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17 Best Travel Toys for Toddlers of 2024

Traveling soon? Don't fly without one of these travel toys.

It can seem daunting to travel with a toddler, and for a good reason. We know the struggle of dealing with an impatient traveler full of energy and new experiences but confined to a small space.

We’ve learned how helpful it is to arm ourselves with a good travel toy (or two). So we created this list of the very best travel toys for toddlers. These toys are easy to transport, highly entertaining, and not so loud as to distract the driver or other passengers. They’ve saved our sanity on more occasions than we can count!

Read on to find the perfect travel toys for your little explorer so you can both enjoy the journey.

Our Top Picks

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Product Comparison Table

Product Image of the Lusso Gear Kids Travel Tray
Best for Multi-Purpose Entertainment
Lusso Gear Kids Travel Tray
  • Multi-trip functions
  • Adjustable safety strap
  • Space-saver
Product Image of the Zoom, Zoom, Baby! Book
Best Book for Travel
Zoom, Zoom, Baby! Book
  • Interactive
  • Lift-the-flap board book
  • Affordable
Product Image of the HABA Town Maze
Best Magnetic Puzzle
HABA Town Maze
  • Magnetic puzzle
  • Eye-catching graphics
  • Develops color recognition
Product Image of the Apple iPad Air
The Obvious Essential
Apple iPad Air
  • Up to 10 hours battery life
  • 9.7-inch retina display
  • Powerful and efficient
Product Image of the Folkmanis Turtle Puppet
Cute Storytelling Companion
Folkmanis Turtle Puppet
  • Award-winning design
  • Exceptionally realistic details
  • Highest quality materials
Product Image of the Sesame Street Elmo's On The Go
Best for Literary Skills
Sesame Street Elmo's On The Go
  • Easy storage
  • Take-along carry case
  • Budget-friendly
Product Image of the Magnetic Drawing Board
Best Old-School Toy
Magnetic Drawing Board
  • Geometric stamps included
  • BPA-free
  • Teo color options available
Product Image of the Wikki Stix
For Crafty Older Toddlers
Wikki Stix
  • No frills package
  • 48 Wikki Stix
  • 8 inches long
Product Image of the Alex Discover Monkey
Learn To Get Dressed
Alex Discover Monkey
  • 21-inch-tall monkey
  • 11 dressing activities
  • iParenting media award winner
Product Image of the HABA Magnetic Toy
Great for Logical Thinking
HABA Magnetic Toy
  • Safe magnetic fun
  • Self contained
  • Encourages counting and color-learning

The Best Travel Toys for Toddlers of 2024

Here are 17 great travel toys to consider.

Lusso Gear Kids Travel Tray

Best for Multi-Purpose Entertainment

This travel tray is a must-have for traveling! It’s an all-purpose, kitted-out, durable tray that’s perfect for road trips or airplane journeys. It has an iPad viewing stand, a cup holder, storage pockets for toys, books, pens, and a safety strap to latch onto a car seat.

No more “Are we there yet?” with this travel tray. Your child will be occupied for hours, whether they’re watching a movie, coloring a picture, playing with toys, or doing all three at once!

User Experience

If you're looking for a versatile and engaging accessory for your child during travel, this tray is an excellent choice. From personal experience, this travel tray not only provides a secure holder for tablets, but also features a dry erase board and ample storage for books, toys, and markers. Its compact design and shoulder strap make it easy to carry and set up. My daughter especially enjoyed the unicorn design and had a blast using it for drawing and writing. The tray proved to be a lifesaver during long car rides, keeping everything within reach and conveniently organized.

Zoom, Zoom, Baby! Book

Great First Book for Travel

When you want to entertain a toddler on a plane, you can’t go wrong with an interactive book. Featuring different animal characters on buses, trains, and more, you’ll probably have your child practicing and mimicking the sound of each.

Also, the author’s signature style of bright colors and illustrations is guaranteed to keep your child wide-eyed and intrigued. If your child is anything like mine, they’ll love lifting the flaps repeatedly to see the images behind them.

