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Best Travel Toys For 1 Year Olds 2023

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Traveling with a 1 year old internationally by plane or planning a long road trip with a baby will likely mean your little one will need some entertaining on the go? In this post you will find my tried and tested travel toys for 1 year olds for flights and car journeys.

With some epic journeys from the UK to Australia and other long haul flights with toddlers and babies under our belt, we have needed to keep our little ones occupied with a variety of toys and travel activities.

However, we needed some baby travel toys that were were light, portable, quiet, plus easy to clean and not too small that they got got fallen behind a plane seat or car seat! Some big requirements but we found the perfect toys to take on holiday for a 1 year old!

flying with a baby tips, Essential airline bassinet seat chart

How To Entertain a 1 Year Old on a Plane or in The Car? 

When you are flying with a baby, a variety of baby travel toys help – especially with the short attention span that infants have. Using every day objects helped too – and attaching some smaller items to toy clips for easy recovery if they did fall to the floor. Toys that are suitable for any mode of transport, or have multi ways to entertain, make the best toys for traveling with 1 year old.

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tiny love ball travel toy
Tiny Love Spin Ball Travel Toy

Tiny Love Spin Ball.

1. Tiny Love Spin Ball. This is a great sensory toy. Makes a click clack sound with its moving segments and also has a mirrored inside. The bobbles on the outside are great to develop the sense of touch, the colours are great and my little one has played with since about 4 months and at a year still loved it. For 6 months plus. For more information see here

stacking cups travel toy
Stacking Cups

Stacking cups.

2. Stacking Cups. Little ones love putting things in them and taking them out again. I particularly liked this caterpillar bath set from Munchkin. which is neatly stacked for hand luggage and ideal for in and out of water. We found these cups were great to play with in a bath or a pool at the destination too, making them a great multiple use travel toy for babies

melissa and doug shape sorter travel toy
Melissa and Doug’s Take Along Shape Sorter

Melissa And Doug’s Take Along Shape Sorter

3. Melissa And Doug’s Take Along Shape Sorter. A popular game for little hands and one that is easy to transport whilst traveling. It does have pieces which could drop, but this is useful for little ones to play with in the more secure airplane bassinet or at your destination.

Includes a padded case with 2 activity sides and a take-along handle, plus 9 shaped, textured blocks in various colours. For more information on these toys for traveling with 1 year olds see here

sassy ring o link travel toy

Sassy Ring-O-Links Teethers

4. Sassy Ring-O-Links Teethers.A firm favourite since she was a tiny baby and she still loved them as a small toddler.  The bright colours engage and provide visual stimulation, whereas the links 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. They work brilliantly on airline bassinets so are ideal to bring along as part of your airplane travel toys and are ideal for travel car seats too, making them versatile and one of the best travel baby toys. For more information see here.

Buckle Toy Whale- ideal for keeping toddlers and older babies busy on a flight or long car journey.
Buckle Toy Whale

Buckle Toy

5. My 1 year old LOVED this buckle toy whale  and it kept her so busy. So many people have sung its praises to me after purchasing it. I firmly believe it’s one of the best travel toys for a 1 year old and often buy it as a travel gift for friends with little ones.

The Buckle Toy Whale has several buckles to do up and a zip mouth. The only issue is once they master the buckle, you may get asked a few times to unbuckle it, until they discover that skill.

Nonetheless, it has easily occupied her for over 30 minutes. 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. For more information and for other buckle toys, see here:

Travel Activity Bag

6. If you have an older baby or one who enjoys sensory play; creating an activity mat covered in buttons, different materials and things for them to flick, twist, scrunch and tap can be great travel toy for a 1 year old. Although time consuming to create, this can be something to keep until your little one gets older. Alternatively, a Montessori style travel activity bag like the one above does the trick.

Melissa & Doug K’S My First Activity Book 8-Page Soft Book

7. This machine washable soft cloth book is one of the best toys for car travel for babies or an ideal choice of toy for baby on a plane, as it is so light, portable and engaging. With activities such as buttoning, buckling, peek-a-boo, counting, matching and telling time, it helps promote sensory development, fine motor skills, color recognition, and other early learning skills. For more information and latest prices see here.

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

Find The ..’ book series

8. Some favourite books include the ‘Find The .. series  Lots of things to spot on each page and a complete classic. Both have loved this book so much that I had to buy two copies due to over use!

9. and also the Julia Donaldson ‘Lift the Flap’ series, (the author of the popular Gruffalo) . We love Fox’s Socks, Hide and Seek Pig etc.  Again lots of things to spot and fun lifting the flaps to see who is hiding and perfect all the way through from baby to learning to read.

The pictures are by Axl Schelffler and are so engaging. 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! For more information on this and others in the series, see here.

Duple number train - best travel toys

Duplo Number Train

10.  My one-year-old and four-year love Duplo. The number train is easy to pack and fun too. (We just discarded the box for easier packing). We actually bought this on one of our trips away and then kept bringing it along as it was such a success. I think it has been so popular because yuo can build towers, roll wheels and play with the characters to kind of 3 in 1. For more information and prices see here.

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 Airbnb which doesn’t have any toys, bringing a few toys for moments of boredom or quiet time can prove invaluable.

Travel toys for 1 year olds pin


  • Post it notes – kids love peeling them off and sticking them. Same for band aids/plasters. Post it notes can easily be used as toys on an airplane 1 year old or on their car seat.
  • 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!
  • 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
toddler travel toy made out of a spice jar and pipe cleaner
  • An old spice jar and pipe cleaners can make a great fine motor skill activity, which is quiet too!
toddler travel toy wuth pom poms and a plastic bottle
  • Small pom poms and a plastic tub with a lid with holes in – babies and toddler love ‘posting’ things so posting the pom poms can while away some time.
baby travel toy which is sensory. Use a baby wipes lid
  • Use some old baby wipes lids 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

More travel toys, games & activities for kids

For other travel toys and suggestions see our list of travel toys, games and activities for various ages and stages.

More Travel Toys and Games Ideas

Find travel games, toys and other travel activities for the plane, car trip for all ages

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