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Best Baby And Toddler Travel Toys: Our Must Have Tried and Tested Picks Which Work!

Wikki stix, pom pom toy, window gel cling and laces with cheerios all make great travel toys (photo credit: Carrie Bradley - Flying With A Baby)
Wikki stix, pom pom toy, window gel cling and laces with cheerios all make great travel toys for airplane trips. (Photo credit: Carrie Bradley – Flying With A Baby)

Looking for some ideas for the best travel toys for babies and toddlers that encourage creativity and how to entertain a toddler on a plane? Check out these toys we have used over and over for both of our girls on multiple long haul flights and at our destination too!

Hi, I‘m Carrie and ex flight attendant and parent of two, who have flown since they were 11 weeks old long and short haul, and all those toddler flights and beyond! We’ve experienced plenty of flights with babies, toddlers, younger children even 24 hours flights to Australia!

We have plenty of brilliant suggestions that my girls have used, ranging from easy compact toys like puzzles that feed their imagination, toys you can put together from cheap household items, to tried and tested baby and toddler travel toys to buy.

These travel activities and toys are also great for your destination and at home too.

Some of our suggestions include sensory toys that instigate exploration, whereas others are more educational, screen free, or creative play without the mess – like imaginative puzzles. Best of all they are quiet!

Just some of the many travel toys we have used, from the Duplo train, to water wow, links, Find the Duck. See even more below! (photo credit: Carrie Bradley - Flying With A Baby)
Just some of the many travel toys we have used, from the Duplo train, to water wow, links, Find the Duck. See even more below! (Photo credit: Carrie Bradley – Flying With A Baby)

‘Flying With A Baby’s’ recommended:

BEST BABY AND TODDLER AIRPLANE TRAVEL TOYS

Why trust our reviews? With some epic journeys from the UK to Australia and plenty of short and other long haul flights flying with toddlers and babies under our belt, we have needed to keep our little ones occupied with a variety of puzzles, toys and travel activities that harness their imagination and learning.

We have personally used many of these items and for the ones we haven’t other readers or friends have recommended.

I have included some cheap and/or easy to make options too. All of which will help you entertain a toddler on a plane or in a car.

Some of the toys we have used; triangular crayons, road tape, toy in a tin and more. (Photo credits: Carrie Bradley - Flying With A Baby)
Some of the toys we have used include; triangular crayons, road tape, toy in a tin and more. (Photo credits: Carrie Bradley – Flying With A Baby)

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baby and toddler travel toys, flying with a baby
We discovered Link toys are SO useful on a bassinet

Our review experts are also fellow parents, who like myself, have traveled extensively and paid for and used many of these toys ourselves, with different aged toddlers on various long and short haul trips. Many of our well travelled parents can be found on our 27,000 parent strong Travel with Babies and Toddler Facebook group or on the new Travel With Kids Forum offering helpful advice too!

Our girls with various toys when traveling! Including link toys, stickers, Fisher Price people toys (photo credit: Carrie Bradley - Flying With A Baby)
Our girls with various toys when traveling! Including link toys, stickers, Fisher Price people toys (photo credit: Carrie Bradley – Flying With A Baby)

We have bought and tried the majority of these toys on long and short flights, at hotels, on road trips and just out and about. Do let us know what worked well for you!

Airplane Travel Toys for Babies

Suction Cup Spinners toy on an airplane window
We’ve used these spinners and stuck them to plane and car windows. (Image: Carrie Bradley/Flying With A Baby)

Fidget Spinner

These are so portable to grab and pop in your travel bag and stick on a plane window, train window, a hotel fridge and a variety of places. They are recommended for 18 months and up. Inside is a tiny rattle so a small sound is made as they twirl around but it didn’t disturb any passengers. Our toddler loved playing with them.

You can buy them easily from Amazon worldwide and Walmart is another alternative store for U.S readers. They are a similar price at either place.


stacking cups travel toy

Munchkin Caterpillar Spillers Stacking and Straining Cups

We had these at home already for the bath, so I always packed them for our trips. They are perfect for bath time fun abroad, for the swimming pool at our destination, but they also came in handy for as stacking towers on the plane.

The cups are in bright colours so the have an educational element to them too as little one can learn the colours and develop their fine motor skills when stacking them.

They also have the option of being stuck together to form a caterpillar and for pouring water. These were definitely one of our go to’s for travelling. You can buy them from several places, including Amazon worldwide, Walmart (the most expensive) and Munchkin directly.


melissa and doug shape sorter travel toy

Melissa And Doug’s Take Along Shape Sorter

The regular shape sorter game was a hit at home at the “posting’ stage of my two tots. And this one is ideal for on-the-go with it’s soft carry case.

