THE BEST TRAVEL TOYS FOR 3-YEAR-OLDS
As a nomadic family traveling full-time with a toddler for nearly three years, we know quite a bit about travel toys. Now that our little is older, we’ve decided to write a post on the best travel toys for 3-year-olds.
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The toys on our list are perfect for traveling with a three-year-old. Our selections are made based on experience, so we have most of the travel toys on our list.
Honestly, we have too many travel toys for our toddler. We have a suitcase dedicated to our son’s toys and learning materials.
Our Favorite Travel Toys for 3-Year-Olds
I will admit, our little guy is a little spoiled. I guess that’s one of the perks of being the only child.
Our son has several toys on this list, although we give away a lot of his toys before heading to our next destination.
Honestly, I don’t mind buying more toys to donate to other kids after a few months. It’s one of the small ways we give back to the local communities where we live as expats for a few months.
Whether traveling for a few days or a year, your little one needs a few toys to keep them entertained. Here are the best travel toys for toddlers that your 3-year-old will love.
Amazon Fire 8 Kids Tablet
Our son got his tablet when he was between 18 months and 2 years old, and it has been a life-saver when we travel.
We like the Amazon Kids’ Fire 8 Tablet because of the larger screen, higher RAM, a long-lasting battery, better camera, and longevity.
Honestly, we forget to charge it all the time, so the battery life isn’t too bad compared to other tablets we’ve purchased.
We love Amazon Kids’ because it downloads videos, books, and games for our little guy to play when we do not have Wi-Fi. Although we will need a SIM card for additional space, it’s been a lifesaver for us.
We recently discovered he knows how to navigate the tablet by himself, and it’s helped him talk more clearly and expand his vocabulary.
The change to USB-C chargers helped the charging issue many parents had with the earlier versions.
Overall, this is one of the best travel toys for 3-year-olds to keep them entertained during a long flight or road trip.
Melissa & Doug Take-Along Tabletop Town
We recently purchased the Melissa & Doug Take-Along Tabletop Town for our 3-year-old; after donating the travel toys, he outgrew.
We love everything about Melissa & Doug, which is why you see many of their toys on our buying guides for toddlers. Their toys withstand the destructiveness of toddlers and help them develop through imagination.
Although this tabletop toy is a little heavy, we love it because it promotes pretend play and imagination. Our little guy is all about trains, planes, and trucks, so the railroad town was perfect for him.
There are different scenes to choose from, so your toddler can play on the go. This playset is perfect for long road trips with toddlers because the tabletop can sit on their laps.
Our little guy loves his little town, so I am sure your toddler will enjoy playing with this portable town.
We’ve been fans of LEGO DUPLO blocks since our little guy was 12 months old.
Now that he’s older, and we’ve been to LEGOLAND several times, he loves them too. The last time we were at LEGOLAND California, we purchased the LEGO Space Shuttle Mission set, and he takes it everywhere.
We are currently in Mexico, and the LEGOS are in his room on the shelf.
The pieces are large enough, so your little one cannot put them in their mouths. I also love that they are easy to put together and take apart.
Our 3-year-old doesn’t need help building the rocket because it is simple enough for a toddler to do on their own, which builds confidence.
There are a lot of other playsets for your little one, so you are bound to find something your 3-year-old will love.
Crayola Color Wonder Mess-Free Coloring Pads
I am a little embarrassed to admit how many Crayola Color Wonder Mess Free Coloring Pads we have. According to my wife, I got a little carried away with the activity pads because I love to color with our toddler.
These markers make it easy for your little one to color without leaving a mess for you to clean up. The markers only work on the special paper, so your little one can color their favorite characters or draw on the blank pages.
The activity pads are the perfect size when you are on the go with your toddlers. We put a few in our one’s backpack, and we are good to go.
If you have a little artist, invest in mess-free markers for your toddler.
Melissa & Doug Reusable Puffy Sticker Play Set
I will start by saying, I am not a fan of stickers. They are annoying, sometimes impossible to get off, and just all-around irritating, and as a toddler parent or grandparent, you know what I mean.
There is one brand I will make an exception to my no sticker rule. Melissa & Doug Reusable Puffy Stickers are the one exception to my no sticker rule.
