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Heading out on an upcoming trip and hoping to get some great travel toys to take in tow? We’ve reviewed dozens of products for kids of all ages and share some of our absolute favorites with you.
Best Baby Travel Toys
36. Plastic linking rings: Sassy Lively Links $3
37. Boardbooks: The Cheerios Play Book $8, We’re Going on a Bear Hunt $8, Mini Movers $5
38. A multi-sensory toy: Lamaze Freddy the Firefly $10 or Baby Whoozit $10
39. Musical fun: Water Flutes Tub Tunes $10
40. Building blocks: Mega Bloks $22
41. Drawing boards: Travel Doodle Pro $15 or Aquadoodle Travel N Doodle $15
42. Flexible Ball: Oball $8 , Gertie $3.25 or Skwish Classic $12.25
43. Imaginary Play: Fingerpuppets $8+
Best Toddler/Preschooler Travel Toys
44. Pre-packaged Activity Kits: My Busy Kit, Toddler TravelKiddy
45. Activity books: Klutz Fun with Felt $13, Sticker books $10, iSpy
46. Magnetic Fun: Melissa & Doug Dress-up Kits $10+, Pattern Block Set $16
47. Drawing: Aquadoodle Travel N Doodle $16, Crayola ColorWonder Kits $7+
48. Building Fun: Dado Squares $23, Automoblox $29
49. Imaginary Play: Toobs $10, Fingerpuppets $8+
Best Travel Toys for School Aged Kids
50. Magnetic Fun: Magnetic Poetry $15
51. Activity Books: Love the ones from DK Publishers $10, Mad Libs for Kids $4+
52. Educational Fun: Brain Quest $9
53. Travel Games for Kids like Hangman, Battleship, Connect 4, Sorry
54. Building sets: Cadaco’s EnviroBlox $13
55. Origami kits $10+
56. Travel journal or scrapbook $17
57. Where’s Waldo books
58. Pre-packaged activity kids: TravelKiddy
When traveling with preschoolers, no strategy is foolproof. However, parents can increase the chance of keeping their little tikes content if they keep them occupied, comfortable and well-fed. Here’s our top 5 picks for toys when traveling with preschoolers:
1. eeBoo Lacing Cards (Starting at $12, Age 3+)
This Oppenheim Best Toy Award Gold Seal toy contains 5 beautifully illustrated lacing cards help children develop fine motor skills and finger strength. Made with sturdy board and laminated on both sides for extra durability. Holes are cleanly drilled and faux silk threads won’t ever unravel.
There are themes that fit the interest of any preschooler: Under the Sea, Things That Go, Musical Friends, More Things That Go, Friendly Bugs, More Friendly Bugs, Fairies of the Field and Children of the World.
2. Magnetic Pattern Block Kit by Melissa & Doug ($16.42, Ages 3+):
Designed for hours of play and ideal for travel, this wooden magnetic board includes 120 colorful geometric magnets. Younger children will enjoy using the shapes to replicate the 12 geometric pictures included, while older children will enjoy creating mosaic patterns and pictures directly on the magnetic board. This set comes packaged in a convenient, snap-top, carry case with sturdy handles.
3. Automoblox Mini 3-Pack T9, S9, C9 ($20.40, Ages 3+)
For the car lover in the family, Automoblox are a great car to pack into any toddler boy’s suitcase. Its new mini line, contains a set of 3 cars (Mini Green T9 Truck, Mini Blue S9 Sedan and Mini Red C9 Sports Car) that fits in the palm of your hand. And its universal connector system enables a rapid interchange of parts (let’s build those fine motor skills), further accentuating the fun factor of creating different car styles. The Automoblox Mini line is built to turbo-charge the imaginations of budding car designers and adventurers around the globe.
4. Bendomino Jr. by Blue Orange Games ($14.99, Ages 3+):
Are you traveling with more than one child? Here’s a game for 2 to 4 players. Bendomino Jr. is dominoes with a twist. This all wooden game from Blue Orange, recipient of the first Dr. Toy Green Toy Award in 2007, is easy to learn and fun to play. Brightly illustrated animals, flowers, plants and insects take the place of traditional dots. Watch a new pattern being created each time you play as pieces curve and twirl around the table. The curved pieces can also block your opponents if they don’t have the bendomino that fits. Bendominoes’ original design creates a fun and twisting game that is entertaining for the entire family! Play time: 10 minutes.
