Best Road Trip Toys for Toddlers
Surviving a road trip with a toddler is all about preparation, entertainment, and activities. Keeping your toddler entertained during a long road trip will keep everyone sane.
Toddlers tend to get frustrated when they are bored, imagine being strapped in a seat for hours on end. I am sure you’d be bored after a while and go a little stir-crazy.
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To help keep them busy, investing in good road trip toys for your toddler is essential. The best road trip toys for toddlers help with learning, motor skills, reading, writing, spelling, word recognition, and problem-solving.
We all know how helpful tablets can be for a toddler, but all of the toys on this list are screen-free and help them learn by having fun.
Note: My wife (Mea) has been a preschool teacher for over ten years for kids ages 2 to 5. Each of these toys was chosen by her based on the developmental needs of toddlers during these crucial years.
Also, a car seat travel tray will make it easier for your toddler to play with their travel toys.
Road Trip Toys for Toddlers – Puzzles
Puzzles are great travel toys for toddlers. Our little guy loves puzzles, so we keep a few for road trips.
They help develop motor skills, patience (we’re working on this with our toddler), hand-eye, coordination, finger strength, problem-solving, attention span, and memory.
There are only a few pieces, large enough to find if they get lost. We randomly find pieces in the fridge, under our pillows, and in cabinets.
Melissa & Doug Take-Along Sorting Barn
Melissa & Doug make some of the most educational and fun toys for kids to help their learning and development.
This sorting barn is a fun way for your toddler to learn about animals.
There are 10 farm animals for them to identify and place in the barn.
The barn doubles as a carrying case, making it easy to travel.
Wooden Learning Puzzles
Number puzzles help kids develop their math skills. This wooden learning puzzle not only helps with learning numbers, but also helps with identifying colors, and animals.
This set comes with a carrying bag, one letter or number puzzle, and four animal puzzles.
Melissa & Doug See & Spell Puzzles
These puzzles are perfect for toddlers learning how to read. Melissa & Doug See & Spell Puzzles help your toddler identify and spell words.
They are wooden, have a storage box (so pieces don’t get lost), and are the perfect size for a toddler’s hands.
They’ll develop their vocabulary, reading, and fine motor skills. This puzzle will keep your toddler busy during a long road trip.
The concept is simple, your toddler has to match the letters together to form the whole egg.
They come with an adorable case for storing, so they can put them back in the egg carton when they are finished playing. How cute is that?
Note: Hopefully, you won’t find these in the fridge as we did with our son’s blocks yesterday. (facepalm)
Road Trip Toys for Toddlers – Games
Who doesn’t love playing games? These games are fun for the entire family, not just your toddler.
Games teach your toddler about sharing, patience, understanding, winning, losing, and teamwork.
The best road trip toys for toddlers are oftentimes the ones the entire family can enjoy. What we love about games is that the whole family can get involved.
Games will make the hours you spend in the car fly by.
Feelings and Dealings: Card Game
Something crucial to us as parents is to develop our son’s emotional intelligence. We want to help him identify and communicate his feelings to us in an acceptable way.
Right now we are dealing with temper tantrums and fit, but what can you expect from a 21-month-old, that can only say a few words?
We have these cards and plan to use them when he begins to talk more.
A game that helps your toddler identify, understander, and communicate is Feelings and Dealings: An Emotion & Empathy card game for toddlers.
This game has 24 universal emotions, 48 expressive feelings, 5 therapy games, and 3 educational games.
If you are looking for the perfect road trip toy for toddlers, this is it. The best part is the entire family can get involved.
Note: Self-care and mental health are important, don’t forget yourself.
Wooden Magnetic Maze Toys
Our son is all about magnets right now, which is why there are quite a few magnetic toys on our list of the best road trip toys for toddlers.
Wooden magnet mazes are fun for everyone, even older kids. They are the perfect gift for boys or girls and promote fine motor skills, visual-spatial skills, counting, color, and problem-solving.
Many standardized tests have problems that require these skills, so your toddler will need to learn them.
These games make it fun instead of work. Even more awesome, they are the perfect size for traveling with your toddler.
