I’ve always found road trips with toddlers simpler and less stressful than flying with toddlers. I really like not having to worry about carrying everything on to an airplane (meaning we have way more space to pack all our favorite road trip toys for toddlers!) and we can stop if we need to.
Even better, we don’t have to worry about other passengers when our toddler is having a tantrum plus making those quick stops when traveling with a potty training toddler are easy too!
We still need to do some planning to keep our 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 us, we know!!
In fact, it’s for these exact reasons that our cute toddlers are considerably harder to handle during trips than newborns! But that doesn’t mean it’s a lost cause either. It just means we need to carry along the right toddler travel essentials, like snacks (lots of snacks!), a sippy cup and, of course, toddler car travel toys! We also LOVE audio books and music on long car rides with toddlers.
When looking for the best toddler car travel toys, you’re going to want to make sure they check all the right boxes. They 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 toys are educational, too!
If you aren’t sure about where to start, then you’ve come to the right place. Our list of toddler travel toys for the car will make your trip more fun, organized, quiet and memorable! Keep reading to learn all about the best toddler toys for car travel to keep your energetic little ones entertained and engaged for long bouts of time.
Toddler Car Travel Toys – Table of Contents
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Travel Toys for Toddlers in the Car
While not necessarily a car travel toy for toddlers, the Kids Travel Tray from Lusso Gear contains everything you need to keep your kids occupied while traveling - an iPad viewing stand, a safety belt to latch onto a car seat, a dry erase board to also use as a meal tray, a beverage holder and plenty of storage space for art supplies and other crucial car items for long car rides like toys and books.
This car seat travel tray for toddlers is also very durable, sturdy and made with “toddler resistant” materials to ensure that it can withstand the rigors of kids and car rides. The use of tough, high-quality materials means it will last longer than regular plastic trays and makes it easier to clean. All the upkeep it really needs is an occasional wipe down with a damp towel or a cloth. In addition to all these features, this car travel tray for toddlers comes in 5 different color options so you can choose the one that your toddler will like best!
While perfect for toddlers on a long car ride, this little tray is also great for playing with those airplane travel toys on long haul flights or even in waiting rooms. Kids will love playing on it while traveling, or using it as a meal tray when needed. It’s a cleverly designed travel buddy that helps keep your toddler busy while also keeping your car organized and clean at the same time!
This coloring book is perfect for toddlers who are just starting out with nice big pictures that are easy for toddlers to color.
We also really like this First Coloring Book where your toddler will get to color animals and everyday things. It has large pictures with the words as well.
Both coloring books work well for toddlers aged 1-3 years old. Don't forget some jumbo crayons too!
DeMoca believes in creating toys that impact both children and our planet in a positive way, and with their thoughtful designs, their toys make for some fun, educational times too!
The "My Quiet Book," for instance, is a great way to encourage sensory play in toddlers and get some quiet time while at it. The Montessori toy features 9 different activities that children love interacting with through touch and feel. This is great news for parents because sensory play otherwise tends to be quite the messy affair!
With a lot of cute, attached elements like zippers, buttons and buckles, kids get to engage in activities like matching shapes and getting dressed, without ever needing to leave their car seat.
Parents will also love that this durable toddler travel toy is machine washable, comes with a zippered washing bag, and retains its shape and quality even after multiple washes. It's fun, practical for travel, and easy to maintain! So, if you're looking for a colorful, tactile book that doubles as road trip toys to keep your toddler entertained, the My Quiet Book might be just the right pick.
Until your little one is old enough to strap themselves into their seat, say "buckle up" and hand them this buckle toy from the Buckle Toys Store instead! Buster Square features 6 different colorful buckles in clasp style that help toddlers build fine motor skills by teaching them how to "click" and "snap." But helping tots develop their pincer grasp and hand eye coordination isn't all that this toy is for!
It also comes with brightly colored numbers and shapes embroidered on its side, and a hidden easy-glide zipper pocket for storing whatever your little one wants.
This small, engaging and fun toy is one of the best toddler travel toys.
Your kids will have hours of fun connecting, popping, stretching and bending these Pop Tubes from The Nutty Store. They're a fun and versatile STEM toy designed with the aim of helping kids develop tactile stimulation, fine motor skills, and auditory feedback.
