If you are looking to develop a thick skin, try accompanying a toddler on a plane, train, or automobile trip. Children between the ages of 12 and 36 months do not appreciate being confined to seats, even when it means they’ve earned more passport stamps than most adults. We’ve got 12 toys that will help your tot maintain their sanity (and you yours) while you are en route to your next remote destination.

Our Top Picks

Fire 7 Kids Edition Tablet

Upgrade Choice

Fire 7 Kids Edition Tablet

Alex Discover Button Art Activity Set

Best Budget Buy

Alex Discover Button Art Activity Se

How to Pick the Best Toddler Travel Toys

1. Recommended Age

Be aware that children between the ages of 24 months and 3 years have wildly different skill sets. Choose a toy that’s educationally and behaviorally appropriate for your child. Make sure the pieces are non-toxic, choke-proof, and hazard-free.

2. Materials

We always look for toy things that have the potential to outlast multiple children. Toddlers tend to be particularly rough on their playthings. Choose materials that are durable and easy to clean, such as wood, plastic, and fabric. When it comes to travel, lighter is always better. Veteran Parent Tip: You’ll want to skip out on metal-clad items if you are traveling by air,

3. Number of Pieces

Toddlers enjoy playing with small objects. However, it’s an excellent idea to limit the number of pieces in a toy set. Multipiece are more likely to get lost in transit. If a toy does have a lot of parts, ensure that there is some sort of safety net to keep them stationed. A secure container, magnetic reinforcements, and other connectors work well in transit.

4. Storage

Save your little one unnecessary heartache and frustration by choosing a toy with an integrated or included storage solution. Manipulative are excellent toddler trinkets. However, you cannot expect to keep track of dozens of small plastic pieces when you do not have a place to but them when your child is done playing. Soft foldable storage cases with handles are invaluable to little travelers.

5. Required Skill Set

When it comes time for travel, there are a limited number of skills your toddler will be able to exercise. You can win big by choosing playthings that consist of several small objects. After all, toddlers love working on their fine motor skills. The stage between infanthood and preschool is a particularly curious one. Most kiddos this age enjoy simple puzzles and pretend play. Anything that ignites their little imagination and flexes their creative freedoms is a win-win. It’s just got to be able to fit in a carry-on bag.

6. Level of Stimulation

Consider the fact that the average toddler’s attention span is less than 10 minutes. Still, quick skill-building activities help squelch their never-ending desire to play and explore. Look for the brain- and sensory-simulating activities that are appropriate for enclosed spaces. Your little one may not cease to wiggle, but they may stay a bit more still and quiet than otherwise anticipated. Keep in mind that electronics, particularly those with screens, are incredibly stimulating. Set clear limits for your toddler before offering such toys.

The Winners

#1

Skoolzy Peg Board Set

Editor's Choice

When you’re on the go, space is everything. The Skoolzy Peg Board Set consists of dozens of easy-to-reinvent manipulatives. Calm those flight jitters by joining your kiddo in several soothing sorting and stacking activities. Improve your tot’s number and color recognition skills even when school is miles away. 

These colorful pegs set the stage for ceaseless educational entertainment. The large foam pegboard and lace can be used as the foundation for all sorts of fine motor activities. When you’re little one is finished with the rainbow pieces, they can stow them away in the provided orange drawstring bag.

  • You'll love: Large holes make for easy peg lacing activities
  • Can be used to create all sorts of patterns and designs
  • Stacking and sorting activities galore
  • Comes with a free eBook with hundreds of activity ideas
  • Watch for: Knotted drawstring bag handles pose as choking hazard

Material(s): Foam, plastic, fabric
Number of Pieces: 30 pegs, one foam peg board, and a drawstring bag
Storage: Drawstring bag included
Portability: High
Skill Set: Develops fine motor skills and
Level of Stimulation: High

#2

Fire 7 Kids Edition Tablet

Upgrade Choice

We are firm believers in limiting screen time. Still, the Fire 7 Kids Edition offers kids access to thousands of educational apps, books, movies, and television shows. This purchase even comes with FreeTime Unlimited, a program that limits kids’ access to carefully curated age-appropriate content. It also comes with a kid-proof case that boasts an integrated handle and stand. If you want to keep your kiddo quiet and occupied on your best travel adventure, consider this highly satisfying upgrade option. 

  • You'll love: 2-year worry-free guarantee
  • 1 year of Amazon FreeTime
  • Access to over 20,000 apps
  • Child-proof case in a variety of fun colors
  • Watch for: Hard to limit screen time

Material(s): Plastic, glass, metal
Number of Pieces: One protective case, one tablet, one charging cord, one wall port
Storage: Protective carrying case
Age: years and up
Skill Set:
Level of Stimulation: High

#3

Alex Discover Button Art Activity Set

Best Budget Buy


With the Alex Discover Button Art Activity Set, you can safely cross time zones without having to worry about your child going Jackson Pollock on the back of your seat. This colorful set of click-in buttons will quench your tot’s thirst for creativity without creating a mess. The packaging doubles as a lightweight and compact storage tray. The tiny pieces double as easy-to-sort manipulatives. Toss this kit in your little one’s bag for nonstop entertainment on the go. 

