So what are the best travel toys and good toys for a road trip? We are always looking out for great road trip games and activities to entertain children on the road. We are very lucky that our kids travel pretty well, and rarely do we have the repeated sounds of ‘ are we nearly there yet ?’ echoing throughout the journey. I often get asked how to entertain kids on the road, so I thought I would put our best travel toys and activities together here. We have experienced long road trips with a baby and a toddler, as well as road trips as our kids have got older. My first tip is to try to pack the children a travel bag. I generally don’t involve them in the packing process, to create a ‘travel surprise bag’ – I find the surprise of what’s in their bag helps to entertain them alone.
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Best travel toys: What ways can you entertain kids in the car or on a road trip?
I have put together a list of a few ideas to keep kids occupied on a road trip or a long car journey, including a few road trip games, healthy snack ideas whilst travelling, and our pick of toys to take on travels.
1) Travel books for kids and best books for a road trip
I always put in a book or two and find it keeps the kids entertained no matter what their age. They are also well used during a camping trip as all my children still love their bed time stories before they go to bed. We love the lonely planet travel journal and the Ispy collection of books – ideal for travelling with young children. There are also great kids audio books – look out for free audio books and kids podcasts. We do pay for Spotify and there is a great selection of music and podcasts online.
2) Road trip crafts – kids mosaics
So what are fun things to do in the car on a road trip? I came across these wonderful mosaics and they are a great size for travelling. My girls LOVE them. The smaller size easily pack into a kid’s rucksack or travel bag, and I find that they not only keep the girls entertained for a good part of a journey, they also entertain them during our camper van breaks. We also love the travel doodles book and other activity books and sticker books that I pick up from amazon or the works at a good price.
3) DVDs and tablets for travel
I know camping is all about the fresh air, beautiful scenery, great outdoors and time with the family away from screens, but I also know that adding a movie into a road trip can definitely pass an hour or two. We try to entertain the kids without technology for as long as possible but have equally found them invaluable on journeys where we have been stuck on a gridlocked motorway. We love the amazon kindle fire for kids and try to download a few games, and kids character episodes before the journey… a great way to entertain a toddler in the car! If your kids don’t get car sick, then a kindle is great for reading books and activities.
4) Free printables
There are so many free road trip game printable for kids that you can download on the internet nowadays, and they are a great and cost efficient way for entertaining kids during mealtimes in restaurants or on a car journey. I print out a few colouring pages and travel games such as dot to dot, word searches and spot the difference. It always helps to entertain the older children both on the road and once you get to your destination and even better they are free.
5) Pipe cleaners
Pipe cleaners are so cheap but can keep kids entertained for hours. My girls make bracelets but some kids will make stick men or general objects! They are also really cheap to pick up.
6) Water colouring sets
Mess free colouring. No more words needed! Such a brilliant toy to take on holiday.
7) Magazines/sticker books
I know that magazines can work out expensive but occasionally as a treat I add a couple of magazines into the girls’ bags. I find the magazines entertain them during the car journey, and the freebies that come with a magazine entertains them throughout the holiday. My eldest loves the craft and art magazines and these often keep her entertained during our holiday too.
8) Road trip games for kids of all ages
We always take card games with us as it occupies the children on rainy days, provides a little down time and also occupies the children in the car. We recently purchased a travel chess set and I have loved teaching my older daughter (who is 9) the rules of the game. We also love UNO – a much loved card game. Travel chess, magic cube, travel guess who …. the list is endless.
Other car games include I- spy – a guessing game where one player chooses an object and names the first letter of the object, and other players try to guess the object.
Cloud shapes – where children make shapes out of the clouds in the sky.
9) Rainbow mini scratch art
Mini scratch art are is great, we have this note set, and the kids etch doodles, words, pictures on the matt black coating to reveal rainbow colours underneath.
