, here are my top picks for the best road trip toys for toddlers:

Best Toddler Road Trip Toy Overall:

My Quiet Book – my son just loves busy books like this. As with most curious toddlers, he could sit and play with a busy book for a long time. Perfect for parents who want a little quiet time on their family road trip.

Best Toddler Travel Toy for Focus:

Town Maze Magnetic Puzzle Game – a simple puzzle which helps develop hand-eye coordination. Plus, there are no pieces for your toddler to drop, requiring you to pull over to restore the peace.

Best Car Toy For Creativity:

Crayola Double Doodle Board – toddlers who love to create will love this fun doodle board by Crayola.

Pro Tip: Sometimes you don’t even need a toy to entertain your toddler on a road trip. One of my favorite ways to keep my toddler mentally engaged on a road trip was to download a long Disney storybook from Audible. Some of the Disney storybooks are over 15 hours long! I also love that this activity encourages my kids to look out the window and enjoy the scenery.

A family road trip is a great time to try Audible – with a free 30-day trial of the Premium Plus plan you can download (and keep) one free audiobook, regardless of whether you cancel the free trial or not!

a BabyCanTravel.com toddler plays with car travel toys and holds a sippy cup in car seat on a family road trip.
My toddler on a road trip in Norway playing with a white noise machine.

Advantages of a Road Trip with a Toddler vs. Flying

I’ve always found road trips with toddlers simpler and less stressful than flying with toddlers. I like not having to carry all my toddler travel gear in a small carry-on bag; a family road trip means I have way more space to pack all my favorite toddler toys for car rides!.

Even better, I don’t have to worry about annoying other passengers when our toddler is having a tantrum plus making those quick stops when traveling with a potty training toddler are easy too!

Despite these advantages of a family car trip, in my experience, a little advance planning goes a long way to keep a toddler entertained in the car. With short attention spans, quick bursts of energy, and the drive to constantly bounce about and explore everything around, getting a toddler to sit still in one spot for longer than 5 minutes can feel impossible. Trust me, I know!!

In fact, it’s for these exact reasons that our cute toddlers are considerably harder to handle during family trips than newborns! But that doesn’t mean it’s a lost cause either. It just means we need to carry along the essential toddler travel gear, like snacks (lots of snacks!), a sippy cup and, of course, car ride toys for toddlers! 

What to Look for in Toddler Toys for a Road Trip

When looking for the best toddler road trip toys, you’re going to want to make sure they check all the right boxes. In my experience, the best travel toys for toddlers in the car need to be lightweight and compact; quiet, so they don’t bother you while you drive; easy to pack up, with no small parts, because I think I speak for everyone when I say no one wants lost toys under their seats!

However, what’s most important is that car travel toys be safe and not have any sharp edges or small parts that might pose a choking hazard. And brownie points if the car ride toys for toddlers are educational, too! 

a toddler, from the BabyCanTravel.com family, eats a snack out of a reusable snack bag while on a family road trip.
My toddler enjoying a snack in the car in Mexico.

If you aren’t sure about where to start, then you’ve come to the right place. My list of toddler travel toys comes from my own trial and error over several family car trips at home and around the world. Having the right travel toys for toddlers in the car will make your family trip more fun, organized, quiet and memorable! I hope that learning about my favorite toddler toys for the car helps keep your energetic little ones entertained and engaged for long bouts of time.

a Baby Can Travel toddler holds a snack cup on a family road trip in Europe.
Our toddler with his snack cup during our road trip in Norway.
Best Car Travel Toys for Toddlers

This post was written & edited by:

info@babycantravel.com | Website | + posts

Celine Brewer is the owner of Baby Can Travel. Not only does she have years of experience traveling with babies & toddlers, but she's helped millions of new parents travel with their babies and toddlers for over a decade. In addition to writing on her baby travel blog, she has shared her expertise on traveling with a baby or toddler by contributing to articles about traveling with a baby with the Washington Post, USA Today, the Lonely Planet magazine and Pregnancy & Newborn magazine.

Celine also writes about family travel on the site FamilyCanTravel.com, which she co-owns with her husband. Being from the Canadian Rockies, she shares her passion about her home and travel to Banff National Park and area on their site TravelBanffCanada.com.

Read more about Celine Brewer.