Personal Perspective

After reading several of these lift-the-flap books by Karen Katz, I can say they quickly became a favorite for my little one. The vibrant colors and simple storylines engage young readers, making it an interactive and enjoyable experience. My child loves discovering what's hidden behind the flaps, and I've noticed an improvement in their vocabulary as they attempt to "read" the books out loud. While the flaps are not as sturdy as some other lift-the-flap books, the overall value and entertainment these books provide make them an excellent choice for young children.

HABA Town Maze Magnetic Puzzle

Magnetic Puzzle Fun

Fun for keeping the younger ones entertained, this magnetic maze is a great travel pick because there are no pieces to lose. It’s also lightweight and compact, so it won’t take up that much space in your travel bag.

I remember how happy my little ones were as they used the magnetic pen to move the balls from their parking spaces through the maze to various stops. This unique toy inspires imagination and can keep little ones busy for long periods during travel.

Community Feedback

Excellent educational toy that has proven to be a favorite among toddlers and young children. This puzzle provides a sense of accomplishment and helps with hand-eye coordination, making it a great tool for developing motor skills. The magnetic pen feature is innovative, although some younger children may struggle with maintaining the appropriate angle.

Apple iPad Air (Wi-Fi, 64GB)

The Obvious Essential

As we all know, children can be quickly distracted by a cartoon or interactive game when a screen is involved. While we don’t recommend all-day play on one of these, they’re a total lifesaver when it comes to traveling.

This model features 64GB of storage, is Wi-Fi capable, and provides hours of battery life without charging. Load it up with some easy-to-use games and get a durable case while you’re at it.

First-Hand Impression

Love my new tablet! I've been using this tablet every day for both work and leisure, and the touchscreen has made multitasking much more convenient. The learning curve was a bit steep, but watching YouTube tutorials on note-taking and drawing helped me make the most out of this device. My only regret is not opting for a larger storage capacity and cellular data, as I find myself constantly on the go and in need of more space.

Folkmanis Mini Turtle Finger Puppet

Cute Storytelling Companion

Made of durable materials, this soft turtle is great for role play and is a storytelling companion that will help stretch your child’s imagination. There’s space to slide in your fingers and animate the plush puppet turtle while your child plays along.

Your child will most likely want to switch roles and be the storyteller for you. This is an excellent option for open-ended play.

User Experience

I'm impressed with the quality and sturdiness of this finger puppet turtle, which has been a hit with both my son and my granddaughter. The design is realistic and it's easy to manipulate for big and small hands alike, providing endless fun and entertainment. This turtle puppet, being larger than expected, may be a bit challenging for toddlers, but it's still an excellent gift option for under $10.

Sesame Street's Elmo's On the Go Letters

Best for Literary Skills

With a carry-on case for easy storage and 26 letters in an array of colors, this toy makes learning the alphabet so much fun. Kids will enjoy learning new words and letters with the familiar Sesame Street theme.

Underneath each letter is an image of a word starting with that letter. Even if your child can’t say all the letters, they’ll easily begin to identify each.

Personal Perspective

After purchasing this ABC case for my kids, I've noticed it's an excellent learning tool for recognizing letters and shapes in 3D. The letters are easy to pop in and out, and the case is sturdy and colorful. My toddler loves placing the letters, and it has been a great educational toy for him as well as his younger sibling. The puzzle board also acts as a travel and storage case, making it perfect to carry around. Just be aware that some letters might be initially hard for a 2-year-old to remove, but this issue resolves with time and use.

Magnetic Doodle Board

Best Old-School Toy

This magnetic drawing pen and board offer a reusable surface for kids to learn to draw and write step-by-step. It’s a durable tool that’s small and convenient for traveling.

It is a great way to keep your child entertained without the mess of crayons or pens. Scribbling also helps develop your child’s motor skills.

