Skip to Content

Our Favorite Screen Free Travel Toys for Toddlers

First off, I’m not opposed to screen time for toddlers. I’ve always included some screen time on flights to help entertain our toddlers on the airplane. I have found that too much screen time can make my toddlers grouchy and difficult to deal with. So, I always packed a bag of screen free travel toys for toddlers, to also use on the flight and during our time traveling at our destination.

In our airplane activities for babies and toddlers, we explain how a toddler will cycle through all the toddler travel toys you pack in your toddlers backpack for travel.

Our best advice for how to entertain a toddler on a plane is to have a bunch of activities that you can present to your toddler throughout the flight.

travel toys for toddlers in the car
What we pack in our carry-on for toddlers

In this post, you’ll find only non screen time activities for toddlers on planes and on road trips. We recommend several apps for toddlers in the post mentioned above, plus more ideas in our 1 year old travel toys and 2 year old travel toys lists.

This post contains compensated links.

22 Best Screen Free Travel Toys for Toddlers

Here are some of our favorite screen free toddler travel toys. We’ve also included some DIY travel toys for variety later in this post.

toddler travel toys for airplane
best travel toys for toddlers

How to Choose the Best Screen Free Toddler Travel Toys?

If you are wracking your brain trying to think of ways to entertain toddlers on a flight or on a road trip, we have plenty of ideas for you.

For airplane travel toys for toddlers, look for toys that are easy to pack and don’t have a lot of small pieces that you will be constantly picking up off the floor.

screen free travel toys for toddlers packed in a suitcase.
Another example of screen free travel toys, books and activity books we packed.

To help with this problem, we love the Flyaway Designs inflatable toddler airplane bed. It’s the perfect solution for flying with a toddler, giving your toddler a place to play and sleep. And with the design of this airplane bed for toddlers covering the seat and floor space, all your toddlers airplane travel toys won’t end up on the floor.

inflatable bed for airplane

For car travel toys for toddlers, you can go a little bigger and heavier, since you don’t have to pack them in your carry on. We also like this travel tray to help keep everything together on a road trip with a toddler.

Why isn’t Playdough on the list? I’m not a fan of bringing Playdough as a way to entertain toddlers on airplanes. I’ve seen my floor after taking the Playdough out and I’d hate to do that to an airplane, but that’s just my opinion.

DIY Toddler Travel Toys

If you don’t have time to order new toddler travel toys before your flight or you’d rather not spend extra money on travel toys for a flight, here are some fun DIY Toddler Travel Toys:

toddler playing with a DIY toddler travel toy on ferry.
Toddler playing with pipecleaners and spice jar – a DIY toddler travel toy.

Pipe cleaners in a spice jar

This is one of the best toys for travel that you can easily put together yourself! Clean out an empty plastic spice jar and use it with cut pieces of pipe cleaners. Your toddler will have fun trying to fit the pipe cleaners into the jar.

travel toys for toddlers on plane
Our toddler playing with this DIY toddler travel toy on the airplane.

Cheerios strung on a piece of yarn

Another simple but fun toy to include in your DIY travel toys for toddlers is a piece of yarn (or those pipecleaners from above!) that your toddler can string cheerios onto. Our toddler was such a fan of Cheerios that we always had plenty with us anyways! Don’t forget the snack cup so they don’t end up all over the floor.

toddler playing with DIY travel toy.
Stringing cheerios onto a pipecleaner was fun for our toddler!

Use painters tape to make roads for your matchbox cars

Painters tape is the perfect item to pack in your carryon when flying with a toddler. Imagine all the ways to keep toddlers busy on a plane with it! You can use it to make a road across the food tray, use it as stickers, or make a ball out of it…Throw a roll into your toddlers suitcase and you’re sure to make good use out of it!

Craft pom poms for sorting and counting

Our toddler LOVED pom poms! He would carry them around all the time and it became one of my favorite easy airplane activities for our 18 month old! You can sort them into colors, count them or use the construction toys to pick them up! So many uses for them that are all non screen time activities for toddlers on planes!

travel toys for toddlers
travel toys toddler
Our toddlers playing with pom-poms and construction trucks.

Small toys from dollar store

If you have the time and energy, run to the dollar store and grab a bunch of small toys that you can wrap individually. These should all be small and easy to pack. You can keep your toddler entertained on the flight as you give new gifts throughout the flight.

Pin It For Later!

Screen free toddler travel toys

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, 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