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The Best Airplane and Car Toys for Toddlers on the Go

Being stuck in a car or plane with a bored, fidgety kiddo is no one’s idea of fun. The key to a happy trip? These top travel toys for toddlers.
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By Emma O'Regan-Reidy, Associate E-Commerce Editor
Updated December 15, 2022
best travel toys for toddlers
Image: Amazon, Melissa & Doug, Target | The Bump
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Whether you’re journeying across state or across the country, traveling with little ones can be stressful—which is where car and airplane toys for toddlers come in handy. The right mix of gizmos and gadgets will do wonders for keeping kids entertained and well-behaved along the way. The best travel toys for toddlers are lightweight and mess-free, and can be easily packed into a carry-on bag or the backseat.

Need some suggestions? We’ve curated a list of our favorite airplane trinkets and car toys for toddlers that are almost guaranteed to get your next vacation started on the right note. Shop our top picks below.

Best Airplane and Car Toys for Toddlers

Portable doodle board

Sketch Pals Portable Lady Bug Doodle Board

First up on our list of the best travel toys for toddlers is this portable doodle board. Your kiddo can draw to their heart’s content (without any of the mess!) while you’re on the go. When they’re ready to create a new masterpiece, simply press the character’s nose to erase the canvas. This toddler travel toy comes in a cute ladybug shape and features a rubber clip that easily attaches to backpacks, lunch boxes or suitcases.

Sensory travel toy for toddlers

Dimpl Sensory Toy

The best airplane and car toys for toddlers are those that are simple, portable and provide endless fun. This sensory toy from Fat Brain Toys is no exception. Your little one will love popping the colorful, silicone bubbles, and you’ll love how easy it is to tote in your diaper bag or carry-on luggage.

Shape-sorting carrying case

Melissa & Doug K's Kids Take-Along Shape Sorter Toy

Is your tot fascinated by colors and shapes? Then this toddler travel toy is sure to check all of the boxes on your list. It comes with a convenient carrying case that doubles as a two-sided activity bag. Your child will love exploring the nine different shapes included and discovering the crinkly, illustrated flaps on the back.

Soothing travel toy for toddlers

Fisher-Price Chill Vibes Walrus Soother
Fisher-Price Chill Vibes Walrus Soother
Image: Amazon

Whether you’re traveling by car, train or plane, this plush walrus is sure to offer your little one comfort. The stuffed animal plays soothing music and gently vibrates, making it the perfect cuddle buddy for restless tots. It even has volume control settings and is machine-washable.

Imaginative magnetic play set

I Can Be... A Veterinarian! Magnetic Tin
I Can Be... A Veterinarian! Magnetic Tin
Image: Maisonette
Buying Options
Maisonette | $16.99

Engage your tot with imaginative play on the go, thanks to this portable play set. It includes two illustrated backgrounds and three sheets of magnets that your little one can mix and match to create fun, veterinarian-inspired scenes. Chef-, scientist- and space-themed magnet sets are also available.

Water-based drawing pads

Melissa & Doug Water Wow! Drawing Pad Bundle

These reusable water drawing pads can be counted on to keep your tot entertained while running errands in the car, on an international flight or en route anywhere in between. Your little artist can color in fun scenes without the stress of a potential mess. Just fill up the included water pen and let your child’s imagination run wild!

Portable maze travel toy for tots

Chuckle & Roar Portable Mega Maze
Chuckle & Roar Portable Mega Maze
Image: Target
Buying Options
Target | $9.99

Does your toddler love problem-solving? Then this portable maze set is sure to keep them occupied for hours. It comes with 50 puzzles that can be worked out with the included dry-erase marker. And when your child is figuring out one card, the others can be stored in the carrying case which snaps open and close.

Textured cube toy

OombeeCube

On the hunt for an airplane or car toy for toddlers? This dynamic cube will have you covered. The textured toy is full of shape-sorting fun. Better yet, all six textured, rubbery shapes are tethered to the cube, so they won’t get lost along the way.

Portable nursery play set

Fisher-Price Little People Cuddle & Play Nursery
Fisher-Price Little People Cuddle & Play Nursery
Image: Amazon

This sweet car toy for toddlers is perfect for kiddos who love imitating their parents. The set comes with mini twin dolls that your tot can feed, bounce and put down for naps. Then, when playtime (or the ride!) is over, simply zip up the pieces inside the convenient carrying case. This airplane toy for toddlers would also fit well on a tray table!

Educational travel toy for toddlers

Guolely Busy Board Montessori Toy
Guolely Busy Board Montessori Toy
Image: Amazon
Buying Options
Amazon | $29.99

Have a long travel day ahead? This 25-in-1 montessori toy is sure to keep your little one busy. The board features a variety of activities that will teach your child about everyday skills, like tying shoes and telling time as they play. The lightweight, compact design also easily folds closed and has a carrying handle.

Kaleidoscope camera

KIKO+ Wooden Camera
KIKO+ Wooden Camera
Image: Maisonette

This wooden camera is a must-have for any tots who love to take pictures on their parents’ phones! Along the way, your child can look through the kaleidoscope lens to experience their changing surroundings in new light. And when you arrive at your destination, your little photographer can continue exploring all the new sights by carrying the camera by its handy strap.

Foil scratch pictures for kids

Bright Stripes Scratch-Tastic Pictures Bundle
Bright Stripes Scratch-Tastic Pictures Bundle
Image: Maisonette

Searching for a car or airplane toy for toddlers who love arts and crafts? This two-pack of scratch-away foil pictures would be a great fit. Simply use the wooden stylus provided to reveal colorful scenes of dinos, doggies and more! Dessert- and fairy-themed picture packs are also available.

Puffy sticker pack set

Safari Puffy Sticker Play Set
Safari Puffy Sticker Play Set
Image: Melissa & Doug

Your little explorer will love creating animal-filled adventure scenes with this travel toy for toddlers. The play set consists of 42 reusable puffy stickers and a fold-out, double-sided background of jungle and savannah landscapes. What’s more, the activity set has a handle so it can be transported by you or your toddler.

Toddler gaming console

Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Lil' Gamer

Keep your tot’s hands and mind busy with this cute gaming console. When they press the device’s buttons, lights and music will play, and they’ll learn about directions, numbers, colors and shapes. Plus, its compact design means it can be toted in a bag or kept in a backseat pocket.

Montessori travel toy for toddlers

Montessori UFO Silicone Pulling Toy
Montessori UFO Silicone Pulling Toy
Image: Amazon

Keep your child engaged while you’re out and about with this fun travel toy for toddlers. The UFO-shaped design is full of textures, colors and shapes for your kiddo to explore. What’s more, as they grasp, hold and pull at this toy, they’ll develop their fine-motor skills and hand-eye coordination.

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