Best Travel Toys for Babies & Kids

With luggage space at a premium, we want to help you pack the best travel toys for babies and toddlers. Whether you’re traveling by plane, train, or automobile, these toys and games are compact and engaging. We hope our top toys for family travel will help make your next journey memorable.

When you arrive at your final destination, a BabyQuip Quality Provider can provide a toy package to supplement what you bring to keep your kids entertained.

Best travel toys for infants under one.

1. Teethers

image courtesy of Palumba

Infants are easy to entertain with found objects and ceiling fans, but it’s handy to have a mouth-worthy teether on hand for when baby wants to do some oral exploration. Whether you pack a favorite teether or surprise baby with a new one for the trip, teethers are a must-have when traveling with infants. We especially love these all natural wood teethers—as a bonus, they’ll look great in your vacation pics!

2. Hanging Travel Toys

image courtesy of Infantino

Another go-to infant toy for travel is the ubiquitous hanging toy. You can easily pick one up from a big box store or seek out a hand-crafted one from Etsy. When hung from a car seat or stroller, the colors, shapes, and mirrors will keep your baby engaged and those kitten-like swings will help her develop fine motor skills and learn about cause and effect.

3. Dimpl

image courtesy of Dimpl

Engaging and compact enough to fit in a small purse, the Dimpl is the ideal travel toy. We’ve seen infants and toddlers intrigued by this colorful, modern toy. Looking for something even smaller? The Simpl Dimpl clips onto your purse or diaper bag.

Best travel toys for toddlers.

1. Wooden Threading Toy

image courtesy of Wanderwood Co.

Threading toys help little ones develop hand-eye coordination, fine motor dexterity, and problem solving skills. Toddlers love to place objects in and out of boxes and through tunnels—threading through holes is a travel-friendly version of this activity. You can help your little one problem solve by threading the toy and then helping them unthread it.

2. Melissa & Doug Water Wow!

image courtesy of Melissa and Doug

This mess-free, water painting activity pad is plane and car friendly. There are a variety of themes to choose from, so your little one can learn numbers, practice letters, or color their favorite vehicle. We’ve seen curious toddlers learn how to unscrew the refillable water pen (and take a sip!) so we recommend some supervision while using the Water Wow!

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3. Magnetic Drawing Board

image courtesy of Lakeshore Learning Materials

Magnetic drawing boards are great for helping your toddler learn about shapes. Draw a circle or triangle, ask your child to name the shape, have them trace the shape with their finger, and then ask them to draw the shape. They even come in handy travel sizes with carabiner style clips, making them easy to take anywhere.

4. Finger puppets make great travel toys.

image courtesy of Kaplan

Puppets are great for introducing your toddler to imaginative play. And since ten finger puppets can fit easily in a sandwich sized bag, these pinky sized toys are perfect for traveling families. In our experience, making up a silly story really helps the time pass quickly.

5. Bag of Treasures

Here’s a travel toy that you can put together using items you already own. Fill an old purse or small bag with random curiosities—sea shells, interesting rocks, used gift cards, miscellaneous utensils, old eyeglasses, a pill organizer filled with small snacks—and then let you little one open the bag and explore its contents. We suggest only including items you don’t mind losing and be sure to avoid items that may pose a choking hazard.

6. Flash Cards

image courtesy of Danielle Hansen

The toddler version of a deck of cards, flash cards are small enough to take anywhere. Search out a free printable that strikes your fancy or pick up some at a big box store. You can help your toddler learn numbers, letters, animals, shapes and more from just about anywhere in the world.

7. Reusable Drawing Pad

image courtesy of Crayola

We love drawing while traveling for the same reasons we love it at home—it’s a quiet, stationary activity. Unless your little artist likes to enthusiastically describe their masterpiece, in which case it might not be super quiet. But still, drawing engages little brains, imagination, and fingers. It’s not practical to lug around art supplies while traveling, which is why we love this reusable activity kit from Crayola—just draw, wipe, and repeat.

Best travel toys for preschoolers.