Community Feedback

I recently purchased this drawing board for my young kids, and it has been a hit with both of them. The magnetic stamps are fun to use and help teach about shapes, while the attached pen makes it easy for them to practice writing letters and numbers. The colors might not be as vibrant as shown in the photos, but the board still keeps my children entertained and engaged in creative play.

Wikki Stix Neon Colors Wax Sticks

For Crafty Older Toddlers

These non-toxic, malleable 8-inch sticks can be reused time and time again and are made from food-grade wax and yarn. Bright and colorful, they provide ample opportunity for creativity, whether your child uses them to form letters and numbers, animals, or 3D shapes from their imagination.

When you’re on your next flight or road trip, your child will have the opportunity to enhance their artistic skills with this pack of 48 sticks. Our children enjoyed making all kinds of creations on our vehicle windows with these unique strings.

However, we recommend placing them in a Ziplock bag once the pack is opened to keep them clean.

First-Hand Impression

In my experience, these Wiki Stix are a fantastic way to entertain kids of all ages and spark their creativity. I've seen children create sculptures, jewelry, and even use them for practicing letters and numbers. However, they can get grungy and sticky over time, making them a bit difficult to clean.

Alex Discover Monkey

Learn to Get Dressed

This 21-inch-tall monkey helps kids learn how to use buttons, zippers, laces, and more. A winner of the Creative Child magazine’s Preferred Choice award and the iParenting Media award, the plush fabric monkey teaches kids to dress with its 11 activities.

It’s recommended for toddlers aged 18 months and older. The monkey features socks, a T-shirt, lace-up shoes, and overalls — all of which are totally removable.

User Experience

I'm quite pleased with this modern twist on the classic learning toy, as it offers various fasteners to help teach young children essential dressing skills. While I did encounter some issues with the zipper and button initially, a little adjustment resolved the problem and didn't hinder my child's enjoyment. The bright colors and cute design certainly make this toy visually appealing, though I am yet to test its durability after washing.

HABA Magnetic Game Toy

Great Choice for Logical Thinking

This magnetic flower game is a cute little option for your child to practice their fine motor skills and creative play possibilities.

It operates with a simple action step. All your child needs to do is guide the colored balls using the attached magnetic rod, sorting them to match with corresponding colors. Since it’s a one-piece toy with the wand attached, there are no pieces to lose, and it’s easy to throw into the bag and go.

Personal Perspective

Definitely an engaging and durable toy for young children, this magnetic maze offers a fun way to develop fine motor skills, color sorting, and problem-solving abilities. My 3-year-old grandson loves trying to get all the balls in their correct places, and even though the magnet can sometimes pick up multiple balls at once, he quickly learned how to handle this minor issue. The design is bright and colorful, which is visually appealing to kids, and the wand can be conveniently stored in a slot when not in use. While my older child found the concept a bit juvenile, the toy still provided a challenge for her as well.

Aitey Wooden Lacing Toy

Best for Cognitive Development

These small wooden lacing toys are great for helping kids develop their coordination skills. They’re lightweight, so you won’t have to worry about the hassle of moving around with them. Made from sustainable wood, they’re also eco-friendly.

This set comes with three pieces, each with a different fruit, including holes for your child to thread the strings in and out of. Simple but fun.

Community Feedback

I'm quite pleased with these sturdy wooden lacing toys that are perfect for young children. The fun fruit theme and cute caterpillar "needles" add a creative touch, making it an engaging activity for building fine motor skills. Although they're larger and thicker than I initially expected, it didn't stop my son and his cousins from playing with them for an entire hour! However, I did notice a few minor paint issues and the toys can chip easily if dropped multiple times. Additionally, the caterpillar could be thinner for easier threading through the holes. Parents should also be cautious and supervise their children while playing with this toy, especially if they're prone to playing with necklaces or scarves.
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Fat Brain Toys Dimpl Baby Toy

Friendly Design, Easy to Pack

A cute, colorful option for kids as young as 10 months old, this sleek BPA-free toy is great for tossing in a handbag or backpack.