I made an exception for this brand because their stickers are easy to remove after they are applied. Your little one can use these stickers over and over, which makes them the perfect travel toy for 3-year-olds.
According to some experts, stickers help toddlers with their visual scanning, pinch grasp, sensory play, spatial awareness, and hand strength.
Magnetic Blocks are fun travel toys for little ones. Although I recommend these blocks for toddlers closer to two years old, they can be fun for three-year-olds.
Blocks are crucial for your toddler’s development. They help increase your little one’s attention span, foster creativity, learn math, and develop problem-solving skills.
What I like about these blocks is that they click when connected. Along with being easy to connect, they are durable and easy to clean.
Overall, if you are looking for the best travel blocks for your little one, I am sure your 3-year-old will enjoy these magnetic blocks.
Wee Creators Dot Markers
Wee Creators Dot Activity Book is a fun interactive learning book that combines coloring with learning.
There are over 20 activities for your toddler to complete with the water-based ink markers.
Your little one matches the colors with the markers to color the different activity sheets. It’s similar to color by numbers, which is perfect for little ones.
BunMo Pop Tubes
BunMo Pop Tubes is one of the most popular travel toys for kids of all ages, especially toddlers. Parents with little ones on the spectrum use these toys to help their toddlers focus.
Your toddler’s imagination can run wild with these fun tubes. They can shape, build, or connect. The possibilities are endless with these fun fidget toys.
This is one of the few toys that younger and older kids will enjoy playing with together.
Help them create or stretch them to keep your little one entertained; either way, this is one of the best travel toys for 3-year-olds.
Melissa & Doug Restickable Sticker Book
Your little one can create their own story with the Melissa & Doug Reusable Puffy Stickers. This fun interactive storybook lets your toddler create different Paw Patrol stories.
There are over 100 stickers in each book, which means hours of fun for your toddler.
What kid wouldn’t love getting their hands on these fun and colorful stickers? They’re easy to peel and pull from the page cleanly, without any residue. Best of all, they can be stored in a spiral notebook, so no mess.
Push Bubble Fidget Sensory Toy
Our toddler had been asking for a rainbow pop-it toy for weeks, so we finally broke down and bought one from Target. At first, I didn’t understand the hype about Push Bubble Fidget Sensory Toys, but after purchasing one it has been fun.
We like the rainbow version because it helps reinforce colors for our little guy. We also use the colors to play, so we pick different colors to pop as quickly as possible.
This is the perfect travel toy for layovers. I play with our toddler to see who can pop the colors the fastest. You can make up your own rules, so get creative.
If you have a little one that has a hard time focusing, this could be a great toy to keep their hands moving. There are times I use the bubble fidget toy to help me think.
Giant Activity Workbook
As a former preschool teacher, I am always on the lookout for learning material that can be fun. Since we plan to homeschool our little guy while we travel, the Giant Activity Workbook is just what we need.
There are over 100-pages of activities to help your toddler learn math, tell time, help with spelling, and tracing. The pages can easily be wiped clean, so you can continue to reuse the pages as many times as your little one wants.
Note: Many reviews recommend purchasing separate dry-erase markers for the learning activity book.
Melissa & Doug Magnetic Anatomy Play Set
Thanks to YouTube, our son has become interested in learning about body parts. We found the Melissa & Doug Magnetic Anatomy Play Set and thought it is the perfect travel toy to help our little guy learn.
This magnetic anatomy set helps your little ones visualize the inside of your body, including our organs, muscles, and nervous system. Each piece is anatomically correct, so your little one can build while learning.
We’ve been doing a lot of pretend-play lately, so our little guy likes to be called Doctor C. If your toddler isn’t ready to learn about the human anatomy, there are other magnetic sets for them to build.
Help develop your little ones’ imagination, creative expressions, and hand-eye coordination with these magnetic sets.
Toddlers Around Town
Toddlers Around Town is a fun activity book for toddlers. There are over 20 puzzles for your little one to complete during a flight or on a road trip.
I recommend this book for little ones closer to 4 years old because they have a little more patience.
This toddler activity book is thin, so you can easily add it to your toddler’s diaper bag.
Melissa & Doug Take-Along Magnetic Jigsaw Puzzles
If your toddler likes puzzles, then the Melissa & Doug Take-Along Magnetic Jigsaw Puzzles are the best travel toys for your 3-year-old.