Balance Counting Toys
This balancing counting toy is so cool; I wanted to include it in the STEM section, but the expert (wife) said it should be included in the games section.
It helps get kids comfortable with math by having fun. It’s perfect for helping toddlers learn math concepts, and it gets parents involved.
I must admit, there are a lot of pieces so if you plan on playing this game during a long road trip only use half.
Up to four players can play at a time, so you can have a fun family night while on vacation.
Who doesn’t love beanbags? These alphabet beanbags are fun for kids, especially for throwers. Our toddler loves to throw everything. He thinks it’s hilarious, us, not so much.
Each beanbag is double-sided with an upper case and lower case on each side. These beanbags are washable, so you can easily throw them in the washer to clean them.
It is fun to throw them and say the letters. You can easily create a game with these beanbags.
They also come with a drawstring bag and activity guide to help you get started.
Road Trip Toys – Reading & Art
You can’t go screen-free without books. The earlier you introduce reading books to your toddler, the more likely it is they will enjoy reading as they grow.
Even though our little guy is only 21- months old, we let him read to us.
He picks a book every night, and we let him read to us, then we read the story and let him turn the pages.
Crayola Color Wonder
Currently, we don’t allow our toddler to use markers or crayons because he likes to eat them. Although they aren’t toxic, we don’t want him to eat things he isn’t supposed it.
Even though we do not currently use them, we understand there are families with toddlers who will enjoy them.
The Crayola color wonder set comes with two thirty-page books and twenty mini washable markers. The markers only work on the paper in the coloring books.
Say goodbye to random works of art throughout the house.
The LeapFrog LeapReader is for older toddlers ages 3.5 to 4, who are learning how to read. The pen helps them sound out words on the pages of the books.
This set comes with ten books, but there are more books available for purchase at different reading levels.
The activities in the book are interactive, so your little one will not get frustrated.
There is also a tracing section that helps toddlers learn to write.
For additional content and activities, the LeapFrog app is a great resource.
LCD Writing Tablet
This LCD writing tablet is a step up from the traditional pen and paper. It’s like the modern-day etch-a-sketch.
The best part is it’s mess-free and doesn’t have crayons. We fight our toddler over crayons because he likes to eat them (don’t judge him lol).
The battery lasts for 12 months, so you don’t have to worry about charging or replacing batteries frequently.
The one-button cleaning means you don’t have to wipe anything. All you need to do is press the button, and you are ready for your toddler’s next masterpiece.
Quiet Activity Book
Quiet books are one of our favorite learning toys for toddlers. They are easy to clean, great for travel, almost indestructible, help kids learn, and do not make noise.
What is there not to love about quiet books? There are many different activities in different books.
The most common activities are teaching time, and how to tie shoelaces, zippers, and opposites.
Wooden Reading Blocks
We stumbled on wooden reading blocks while wandering around the dollar section in Target. Although the ones we purchased are slightly different, the concept is the same.
Each block has three letters that spell words for your toddler to find.
These blocks help your toddler with pronunciation, rhyming words, spelling, and problem-solving.
The blocks are the perfect size for little hands. There are five sets included, for your little one to expand their vocabulary.
LeapFrog 100 Animals Book (English/Spanish)
We purchased the LeapFrog Book for our son’s first birthday to help him with word recognition.
The fact that it is English and Spanish is a bonus. This book helps him identify animals, fruit, vegetables, and opposites.
The only drawback is, that it’s a little bulky. It takes up too much space in our diaper bag, but we make it fit because it’s one of our favorite toys for our toddler.
ROAD TRIP TOYS: BRAIN & STEM
Unless you’ve been living in complete isolation for the last 20 years, you know how important technology is in today’s world.
The focus for children is shifting to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). These are the areas that will see the most growth over the coming decades.
As a parent, we want to set our children up for success, and we can start at a young age.
Toys that promote thinking, problem solving, building, and eventually coding.
Sidenote: I wish I would have had these resources as a kid. It would make running this blog a lot easier.
My wife purchased our son’s magnetic tiles before we left for Mexico, and they have been a big hit with our toddler. He plays with them every day during his quiet time.