It’s a great game for little hands and one that is easy to transport whilst traveling. Yes, it does have pieces which could drop, but this is useful for little ones to play with in the more secure airplane bassinet (if they don’t keep throwing them out which is another game in itself with mine!) or at your destination.

The shape sorter is available worldwide on Amazon and also for the same price on Walmart if you are in the U.S


sunsense UV tent and sassy o ring teethers travel toy with baby
My baby playing in her UV tent on a trip away with the ring o links teethers (Image: Carrie Bradley/Flying With A Baby)

Sassy Ring-O-Links Teethers

A firm favourite of ours since she was a tiny baby and she still loved these link rings as a small toddler. The links have bright colours and have different textures on which appeals to babies sense of touch.

All linked together they can be used as a rattle, or separately as a teether. Another very versatile toy.

baby and toddler travel toys, flying with a baby
(Image: Carrie Bradley/Flying With A Baby)

They work brilliantly on airline bassinets and are ideal for travel car seats too. Another use is to use them as a tether for other toys, so they are easy to retrieve if dropped. You can buy them from Walmart if you are in the US, but they are cheaper and also available worldwide on Amazon


Buckle Toy Whale- ideal for keeping toddlers and older babies busy on a flight or long car journey.
Our Buckle Toy Whale (Image: Carrie Bradley/Flying With A Baby)

Buckle Toy Whale

My 1 year old LOVED this interactive buckle toy whale and it kept her so busy.

So many people have sung its praises to me after purchasing it, so I often buy it as a travel gift for friends with little ones.

This durable Buckle Toy Whale has several buckles to do up and a zip mouth.

The only issue is once my toddler mastered the buckle, she asked a pretty quickly for me to unbuckle it so she could undo them all over again. Nonetheless, it has easily occupied her for over 30 minutes – a minor miracle!

Now it’s a firm favourite on all our journeys, car included. It’s one of the best toddler toys for airplane use, because it is so quiet. We bought ours from Amazon, but US readers also have the option of buying it for the same price at Walmart.


Find the Duck - greta book for babies and toddler when travelling.
Find the Duck

Find the Duck book

Our family love this classic book of from the ‘Find The .. series There are lots of things to spot besides the duck on each page.

Both of our girls have loved this book so much that I had to buy two copies due to over use! You can buy it on Amazon worldwide and US readers can also buy it for the same price on Walmart.


Dimpl Toy

The dimpl toy is pop it type toy for little ones over 10 months. Babies can push and pop the silicone bubbles built into a plastic frame. There are lots of Dimpl toys on Walmart if you are in the US, or you can buy this one on Amazon worldwide.


hide and seek pig book cover

Hide-and-Seek Pig Lift the Flap Book

The pictures are by Axl Schelffler and are so engaging, with a lift the flap on every page. It’s easy to see why these books are so popular with young children.

Both of mine loved them from an early age and now the older one reads it to my youngest. Win win! You can buy it easily on Amazon and other book stores.


AIRPLANE TRAVEL TOYS WE HAVE USED FOR TODDLERS (And Older Babies)

I’ve frequently been asked, ‘How to keep a 1 year old busy on a plane?’ and “What toddler airplane activities do you recommend?” Unlike younger babies, toddlers, need a little more entertaining! Good ideas for travel toys for toddlers on airplanes include toys which are quiet, practical, hands on and mess free!

The same applies for toddler toys for the car – unless you can handle the tunes or noise!

The following travel toys have worked well for myself and other parents.

I highly recommend wrapping some of the plane toys for toddlers, particularly the smaller items, in paper and tape as this provides extra entertainment for your little one and their inquisitive fingers. (Obviously not practical to wrap loads if you have several tots – but a couple of small surprises for all really does help in moments of need!)


water wow travel toy we used
We have used a variety of the Water Wow on the go books. (Image: Carrie Bradley/Flying With A Baby)

Melissa & Doug Water Wow!

These water pen books by Melissa & Doug Water WOW have an educational bonus. Just make sure you empty the pen from water before security or add it to your clear plastic bag due to the current liquid 100ml rules. The water wow books are reusable and both girls liked the activity.

I recommend having a spare ziploc bag when on trips with kids for so many reasons but you may want to pop yours in one in case the pen leaks.