It contains different-sized silicone “dimples” for your child to push and pop up and down — a fantastic opportunity for them to work their little fingers.

First-Hand Impression

I'm thrilled with this Dimpl Duo toy as it helped my son learn his colors and shapes at an early age, and now my daughter is enjoying it just as much. The lightweight and portable design makes it perfect for on-the-go entertainment, while the high-quality construction ensures durability for rough toddler play. The bright colors and captivating silicone buttons keep my kids engaged, making it an excellent alternative to screen time during car rides. Although it may not be the best teething toy due to the hard plastic edges, it's still a fantastic gift for young children to explore and enjoy.

Melissa & Doug Pull-Back Vehicles

Beep Beep! Hop on Board

Another transportation-focused toy, these soft vehicles are great for kids to skid across any surface while you’re traveling. However, you might have to chase them down the aisle if the kids get the hang of it on a plane!

The size makes it easy for young toddlers to hold and handle. Best of all, you can wash off the dirt that accumulates easily — simply wipe and go.

User Experience

My experience with these soft cars has been fantastic as both a daycare worker and a parent. They are perfect for little hands and have an engaging wind-up feature that makes them zoom across the floor, all without causing damage to walls or other children. However, the velcro on the wheel base can be easily ripped off by kids, so it's best to keep an eye on that aspect; otherwise, these cars are enjoyable and easy to clean.

Crayola Color Wonder Art Desk

Cater to the Budding Artist

This travel art kit is an affordable one, suitable for older toddlers and into the preschool age. This kit is packed with a variety of art supplies and comes with a slim case for easy travel. It includes five stamps and five markers, plus a 15-page coloring pad.

Forget about the hassle of spending a long time cleaning up after drawing time. These markers only show up on special coloring books and refill pages.

Personal Perspective

In my experience, this Planes Fire and Rescue wonder art set has its pros and cons. On the positive side, it's mess-free and perfect for creative little ones who tend to leave marks on furniture and walls. The set is great for gifting, as it comes in individually sealed cellophane packages. However, there were a few issues I encountered—the set is supposed to include 18 coloring pages, but mine only had 12, and it didn't come with any markers, unlike other color wonder sets. Additionally, the paper doesn't clip onto the kit, which can be frustrating during travel, and the stamp is difficult to use, making it hard for kids to see the animal or use it as a stencil.

Buckle Toy Buddy Backpack

Best Backpack Activity

This backpack comes with 12 versatile clasps to play with, supporting the development of toddlers’ motor skills. The material is soft and colorful, and the adjustable straps allow the backpack to grow with your child up to approximately 4 years old.

Most toddlers like to mimic their older siblings, and with this backpack, they’ll feel mature and ready for adventure.

Community Feedback

In my experience, this backpack has been a fantastic addition to my 2-year-old's daily routine. The multiple buckles on both sides provide hours of entertainment and learning, while the soft fabric and friendly design make it an attractive item for children. The backpack is not only great for buckle practice but also serves as a functional bag, holding clothes, toys, and other essentials with ease. Although some users may find the straps for the buckles a bit short, it adds a level of challenge that keeps my child engaged and focused.

Yummy Yucky Board Book

Exploring Taste While Traveling

Traveling presents a great opportunity for our children to taste new things. This book may encourage your child to open up to things they may not try otherwise.

With an expressive toddler as the protagonist, this is an all-time favorite for a good reason. In bright illustrations, the book comically tells the story of a young boy who’s deciding if foods are “yummy” or “yucky.” You’ll have a good giggle with this one.

First-Hand Impression

I'm impressed with this book's ability to engage young children with its simple text and captivating illustrations. As a parent, I found it useful in teaching my toddlers the difference between "yummy" and "yucky" items to put in their mouths. However, the book occasionally portrays unhealthy foods as yummy, so parents should take the opportunity to discuss their own family values and preferences regarding food choices.