  • You'll love: A variety of colorful templates
  • Puzzle tray doubles as storage container
  • Buttons are large and colorful
  • Buttons click in place easily
  • Watch for: The picture card does not stay in place

Material(s): Plastic, paper
Number of Pieces: 46 buttons, 10 picture cards, two-piece storage tray
Storage: Two-piece tray
Age: 18 months and older
Skill Set: Hand-eye coordination, imagination, fine motor skills
Level of Stimulation: Moderate

#4

Fat Brain Toys Baby Fidget

Best Travel Toy for 1-Year-Old

This futuristic Fat Brain Toys Baby Fidget consists of five colorful silicone dimples that can be popped in and out hundreds of times. It’s an engaging premise for younger tots struggling to maintain their cool between short vacation cat naps. A durable plastic frame holds all the bubbles together. As such, there’s no need to keep track of multiple pieces. Yahoo, parents! Meanwhile, BPA-free silicone provides a sensory-rich experience with no harmful side effects. 

  • You'll love: BPA-free silicone bubbles are safe for curious mouths
  • Encourage fine-motor skills
  • Soothing push and pop motions
  • Great for travel-friendly sensory exploration
  • Watch for: Silicone attracts dust and grime

Material(s): Silicone and plastic
Number of Pieces: One sensory pad
Storage: All one piece
Age: 10 months and up
Skill Set: Hand-eye coordination
Level of Stimulation: Moderate

#5

AquaDoodle

Best Travel Doodle

The person who invented this mess-free doodle pad deserves a big fist pump. Honestly, it’s a wholesome creative activity that doesn’t require cleanup. Fold it up and pop it in your little one’s backpack or carry-on. You will be so happy you did. Just be sure to stock up on extra AquaDoodle pens. Those little buggers tend to go MIA. 

  • You'll love: Mess- and paper-free creativity
  • Lightweight and with cloth carrying handles
  • Does not take up much room
  • Endless creative angles
  • Watch for: Pen is not connected to the pad and, therefore, is easily lost

Material(s): Plastic, fabric, paper
Number of Pieces: One doodle pad, one pen
Storage: Folds up easily
Age: 12 months and up
Skill Set: Hand-eye coordination
Level of Stimulation: High

#6

Trunki Kid’s Travel Neck Pillow

Best Travel Neck Pillow

Okay, the Trunki Kid’s Travel Neck Pillow with Magnetic Child’s Chin Support isn’t technically a toy. Still, you can be sure you travel will be smoother when they involve this friendly neck and chin pillow. Help your little one say comfortable with the help of this incredible adorable posture-boosting neck and chin pillow. 


This cat ear-clad cushion is like a doughnut with paws. The low-profile design can be nestled into the crevice of car seats or strollers. Hidden magnets ensure that it stays in place. A proprietary Trunki Grip enables your kiddo to attach a favorite comforter or blanket. Help your little one make the most of those extended sitting sessions. They’ll be sure to be better rested by the time they reach their destination.

  • You'll love: Features signature blanket grip
  • Comes in a wide range of colors
  • Hidden paw magnets
  • Provides safe and satisfying neck and chin support
  • Watch for: Some kids find them uncomfortable

Material(s): Plush fabric, magnets
Number of Pieces: One neck pillow with blanket connector
Storage: One piece
Age: 18 months to 4 years
Skill Set: None
Level of Stimulation: Low

#7

Melissa & Doug Vehicles Peg Puzzle

Best Wooden Puzzle

This charming vehicle-themed Peg Puzzle from Melissa & Doug provides plenty of backseat entertainment. Your kiddo will have no trouble picking up and placing the peg-topped puzzle pieces. Our kiddo also uses his as a sort of makeshift bingo board for road trips. Are you looking to hone your child’s hand-eye coordination or fine motor skills? This quality piece has it all!

  • You'll love: Cute vehicle-themed puzzle
  • Plastic pegs are easy to grasp
  • Promotes fine motor skills and more
  • Wooden pieces last a lifetime
  • Watch for: Hard to keep pieces in place

Material(s): Wood, plastic
Number of Pieces: One board, eight puzzle pieces
Storage: Pegs fit into board
Age: 24 months and up
Skill Set: Fine motor and pro

#8

Folkmanis Mini Turtle Finger Puppet

Cutest Plush Travel Toy

Keep your little one thoroughly occupied with the help of this charming turtle puppet. They’ll have no trouble focusing on stories and songs lead by this realistic-looking faux pond creature. The Folkmanis turtle is small enough to fit in the pocket of a suitcase. With three individual finger holes, this lovable amphibian traipses right over the edge of a car seat. Forget those tense waiting periods in airport and hotel lobbies. Trust the wise old terrapin. 