I also used to pop them in my bag for when we were eating at restaurants too. You can buy from Amazon and US readers also have the option of Walmart too.


triangular crayons
Triangular crayons won’t roll off the table (Image: Carrie Bradley/Flying With A Baby)

Triangular Crayons

Every person we have sat next to on a plane has been amazed by these, Such a simple idea but clever! We were given the ones above at a restaurant, but if you want a wider selection of colours; Melissa & Doug have them on Amazon and Walmart. Genius idea, and one of the best toys for toddlers on planes!


Pop Tubes Sensory Toys

Pop Tubes Sensory Toys can connect together to form different shapes and words. They are textured and a great sensory fidget toy. The tubes stretch and help improve fine motor skills, motor planning & hand strength. These ones on Amazon worldwide are recommended for kids age 3+, alternatively there are some similar ones here on Walmart


wikki stix
My eldest daughter made some glasses out of the Wikki Stix on a flight. (Image: Carrie Bradley/Flying With A Baby)

Wikki Stix

Wikki Stix have been popular with both of mine, but they are ideally suited to an older toddler. preschooler and beyond if played with independently. Otherwise-they can help you make fun designs. My eldest made the glasses in the photo above.

They are mess free and made of string with wax over, allowing the pieces to stick together for fun designs. You can buy packs from Amazon or even a Wikki Stix carry travel case full of them from Walmart.


Travel Activity Set

This Travel Activity set from Etsy, has 3 different age versions, with a toddler set from aged one to two. Some of the travel activities include: pop its, bristle blocks, flashcards, a snack, suction cup toy, a board book. They all come with a carry case with a handle.

If you have older kids then the Preschool (ages 3-5) and older kids version has lots of fun bits.


window gel cling activity travel toy for toddlers and kids on an airplane window
Window gel clings work on airplane windows, car windows and at home too. (Image: Carrie Bradley/Flying With A Baby)

Window Gel Clings

A hit with our toddler. Gel Window stickers or gel clings are reusable, mess free and very handy if you have a window seat on a plane, or even for road trips in a car or coach. These are better for older pre-schoolers though as younger ones may like to put them in their mouth. 

If you cannot find any window stickers or don’t have a window seat, then stickers, bandaids, post-it notes are another option for cheap toddler travel games. These can easily be stuck on seat rests and airplane tray tables for fun too!

You can buy these from several places including Amazon like us.


Playmobil Dino Explorer Carry Case

My youngest daughter is a HUGE dinosaur fan. We bought the Dino Explorer Playmobil set which is ideal for dinosaur lovers aged 4 and above.

The set includes 2 figures two dinosaurs, net cannon, rock wall, and other accessories a mini map and dinosaur bones!

The carry case is sturdy with a handle, so compact and easy to transport. There are other similar sets in the series including a fairy unicorn case, construction case, a puppy play set amongst others. Our one is available on Amazon.


Zoo Magnetic Playset

The magnetic board opens up and creates a scene with characters and accessories that stick to the board. The magnetic board does reduce the chance of them being dropped on the floor when travelling so a pretty good travel game to bring along. You can buy this on Amazon worldwide.


Sweetie necklace and cheerio travel activity (photo credit: Carrie Bradley - Flying With A Baby)
Sweetie necklace and cheerio travel activity (photo credit: Carrie Bradley – Flying With A Baby)

Sweetie necklace with strawberry laces and Cheerios.

I also liked this screen-free activity my friend suggested to add to my selection of toddler travel toys: some Cheerios or any cereal with a ring shape and a sweetie lace. Great for fine motor skills and the kids like making and eating them too. Plus it takes a bit of time for small hands, eating in to your flight time.


Melissa & Doug Tape Activity Book:

For ease, this Melissa and Doug Tape Activity book has reusable activities with kids washi tape. Washi tape is

You can get rolls themed with dinosaurs, pirates, cars, fairytales and more. Great for roll play and sticking on the airplane tray table as it is easily removable and mess free. You can even buy washi tape or masking/painters tape which is marked out like a road. Or draw your own road markings on plain painters tape. Just add a toy car and zoom!

The Melissa and Doug activity book was from Amazon but you can also buy it from Walmart.


kids play tape is a great travel toy as it can be added anywhere, and is easy to remove

Road Tape

This is genius and leaves no residue or mess. My kids loved it as I could literally use it anywhere .You can buy role play/painter tape or road play tape from Amazon.

It is ideal as it doesn’t ruin furniture and can be used anywhere, making cars and road tape perfect toys for toddlers on airplanes. You can buy rail track tape to, if you wish to extend the train track from train in a tin above!

You can but the same road tape as us from Amazon but it’s also available on Walmart.


LEGO DUPLO My First Number Train

This was a staple for our baby stage and toddler too!