5. Aquadoodle ($14.99, Ages 2+):
I’m always tired of having to deal with stray crayon marks after a long plane ride. The folks at Aquadoodle totally understand my pain and developed this amazing board which lets kids draw with water. No Mess! It’s also nice because all the drawing disappear magically and become yet another blank canvas for your preschooler to create on. We never leave home with this.
What are your favorite travel toys for preschoolers? Let us know and we’ll add it to the list.
Traveling with young children can be a rollercoaster ride of ups and downs – smiles and laughter one moment, whining and meltdowns the next. Expecting an infant or toddler to stay happily contained in a car seat, on an airplane, or in a restaurant for extended periods of time is unrealistic, but with a little planning, you can make sure that your diaper bag is equipped with a “travel fun kit” of small, portable toys good for multiple purposes, situations, and environments.
Beyond the almighty DVD player, by taking along the right toys, you can help keep your little ones entertained… and your sanity in tact. Here’s how to build a fantastic “fun kit” of travel-friendly toys:
1) Choose items that are small, portable, and multi-purpose – the less room the toy takes, the better.
2) Pick a variety of toys that stimulate your child in different ways. Then you are more likely to have the “right” toy on hand for any given situation (i.e., building, banging, reading, drawing, imaginary play, etc.)
3) Keep the toys together in a small stuff sack that can be readily accessed in your diaper bag or carry-on. Alternatively, toddlers love having their own little backpack or rolling suitcase for holding toys and snacks while traveling.
My Favorite Travel Toys
Just for infants:
- Plastic linking rings. Easily attaches to car seats, strollers, or your diaper bag. (Sassy Lively Links $6)
- Teether blanket. A teether, burp cloth, and lovey, all in one! (Infantino Cuddle Tether Blanket $13)
- Small, multi-sensory toy. Keeps an infant fascinated for a long time. (Lamaze Freddy the Firefly $10 or Baby Whoozit $10)
For making music:
- Miniature maracas. Great for roadtrip sing-alongs and doubles as a bath toy. (RhythMix Chick-itas Maraca)
- Water flute. Fun bath toy (and toy in general) that doesn’t take up much room. (Water Flutes Tub Tunes $10)
For active little fingers:
- Plastic blocks. For plane travel, just bring a few different pieces. For car travel, bring the entire bag! These can also double as bath toys. (Mega Bloks $22)
- Stacking/nesting cups. Incredibly compact for travel when nested together. Easy to play with on airplane tray tables, perfect for the beach or sandbox, and doubles as a bath toy. (Mula stacking/nesting cups $8, $2.49 at Ikea)
- Travel-sized, no-mess drawing boards. Great for car rides, plane rides, and restaurants – with no mess! Look for a magnetic board (Travel Doodle Pro $15) or Aquadoodle’s coloring tablet, which includes a pen that you fill with water and use on a specially designed surface that changes color when wet, returning to the original state when dry! (Aquadoodle Travel N Doodle $16)
- Coloring books or activity books with re-usable stickers. Great for airplanes, restaurants, and hotels. (Crayola Washable markers or crayons are a must – easy to clean if your kid gets marker on his hands or on the wall! Crayola’s triangular crayons don’t roll, which is perfect for airline travel!)
For some mental stimulation:
- Miniature board books. Look for tiny, sturdy books that include movable parts and flaps to keep your toddler busy. (Mini Movers series: “This Little Doggy” or “This Little Fish” $5)
- 3D image viewer. A classic 3D toy that can keep your toddler intrigued for long stretches of time. This is a good DVD alternative for parents who don’t want their kids zoning out in front of a movie. (Viewmaster Classic $9 and up)
For imaginary play:
- Miniature animals or trains. Just a few in your purse or diaper bag can spur some creative imaginary play. (Toob: Zoo babies, Wild, Dinosaur, Trains, etc. $10)
For when you have more space:
- Small, flexible ball. Easy to squeeze into a bag and can double as a bath toy. (Oball $8, Gertie $3-4, inflatable beach ball)
What are your favorite travel toys for your little tots?
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