  • You'll love: Plush and huggable
  • Never-ending imaginative play
  • Realistic design
  • An excellent storytelling prop
  • Watch for: May want to purchase companion puppets

Material(s): Plush fabric
Number of Pieces: One plush hand puppet
Storage: One piece
Age: 12 months up
Skill Set: Imagination, hand-eye coordination, fine-motor skills
Level of Stimulation: Moderate

#9

Alex Discover Learn to Dress Monkey

Alex’s award-winning discovery monkey is a lovable plush toy that teaches curious toddlers the skills they need to succeed. This jungle creature is clad in fabric overalls, a t-shirt, socks, and sneakers. All the attire can be removed and refitted countless times. What toddler isn’t going to enjoy a skill-building activity disguised as an adorable, friendly jungle creature?

  • You'll love: Learn essential skills
  • A huggable plush toy that doubles as a puzzle
  • Master essential fine motor development
  • Award-winning design
  • Watch for: Some of the activities can be frustrating

Material(s): Fabric, plastic
Number of Pieces: One monkey, two socks, two sneakers, one set of overalls, one bandana
Storage: Everything is connected to the plush monkey
Age: 18 months and older
Skill Set: Fine motor
Level of Stimulation: High

#10

Animal House Plush Horse

It’s so much easier to keep track of multiple plushies when they come with a designated carrying case like the Animal House Plush Horse. Bring these soft and lovable farm friends with you on your next vacation. Your tot will love acting out scenes with their furry equines. They’ll love getting an audible response each time they show their furry friends some love. Round the horses into the barn for more secure travel. 

  • You'll love: Neigh when given a squeeze
  • Four horses set the stage for barnyard adventures
  • A plush stable with carrying handle on the roof
  • Fabric wipes down easily
  • Watch for: Requires two LR44 batteries

Material(s): Plush material
Number of Pieces: Four horses, one stable
Storage: Plush stable with handle
Age: 12 months and up

#11

Wikki Stix Traveler

Best Travel Playset

The Wikki Stix Travel serves as the basis for hours of silent yet engaging backseat entertainment. Our children live to bend and shape these colorful pieces of wax-covered yarn. Wikki even provides a 12-page activity book for times when the imagination juices just aren’t flowing. Of course, the durable plastic carrying case also makes this a tried and true travel companion. As a bonus, the materials are completely non-toxic. 

  • You'll love: A fun and sensory creative outlet
  • Nontoxic materials
  • Comes with a carrying case
  • A colorful guidebook
  • Watch for: Easy to lose

Material(s): Wax, knitting yarn, plastic, paper
Number of Pieces: One travel case, 1444 Wikkies, one guidebook
Storage: Plastic carrying case with integrated handle
Age: 3 years and up
Skill Set: Fine motor skills, imagination
Level of Stimulation: High

#12

Click n' Play Doll Puppy Set

Take your pretend puppy along on your vacation, even if it means leaving real Fido behind. The  Click n’ Play Doll Puppy Set comes with nine imagination-boosting accessories. Your little tot will love brushing and feeding their plush pet. A perfect snuggle bundle for long car trips and airplane adventures.

  • You'll love: Durable carrying case
  • Pretend play accessories
  • Leash
  • Entertaining
  • Watch for: Many pieces to keep track of

Material(s): plush fabric and plastic
Number of Pieces: one puppy and nine accesories
Storage: Soft carrying case
Age:
Skill Set: Matching, recognition, fine motor skills
Level of Stimulation: High

#13

Lewo Wooden Educational Toys

Leave the entertaining to Lewo. Their powerhouse easel will help you keep your squirmy kiddo satisfied for hours on end. This double-sided work surface features two sides consisting of a whiteboard and a blackboard. It also contains over 100 magnetic puzzle pieces. Colored chalk, whiteboard marker, and double-sided eraser are included with the kit. Lewo even snuck a full-color guide book into the mix. The durable wooden foundation could withstand Bam Bam’s powerful first. Alas, travel-friendly toddler-proof arts and crafts are here to save the day!

  • You'll love: Durable wooden easel
  • All the supplies are included
  • 100 magnetic puzzle pieces
  • Full-color guidebook full of entertaining ideas
  • Watch for: Many pieces to keep track of

Material(s): Wood, paper, magnets
Number of Pieces: 100 magnetic pieces, one suitcase-shaped magnetic whiteboard-clad container
Storage: Container with metal closure
Age:
Skill Set: Matching, recognition, fine motor skills
Level of Stimulation: High

Quick Decision

Skoolzy Peg Board Set – Best Overall
Your toddler will be thrilled to sort, build, pattern, and draw with these durable plastic pegs.

Fire 7 Kids Edition Tablet – Upgrade Choice
Travel often? Opt for our upgrade option. This kid-friendly tablet consists of carefully curated content in a kid-proof case.

Alex Discover Button Art Activity Set – Best Budget Buy
Offers hours of inexpensive yet rich entertainment.

Best sensory toys

Sensory play is important and beneficial for babies, toddlers and children. If you’re wondering what to pick, take a closer look at our favorite sensory toys for easy picking. 

Gary B.

Gary B.

Gary is a father of two, self-identified RC fanboy, and part-time guitar plucker. When he's not racing his collection of remote-controlled vehicles or strumming away, we bend his arm and get him to write with precision and expertise on a range of mechanical and electrical toys.

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