The pieces are magnetic, so you don’t have to worry about your little one losing them. There are two puzzles included with each book.
The puzzles have 15 pieces each, so it’s not overwhelming for toddlers to keep from getting frustrated.
If your little one isn’t a fan of Paw Patrol, there are other puzzles for your toddler to pick.
We’ve been holding on to our son’s Magna-Tiles for nearly 2.5 years. These magnetic tiles have been with us to Mexico, Guatemala, Colombia, and Costa Rica.
I can tell you from first-hand experience that they are one of the most durable travel toys for toddlers. They’ve been dropped, run over, and thrown in the pool, and after all that, they are still standing strong.
Let your toddler’s imagination run wild with these magnetic tiles. Our son learned shapes using Magna-Tiles, and now he’s trying to build more elaborate designs.
If you are limited on space and have a fellow builder on your hands, then Magna-Tiles are the best travel toy for your 3-year-old.
Melissa & Doug PAW Patrol Magnetic Play Set
I don’t think there is a toddler in the country that isn’t familiar with Paw Patrol. Our son’s favorite characters are Marshall and Skye because he loves fire trucks and helicopters.
Melissa & Doug Paw Patrol Wooden Magnetic Pretend Play is the perfect travel toy for 3-year-olds that love the show.
Your little one can mix and match their outfits to create different looks. This travel toy includes a convenient travel storage box to keep your little one from losing the pieces.
LCD Writing Tablet
If your little ones like to draw, then the LCD Writing Tablet is the best travel toy for your 3-year-old. No need to worry about paper, pencils, crayons, or markers. Your toddler can draw over and over without needing additional supplies.
This is the modern and cool etch-a-sketch for toddlers. You can easily erase it with the press of a button.
Lock and unlock the writing tablet with a toggle to save battery life. This version has a rechargeable battery, so no need to buy batteries on the go.
Melissa & Doug Take-Along Town Play Mat
We included the Melissa & Doug Take-Along Town Play Mat as a lightweight alternative to the Melissa & Doug Take-Along Tabletop Town. It is perfect for little ones that love cars and spend a lot of time on the floor.
Although this may seem young for a 3-year-old, it’s lightweight and easy to pack in your checked luggage.
The mat turns into a storage bag, so all the pieces stay together, which is crucial for toddlers. If you have little ones close in age, they can play together with this fun take-along play mat.
LeapFrog Scribble and Write
The LeapFrog Scribble and Write is the perfect learning travel toy for 3-year-olds. As with most LeapFrog toys, the ultimate goal is to help your little one learn through play.
Your toddler will develop fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and grip strength. They can practice tracing their letters and numbers with instant feedback.
Not only do they learn how to write the alphabet, but there are different levels to help your little one advance stroke-by-stroke.
Keep your little one learning on the go with this fun travel toy for toddlers.
Under The Sea Window Clings
Window clings are a big hit with our 3-year-old, especially on flights. Our toddler loves them so much that we always include them in the best travel toys for toddlers.
The Under The Sea Window Clings are perfect for entertaining your toddler on an airplane. They are easy to remove and place on the windows, and the cleanup is quick and easy.
These window clings are reusable, but we typically disregard them after each flight. We stock up on window clings at Target or Dollar Tree for less than $1.50 each.
What are the Best Travel Toys for 3-Year-Olds?
There is no correct answer to determining the best travel toys for 3-year-olds. It all depends on the interest of your little one, but there are some general things that most toddlers love.
Here is a quick list of the toys that we believe are the best travel toys for 3-year-olds, based on our experience as a nomadic family traveling with a toddler.
- Amazon Fire 8 Kids Tablet
- Crayola Color Wonder
- Fidget Toys
- Reusable Stickers
- Activity Workbooks
- Melissa & Doug Magnetic Play Set
Overall, the best travel toys for 3-year-olds are different for each toddler.
We add a few puzzles to our lists, but our little guy isn’t into puzzles, but if your little one is, that would be the way to go.
Lean into their interests, especially on travel days. It will make traveling with your little one a lot easier.
As parents, we have to pick our battles, and on a flight or in the car usually isn’t the best time.