My one-year-old and four-year love Duplo. The number train is easy to pack both girls loved playing with the set. (We just discarded the box for easier packing). We actually bought this on one of our trips away, I think in Vermont and then kept bringing it along as it was such a success. 

Pieces can obviously drop on the floor of a car or airplane, so we opted to just use a couple of pieces from this set on the plane and saved the rest for playing with at the destination.

If you are staying in a hotel room, villa, or Air BNB which doesn’t have any toys, bringing a few toys for moments of boredom or quiet time can prove invaluable. You can buy from Amazon worldwide though if you want a speedy delivery, and US readers also have the option of Walmart.


Busy Board Backpack

Another novel idea for younger children, is a travel busy board – where everything is in one place but there are plenty of activities for little hands. These include: a great sensory toy with lots of zips, buttons and games to play which are all part of a bag.

This Montessori toddler travel bag has enough space for favorite books, coloring crayons, paper, snacks and even a water bottle too!

You can buy it from Amazon, or if the US, there is also a similar Busy Backpack on Walmart


Toy in a Tin

There are quite a few of these toy play scenes in a tin. One version is a toy train set and track. You can buy extra rail track to extend the track around the tray table or hotel floor which leaves no messy residue behind! You can buy the Train in a Tin from Walmart or Amazon.

Our farm in a tin travel play set toy
Our farm in a tin travel play set toy (Image: Carrie Bradley/Flying With A Baby)

We have the Farm in a Tin version from the UK, which has been SO popular with my daughter from the age of two. It does have small parts (especially the 3 ducks)  but it’s such a compact toy, which has been handy to have in my bag and whip out if there has been a flight delay.

It’s also been great for her to play with whilst away on holiday and stuck inside a hotel room or winding down with some jet lag.  Even at home it’s played with frequently, making our list as one of the best toddler travel toys for 2 year olds.  


Busy Cube

This is a fun little puzzle cube with all the bit that kids want to play with a key you can twist, screw a bolt, slide a padlock, push open a lock and buckle a belt – all in a cube.

The Busy Cube is available from Amazon

Anything from a $ or £ store

Cup animals toy (photo credit: Carrie Bradley - Flying With A Baby)
Cup animals toy (photo credit: Carrie Bradley – Flying With A Baby)

The £ or $ store is your friend when it comes to cheap entertainment on flights! Every few weeks brings new items. We really liked these little cut out people which you can dress and the cardboard tube/paper cup characters.

There are plenty of art and crafty bits in there, meaning you can raid the aircraft loo’s/restrooms for more cups to use.

Paper dolls with stickers from Flying Tiger are a lot of fun that older toddlers can manage independently. Stickers and sticker books have always been a hit with my girls; and with these there are lots of stickers to design your own paper chain of paper dolls. Stickers like these also make great travel toys for toddlers in the car as you have a little more space.

Paper dolls toy (photo credit: Carrie Bradley - Flying With A Baby), toddler toys
Paper dolls toy (photo credit: Carrie Bradley – Flying With A Baby)
stickers on a plane travel toy
Stickers are always a winner (photo credit: Carrie Bradley – Flying With A Baby)

A great sticker hack for toddlers and preschoolers who struggle getting the stickers off is peel the background off first, like I’ve done in the below photo. Then kids can easily peel them off!

We love this sticker hack! (Image: Carrie Bradley/ Flying With A Baby)