These tiles help with creativity, spatial reasoning, motor skills, hand-eye coordination, patience, and engineering skills. Their imaginations can run wild.
As far as I can tell, they are almost indestructible. He throws the tiles from his bed to the floor, because he uses his hands to slide down the sheets. I
It’s been nearly a year, and the tiles still look new.
Clip Connect Building Blocks
Clip connect building blocks are perfect for toddlers two and older.
These nontraditional building blocks are oddly shaped and fun. They help with imagination, motor skills, creativity, engineering, and following directions.
This bright coloring building set will keep your toddler busy, which is why it is one of our favorite road trip toys for toddlers.
Brain Flakes are one of our favorite STEM toys for toddlers. They encourage engineering, imagination, and creativity.
Your toddler is only limited by their imagination. An activity book is included to help get your little one started.
We recommend toddlers over 3 use this toy because the piece can be difficult to click and unclick.
Related Post: The Best Travel Toys for 3-Year-Olds
Pegboard Toddler Stacking Toys
Pegboards have been a popular learning toy for toddlers for several decades.
The pieces are perfect for little fingers and come in 12 different shapes and colors.
Pegboards help develop your toddler’s fine motor skills, visual perception, hand-eye coordination, and visual-motor skills.
Our son is into stacking right now, so he loves his pegboard.
TrueBalance Coordination Game
This game is unique and cool. TrueBalance is a game all about coordination, logical thinking, focus, problem-solving, and patience.
This game is the perfect gift for kids with ADHD; the challenge keeps their focus.
The objective is to get the magnetic blocks to line up straight, which is easier said than done. This game is recommended for toddlers at least 4 years old.
If you are competitive, things can get intense pretty quickly.
There is an adult version to enjoy at a game night. Don’t be too confident this game is more difficult than you think.
Design & Drill Bolt Buddies Rocket
The Design & Drill Bolt Buddies Rocket is one of the most unique road trip toys on our list. I thought the concept was interesting and perfect for older toddlers.
The premise is to build the rocker using kid-friendly toy power tools with bolts. After assembling the rocket the astronaut and his sidekick can head off to space.
From there, your toddler’s imagination can take off.
If the rocket isn’t your cup of tea, there are other designs such as race cars and recycling trucks.
Bonus: Emotional Learning Flashcards
Emotional learning flashcards help toddlers not only understand their feelings but also help kids understand different social scenarios and help them through those situations.
Using these cards with three-year-olds will help them develop in social settings.
Most toddlers have tantrums because they are frustrated, but they cannot communicate their frustration in a meaningful way.
These flashcards will help reduce tantrums and encourage communication.
Conclusion: The Best Road Trip Toys for Toddlers
Although travel toys are essential when traveling with a toddler, there are more important things.
The most important thing about a family road trip is family. While traveling with your kids on a long road trip, don’t forget to engage with one another.
Your little ones need to be entertained, but they also want your attention. Kids love having your undivided attention. We’ve had some of the best conversations while on a road trip with our toddler.
Every once and a while we take turns sitting in the back seat because it can get boring for our little one to sit back there alone.
If you have more than one kid, this isn’t an issue, but if you only have one spending, time in the backseat with them will make them happy.
Check out our other travel toy and activity guides:
- The 25 Best Travel Toys for Babies
- 20 Toys to Keep Toddlers Busy on an Airplane
- 25 Beach Toys for Toddlers
- Our Favorite Travel Toys for 3-Year-Olds
- 15 Travel Games for Toddlers
- 20 Fun Travel Toys for 4-Year-Olds
- Our Favorite Headphones for Toddlers
- 20 Screen-Free Road Trip Toys for Toddlers
- 10 Mess-Free Travel Activities for 2-Year-Olds
- 50 Road Trip Activities for Toddlers
- LeapFrog Tablets for Toddlers to Promote Learning
- 20 Educational Travel Toys for 5-Year-Olds
- 15 Fun Airplane Activities for Toddlers
- The Best Learning Tablets for Toddlers
- 20 Snow Toys for Toddlers and Big Kids