With no sharp edges, these BPA-free plastic tubes are designed to be durable and safe for little hands, so kids can spend loads of time coming up with different ways to play with them. Pushing and pulling them into different lengths, creating sounds and swinging them in circles, or connecting them in the shapes of letters - the possibilities are endless! These toddler travel toys are sure to last a few years keeping your toddler ore preschooler entertained!
Busy boards are excellent toddler travel toys, but they are often heavy. This busy board features zippers, buttons, laces, and buckle clasps, all in a compact, foam board.
Given how lightweight and portable this busy board from The Buckle Toy Store is, it makes an ideal travel toy for long car rides. At 11×8 inches, it’s small enough to fit in most diaper bags, but it’s also a durable product that will last. It also has a handle so your toddler can easily carry it around.
Just note that this busy board is best for younger toddlers and might be a bit too simple for older toddlers who have already mastered buckles and snaps.
The Town Maze Magnetic Puzzle Game from HABA is a compact, easy-to-use puzzle that kids can play with anytime and anywhere. Toddlers get to use their strategic thinking, dexterity and spatial skills to navigate the differently colored balls back to their matching color destinations using a magnetic wand.
The game requires no setting up, is lots of fun to play and is adorable to look at too. It just works on every level! Plus, there are also no pieces to lose, including the wand which easily attaches to the handy storage slot on the side.
Lightweight and easy to slip into a backpack or diaper bag, it is the ultimate travel toy for toddlers when you are on the move. Just keep in mind that this puzzle is best suited for older toddlers who have a bit more focus and can understand the point of the game.
Younger toddlers, on the other hand, can still enjoy moving the balls with the magnetic wand even if they aren't able to understand color matching just yet!
Do you remember those magic drawing boards from when you were a kid? Well, they haven't gone anywhere - they've actually only gotten better! The Double Doodle Board Drawing Tablet from Crayola is sturdy, compact, and features a gel surface on one side and a drawing surface on the other. Be it a game of pictionary or just doodling away the time, this board is up for it all.
Kids get to use the sealed gel surface for doodling with their little fingers, making it one of the best travel toys for toddlers. There's also the reusable drawing surface for drawing on with the three included washable tripod grip crayons.
Mess-free, portable, and fun, this really is one of the best car travel toys for toddlers!
Help your kids lose track of time in the car as they delve into the world of art with these amazing Water Activity Pads from Melissa and Doug! This set of six pads feature colorful illustrations and six different themes – Sports, Occupations, Adventure, Safari, Under the Sea, and Animals. Each pad includes four reusable pages and a refillable water pen.
The chunky pen is easy for kids to hold, stores neatly in the front cover of the book, and is used to color in the scenes, revealing more details and vibrant colors with each stroke. The books are great for promoting fine motor skills, early writing/reading skills, and visual discrimination for toddlers aged two and up.
With no-mess these are ideal travel toys for toddlers in the car.
Books in general are great travel toys not just because they are easy to carry everywhere, but also because they are the perfect tools for building vocabulary and developing speech in infants and toddlers. The five bright board books in the My First 100 Box set are loaded with fun opportunities to learn tons of key concepts and words.
Each book has 100 color photographs to look at and talk about, and 100 simple first words to read and learn. The titles in the series include "Animals," "Numbers," "Foods We Eat," "Words" and "Things That Move."
With colorful, engaging pages and lightly padded covers that make them easy to hold, toddlers will enjoy spending looking through these books.
You really can't go wrong with plenty of books for your toddler to flip through on long car rides. While books are obviously not toys, they will work wonders at keeping your toddler busy - maybe even more than the best toddler travel toys will.
You'll also make good use of them in your hotel room when you are putting your toddler down to sleep for a nap or bedtime.
We especially like boxed sets for the car trips with toddlers to help keep things organized! Plus your toddler can have fun taking the books out and putting them back in!
The one item that we never leave home without! These snack catchers are perfect for giving your toddler an easy to eat snack at anytime. Ours is almost always filled with Cheerios! He carries his snack cup everywhere!
Lift-the-flap books like Where's Spot are ideal for giving to your toddler in the car seat. While your toddler can't read the words, he can spend time going through the pages and finding Spot all on his own!
Where to Travel with Toddlers
More Toddler Travel Resources
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This post was written & edited by:
Celine is the owner of Baby Can Travel. Not only does she have years of experience traveling with babies & toddlers, but she's been helping new parents travel with their babies and toddlers for over a decade.
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.