Melissa & Doug Flip Fish

Best for the Babies

This cuddly fish friend is colorful and made from washable fabrics. We love that it helps promote grasping and finger strength. Your child will love exploring the multiple textures of the crinkly scales, shatterproof mirror, and more.

Hidden pictures beneath the scales are waiting to be discovered. Suitable for children starting at the baby age range, the flip fish measures 13 inches long but weighs less than a pound. This one might stay around for a while.

User Experience

Love this colorful and soft fish toy for my baby! It has different scales that are perfect for chewing and exploring with little fingers. This fish has been a great companion during car rides, tummy time, and in the swing. Even after washing, it comes out looking like new and continues to keep my baby entertained and engaged.

How to Choose the Best Travel Toys

  • Magnetic pieces: Traveling with a magnetic toy means it’s easier to keep all the pieces in one place.
  • Portability: Some toys are far easier to pack than others, and those are the ones you want. Look for smaller, more compact toys that you can easily tuck away in a handbag or a carrying case. Convenience is key.
  • Erasability: For coloring and drawing games, look for markers that will easily wipe off surfaces. This avoids any mess your child might make.
  • Electronic devices: An iPad or other electronic device is a no-brainer. As we all know, kids get glued to a screen quite easily, and while it’s not great all day long, it might save your sanity on a long trip.

Tips for Keeping Toddlers Entertained While Traveling

  • Make sure to bring along enough toys, not just one or two. Remember, children prefer variety and novelty.
  • Try to surprise your child with a new toy just for your trip. Toddlers are likely to be most entertained by a toy they haven’t seen before.
  • Coloring books and storybooks are great. You can use both to tell stories about the characters.
  • Look for toys with some action required, things they can put together, etc. You want to keep your kid as entertained as possible without going wild.
  • Choose toys that don’t create too much noise, especially if you’re flying, so fellow travelers can rest.
  • Look for easy-to-clean materials, so you can quickly wipe off the gunk that may accumulate if food or liquid spills on them or if they’re dropped on the floor.
  • Keep different toys well-organized in your hand luggage so you can easily pop them out when needed.


How Do I Keep My Toddler Entertained On a Long Flight?

Keep your toddler entertained on a long flight with a variety of small, quiet toys like sticker books, coloring books, puzzles, and favorite comfort items.

Consider introducing new toys for novelty and rotate them throughout the journey. Interactive apps or videos can also be helpful in moderation.

How Do I Get My 2-Year-Old to Stop Crying On a Plane?

To stop a 2-year-old from crying on a plane, first try to understand the reason behind the crying—whether it’s ear pain, boredom, hunger, or discomfort.

Address the issue with snacks, comfort, or distraction. Walking up and down the aisle, if allowed, can also help soothe a restless toddler.

What Should I Pack In My Toddler’s Bag For a Flight?

Pack in your toddler’s bag for a flight: snacks, a water bottle, a change of clothes, small toys and books, a tablet with headphones if using electronic entertainment, wipes, and any necessary medication.

Don’t forget to bring a beloved blanket or stuffed animal. You won’t regret it.

What Toys are Not Allowed On a Flight?

Toys not allowed on a flight typically include anything sharp, resembling a weapon, or that could be perceived as dangerous.

This includes realistic toy guns, large or heavy items, or anything that could disturb other passengers. Always check the airline’s specific restrictions ahead of time.

What is the Best Age For a Toddler to Fly?

The best age for a toddler to fly can vary, but many parents find traveling with toddlers between 2 and 4 years old manageable. At this age, they can be entertained more easily and have more predictable routines, but are still young enough to nap during travel.

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Headshot of Mary Sweeney, BSN, RN, CEN

Reviewed by

Mary Sweeney, BSN, RN, CEN

Mary Sweeney, BSN, RN, CEN is an oncology nurse navigator and freelance medical writer. Mary has 4 years of experience as an officer in the Navy Nurse Corps. including emergency/trauma, post-anesthesia, and deployment medicine.