CHEAP TRAVEL TOYS IDEAS FOR TODDLERS AND BABIES

  • Post it notes – kids LOVE peeling them off and sticking them anywhere. Same for band aids/plasters or sticker books. If they do get stuck on to the plane tray table or elsewhere like my toddler enjoys doing, they are easy to remove.
  • You can also make puppets out of the on-board sick bags or paper cups if you are feeling creative! It’s amazing what you will do on a 15 hour flight! Yes, I may have done this once or twice!
We always pack a balloon for play in the hotel room
We always pack a balloon for play in the hotel room. (photo credit: Carrie Bradley – Flying With A Baby)
  • The humble balloon! We always put a few in our luggage to inflate in the hotel room for a game of catch.
  • Coloured rice in a tic-tac or similar plastic container for a small rattle is great for a cheap travel toy option.
  • As pictured above the sweetie necklace with strawberry laces and Cheerios has always been a hit with my two girls.
toddler travel toy made out of a spice jar and pipe cleaner
A cheap easy travel activity is one we made out of a spice jar and pipe cleaners (photo credit: Carrie Bradley – Flying With A Baby)
  • An old spice jar and pipe cleaners can make a great fine motor skill activity as some quiet airplane toys for toddlers.
toddler travel toy wuth pom poms and a plastic bottle
Another cheap toy idea we loved was an empty bottle and pom pom balls (photo credit: Carrie Bradley – Flying With A Baby)
  • Small pom poms and a plastic tub with a lid with holes in – many babies and toddler love ‘posting’ things, including ours, so posting the pom poms can while away some time on a long flight. We used a baby sock and a hair tie around the bottom of the bottle to make it easy to empty them out and start the game again.
baby travel toy which is sensory. Use a baby wipes lid
One of my home made travel toys was making a lift the flap sensory toy.(photo credit: Carrie Bradley – Flying With A Baby)
  • For a train journey and on a flight, I made these cheap sensory baby travel toys in case boredom struck. Just use some old baby wipes lids and some fabric, foil, feathers or anything tactile to make a sensory toy or lift the flap toy like above.
play tape is a great travel toy as it can be added anywhere, and is easy to remove
  • Road play tape from Amazon is genius for travel and hotel rooms too!
  • (photo credit: Carrie Bradley – Flying With A Baby)
    • You can buy role play/painter tape or road play tape here from Amazon. It is ideal as it doesn’t ruin furniture and can be used anywhere, making cars and road tape perfect toys for toddlers on airplanes.

    Have you any more cheap travel toy or DIY travel toy suggestions? Do let me know below!

    MORE Airplane Travel Toys Ideas & Travel Games for Toddlers

    • Stickers
    • Interactive Apps – See my separate post on Apps.
    • This Hape magnetic maze fish game is great for fine motor skills and has no loose parts so bits can’t get lost.
    • Magnetic boards games
    • Finger Puppets

    TIPS FOR TRAVELING WITH BABIES

    When babies start to become curious about their surrounding; grabbing things and interacting, then having a couple of favorite toys to help relieve any boredom or to use as a distraction really help – especially if you are flying long haul. 

    Some airlines do provide a soft toy for younger babies and other inflight entertainment, but it’s best not to expect it, as it is never guaranteed.

    I do go into a lot of practical and detailed information and provide flying with a baby tips which cover everything you need to know from booking to arrival; including sleeping on a plane tips, requesting baby meals, breast feeding, baby bassinets, the best seats, complimentary airport strollers and so much more. I would definitely recommend a read after you have looked through this post.

    If you are concerned about other possible issues such as sleep on the plane or your kids playing up on the flight you may find the highlighted links useful too!

    BEST TRAVEL GIFT IDEAS FOR BABIES AND TODDLERS

    I’m always on the look out for travel themed gifts for my kids and my husband -as he travels quite a bit for work too. I’ve recently complied a list of useful and fun travel presents for babies, toddlers, kids and mums and dad’s. Have a look here for ideas for birthday or Christmas presents!

    Have I missed any top travel toys that have worked for you? What your favourite toys for travel? Please do comment below so I can add them.

    Don’t forget:

    • Have you remembered any items you need to help your baby or toddler sleep on the plane?
    • I hope have this information on how to entertain a baby from a few months old, to how to entertain a 1 year old on a plane, and older toddlers who are more energetic and every age in between helps you too. Remember, these work great for road trips too!
    • Please let me know in the comments if a toy was invaluable for your flight, train or car journey and the age of your baby or toddler.
    baby playing with a travel toy in an airline bassinet

    If you have enjoyed this post and found it useful, here are some ways to get further useful helps and tips!

    1. Join our friendly TRAVEL WITH BABIES and TODDLERS Facebook Group herewhich includes lots of ideas & tips for travel with little one, no matter where you live in the world!

    2. Click here to sign up for the latest family travel tips, guides and competitions. 

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     Thank you for your support as always. 

    Monday 19th of September 2022

    What is the "string" in your sweetie necklace? I can't find anything on google.

    Carrie Bradley

    Monday 19th of September 2022

    Hi, it's a liquorice strawberry 'lace' sweet/candy

    Morocco tourism

    Wednesday 29th of January 2020

    very useful site with good guidelines !! worthy job

    Kavitha

    Tuesday 5th of November 2019

    Wow, that's a wonderful list. The best toys for 1 year olds are something that will keep them entertained for hours and also develop their essential skills at the same time.

    3 Otters

    Tuesday 30th of July 2019

    Thank you for all the tips. We are planning travel by road and hopefully these toys will keep the kids occupied. ?

    Qhouse kids

    Wednesday 22nd of May 2019

    Thanks for sharing such an informative post..we are taking a 18hr long plane journey and looking to find some new toys i can get to bring out on the plane to hopefully keep my daughter as entertained as possible.. you have saved so much of my time thank you.,

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