Through experience, we’ve found having a few travel toys for toddlers in the car is always useful whether for long journeys or trips to the supermarket.
For longer journeys, the criteria which helped me decide which ones to try on a family road trip were:
- Can the toy be reached easily if dropped?
- Has it got lots of parts to it, which could get lost?
- How big is it versus how much space I have for travel toys in the car for this trip?
- Can it be done independently?
- Is it educational or teach new skills?
- What age / developmental stage is the activity suitable for?
- Can I easily have a few spare (eg crayons) in the front if some do get dropped?
- Is it noisy or will it distract me when driving?
This guide is full of age appropriate car toys for toddlers, reviewed by either myself on our travels or fellow parents – no matter whether they are just entering the toddler age or an older toddler.
We’ve included toys that are age appropriate from age 1 year old to 3 years old and a little older.
From fine motor travel toys to quiet ones to screen free travel toys – we have you covered! Having a range of car activities for toddlers is important as their attention span is limited.
Long road trips with toddlers will still mean several pit stops, but will give you plenty of opportunities to swap over toys, refill any snacks and stretch everyones legs.
Car travel with toddlers can be more fun for you too, as they can engage in singalongs or simple I-spy games and have more dexterity for the following road trip activities and toddler toys for the car.
A great tip with toddler travel toys is attach them (whenever possible) to some ring links and attach them to your child’s car seat – that way they can’t be dropped or lost and your toddler can retrieve them by themselves without you needing to pull over on the road.
If you are in a hurry and just want our top picks, below are our favorites. Further on are our detailed guides with reviews and more suggestions to keep toddlers busy on a long road trip!
Our Favorite Car Toys for Toddlers
Table of Contents - Click to jump to a section
- Best Travel Activities Book for Toddlers: Melissa and Doug Water Wow
- Best Travel Educational Toy for Toddlers: Montessori Backpack Busy Bag
- Best Travel Shapes Toy for Toddlers: Melissa & Doug Take-Along Shape Sorter
- Best Magnetic Toys for Toddlers: Town Maze Magnetic Game and Magnetic Book Role Play
- Best Travel Toy for Toddlers To Give Parents a Break: Dr. Seuss Audio Book
- Best Travel Toy for Pre-School Preparation: Leapfrog Scribble and Write
- Best Compact Travel Toy for Toddlers: Buckle Toy
- The Best Travel Busy Bag for Toddlers: Montessori Backpack Busy Bag
Lacing boards provide a compact and educational car trip toy for toddlers to take on the road; they especially help with fine motor skills. car trip toys for toddlers
19. Reading books like Fox’s Socks, Hide and Seek Pig
You may well have an older sibling road trip who will read to your toddler or flap books such as Julia Donaldson ‘Lift the Flap’ series. Fox’s Socks, Hide and Seek Pig etc. or books with texture can help to make this a quiet, solo activity for your little one too. An audio book could also be great if all passengers don’t mind listening to toddler-friendly stories.
These reusable puffy stickers sets are great to include as part of your collection of travel activities for toddlers in the car – especially as they can be used again and again. Let kids create transportation adventures again and again! The sturdy background board (with built-in handle!) folds to neatly store it all away. For prices in an alternative USA store see here and to compare on Amazon see here.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I keep my 2 year old entertained in the car?
- Try some of the above activities and toys
- Bring plenty of road trip snacks which they are unlikely to choke on. ( Have a responsible person sit next to them if possible.)
- Plan stops so they can stretch legs
How else can I entertain my 18 month old in the car?
- Play i-spy/spot the red car etc
What should I bring my toddler on a long car ride?
- Spare clothes and diapers/nappies
- Toys and activities
- First Aid Kit
- Window sun-shades – pull down or patterned
- Back seat mirror for rear-facing child
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