1. Activity Pads

For preschool-aged travelers, there are many activity pad options on the market. From favorite movie characters, to pre-reading skills, and math development—tuck a few activity pads into your check-on and pull them out when your little one gets bored. Activity pads are fun on a road trip, long plane ride, or while waiting for a table at a restaurant.

2. Triangular Crayons

image courtesy of Crayola

There’s nothing worse than when your kid drops some critical item in the back seat of the car. Save yourself from having to pullover to retrieve a dropped crayons—outfit your travel drawing supplies with roll-proof, triangular crayons. Have you ever tried to bend over in your airplane seat and pick something up off the floor? Save your back, neck, and arms—pack some triangular crayons. What a simple and brilliant solution!

3. Crankity Brainteaser

Image courtesy of Fat Brain Toy Co.

At just six by seven inches in size, the Crankity Brainteaser is a no-brainer travel toy. Players use small gears to solve puzzles—developing problem-solving and critical thinking skills. Demanding a certain amount of concentration, this toy is best for kids at least six years of age.

4. Hot Dots Jr.

image courtesy of Educational Insights

Your little will identify shapes, practice numbers, and learn early math with help from the Hot Dots interactive pencil. This activity book is designed with traveling families in mind and would make a fun addition to your next family trip.


  1. Mary

    February 22, 2020 at 6:22 pm

    Oh my goodness! An amazing article.

  2. Kate Frydman

    January 30, 2020 at 6:07 am

    I love playing games with my kids on flights. they like flashcards.

  3. Ashley Brown

    January 29, 2020 at 1:38 am

    Clings for the airplane windows is genius lol!!!!!!! 🙂

  4. Jennie Marten

    January 7, 2020 at 4:54 pm

    The flash card idea is good. It could keep the kids occupied for a while.

  5. Whitney Pagano

    October 30, 2019 at 7:15 pm

    These are such great toy suggestions for travel. Our daughter is 2 and at that age where riding in the car is becoming challenging because there isn’t sufficient things to occupy her and we don’t want to jump right to screen time. Thanks for the great suggestions – will definitely be purchasing some for an upcoming flight and future car trips!

  6. Juliana

    October 30, 2019 at 1:28 am

    Those Melissa & Doug Water Wow books are brilliant. My kids still love them. We bring them on our long road trips. My baby also loves (still) those buckle buddy things. Just buckling and unbuckling. Easy and entertaining.

  7. Vicky

    October 29, 2019 at 6:13 pm

    The Melissa and Doug water wows are the best! I found a 10-pack online and my boys played with them for a long time on our last road trip.

  8. Alisha Zwirtz

    October 29, 2019 at 5:39 pm

    Great toy suggestions! I especially love the ‘Bag of Treasures’ idea. I am going to begin doing that every time we travel. They always pick up random bits anyway–my kids will love the extra attention of making it into a game.

  9. Lisa Holmes

    October 29, 2019 at 10:37 am

    We had a lot of luck with the “Bag of Treasures” idea when our little guy was around a year old. I would just throw small things from the junk drawer into a makeup bag and let him go to town!

  10. Jenny Bubenik

    October 23, 2019 at 3:28 pm

    We fly a lot and my trick with little ones is to attach a her toys to a binkie string so that she can’t drop her toys. I never thought to buy a hanging toy. That would provide so many more things to do on one easy setup instead of 10 different strings.

  11. Megan C

    October 21, 2019 at 3:39 pm

    I just discovered the Dimpl for my one year old and he loves it, I think it would be great for toddlers as well as babies. Actually, it’s one of those easy entertainment items for adults too!

    1. Jenny Bubenik

      October 23, 2019 at 3:30 pm

      I keep seeing add for the dimpl but haven’t jumped at it yet. I think I’m going to now.

  12. Meaghan Barrera

    October 19, 2019 at 2:05 pm

    Window clings (the kind you find in the dollar bins) are fun for my toddler. They can stick to the plane window or the tray table.

    1. Jenny Bubenik

      October 23, 2019 at 3:31 pm

      That’s brilliant. How have I never thought of doing that. That’s definitely a must on our next flight

    2. Jennifer Wold

      October 23, 2019 at 4:56 pm

      Such a good idea Meaghan! That would even entertain me, lol!!

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