10) Scrap books
My eldest loves a scrapbook, so we pack a scrapbook on our car journeys. The girls take it in turns to draw pictures, write lists, note the road signs..and whilst we are away they save their treasures, driftwood, shells etc to add when we get home. A scrap book is a great option to keep them occupied and also reminds them of their travels.
11) Audio players
Audio players are growing in popularity and I can see why. Audio players offer screen free entertainment and are great to take away on their travels too. But what are the best portable audio players? We recently carried out a review of the Tonies audio player and it really worked for our travels. Content is downloaded via wifi and stored in the Tonie Cloud, so the Toniebox and Tonies can be taken anywhere once charged. This means that stories can be played without wifi access, with 7 hours of battery life.
Toddler toys for a road trip
It can be tricky to entertain a toddler in the car, and it is always good to have a few things up your sleeve to keep young children occupied on those long car journeys and unexpected traffic jams. So what activities can you pack for younger children?
1) Tin activities
We absolutely love these gift in a tin activities. We have the farm in a tin and the zoo in a tin and they have been amazing to entertain our toddler on a plane, in the car, and on our camper van holidays.
2. Sticker books
Our toddler loves a sticker book and they are relatively cheap to buy. I often keep my eyes out for books that may work for our travels in the sales and put them away for our holidays.
3) Wipe clean books and aqua doodle
Mess free colouring, what is not to love about wipe clean books and water colouring? They are a fantastic travel toy for toddlers and also for older kids as they can keep them occupied in restaurants, on the plane and in the car.
4) Teddy bears
We always pack a favourite comforter and teddy bear or two. They are great for role play and nap time whilst out and about.
5) Toddler books for the car
Our toddler loves the touch and feel books and the lift and flap books, and they are great to pack in a travel bag for holiday.
6) Fuzzy felt activities
Fuzzy felt activities are great for hand luggage. Children love the interactive soft felt books to make novelty scenes and pictures with the felt shapes.
7) Primary lacing beads
Primary lacing beads are designed to encourage your little one to improve their fine motor skills by threading the beads onto the laces. There are 30 beads in 6 colours and they keep our toddler occupied for hours on the road, on our travels and also at home.
8) My busy books
These are great and relatively cheap to buy. They are a book and activity set all in one. My busy books are novelty books that come with a book, activity books and figures that keep toddlers entertained for hours. We have the paw patrol busy book and princess busy books at home.
9) figures and dolls
My little man absolutely loves his paw patrol figures. He packs a few in his rucksack where we go and they keep him occupied both on the road and whilst we are away on our trips.
Available from Spin Master on Amazon
Car activities for babies
We always packed a comforter for our baby, this could be a much loved dummy, blanket or teddy bear.
2) Lamaze pram and sensory toy
All three of our children loved the Lamaze pram toys, particularly the colourful Freddie the firefly.
3) Fun key toys
What is it about toy keys and mobile phones that babies just love? Small, easy to pack and entertain babies whilst in their car seat.
4) Spiral activity hanging toy
This toy wraps around the handle of the car seat and provide hours of entertainment with the hanging shapes and mirrors.
5) Musical books
Musical books are great to pack for the car, and also whilst you are out and about. We also used to pack a bath book for the toddler paddling pool on holiday
6) Stacking cups and a watering can.
Easy to pack in rucksack and provides hours of entertainment in the car, in the bath, swimming pool and on the beach.
Travel snack ideas for kids
We don’t go anywhere without packing a few snacks in the rucksack. Stopping off for many drinks, toilets and food stops can add hours on to a journey, which is soul destroying and costly!!! I always pack a little selection of healthy travel snacks so here are a few ideas including toddler snack ideas:
- pots of dried cereal
- hard boiled eggs,
- crackers and cream cheese,
- sandwich wraps.
- fresh fruit
- squeezable yoghurt tubes
- cut vegetables including carrots and cucumber.
- vegetable crisps
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Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Should you click to purchase, this is at no extra cost to you, but I receive a small commission