Favorite Toys for travel w/ Toddler?

SnowChaser

Mouseketeer
Joined
Feb 7, 2011
For travel days, hotel stays, and being out at parks & restaurants, what toys (besides screens) have best entertained your toddler?

Things we've had success with so far:
-books (paperback or thin)
-matchbox cars
-stickers
-hand puppets
-in the hotel room, he pushed his stroller around 🤷‍♀️

We're interested in mixing it up, so curious to see what everyone else brings along.
 

sponica

DIS Veteran
Joined
Oct 16, 2017
I had a younger toddler when we went to Disney (20 months) she was just happy looking at the sights. But our standbys were crayons and coloring books. She still uses those at 3 when we go out.
 

2019TripIdeas

Mouseketeer
Joined
Feb 6, 2018
We haven't really ever had to bring toys into restaurants or outings but we do play a TON of I-Spy and other verbal games ("Find two people that are wearing green.... find something that is a circle" or "Guess how many people will come thru the door next" etc). We haven't done screens on shorter trips, but on a recent international trip we for sure let them watch the in-flight shows and it helped a ton. In general on flights, my kids are happy with coloring books/crayons, stickers. Melissa and Doug makes these reusable puffy sticker sets that work great. I have also found so much that you can use what you've got at that age (stack a few plastic cups after you finish your drink, stack the airplane pretzels over the straw, etc)

Our kids are 2, 3, 5 currently so I'm going to pack a bunch of the Disney lego minifigures for our next trip to Disney in a few months- even our two year old is obsessed with those. I figure I can dole them out for good behavior during the flight and then they can play with them together once they've got them assembled. My daughter who is 5 now loves the sticker by number books and easy wordsearch and crossword puzzle books. Our kids love the miniature magna-doodle boards but I wouldn't travel with those because they're still kind of bulky.

I've had friends travel with a small pack of magna-tiles or Tegu blocks and say those are great too.
 
  • ImarriedGrumpy

    AKA Miss lady who isn't my mommy
    Joined
    Apr 26, 2005
    My son loved an "I spy" bag his grandmother made him. It was a soft fabric square pouch (stitched closed) with a clear window and filled with rice and small trinkets. He could shake it or squish it and look for different things in the pouch. You can see examples of similar ones on etsy if you search for "I spy bag".
    He also loved a set of Tegu magnetic blocks - we just had one of the little pouches with 4 cubes and 4 flat rectangles, but they kept him occupied for ages.
    One of the biggest hits was a dry erase pocket and dry erase markers. I printed out a few simple mazes/tracing pages/coloring sheets and we could rotate those when he got bored with one, or just flip it over for a blank page for him to scribble on.
    We had a few finger puppets that were popular, but usually involved one of us putting on a silly show for him.
    The best travel "books" for us were Babybug magazine from Cricket media. They were sturdy, small, with a lot of variety in short stories, poems, and finger plays, and had great illustrations with fun details to talk about. Absolutely perfect for tossing a couple in a diaper bag.
     

    laur roo

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jan 5, 2011
    Water Wow is great for my 2yo. I believe by Melissa and Doug. You fill the brush with water, they color, it dries, they do it again and again. I have the full size flip books and a set of alphabet flash cards. Learned about them from someone else on the DIS!!!
     

    sullyfam

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Mar 13, 2015
    Crayola color wonder mess free coloring paper and markers, magnetic puzzles/blocks, reusable sticker books, stuffies of course and small figurines/cars etc. that can be kept in a small bag and used in the stroller, at meal times and in the hotel. When my youngest was still toddler age, I made up a bunch of paper bags and stuffed them with different kinds of fabrics, small items with different textures and different shapes etc. and we used them on the plane. She would open up one bag and it took her a long time to pull everything out of it and play with it. When she got bored with one bag, we'd do another one. Great distraction!
     
  • ILOVEPOOH1

    Adore the hundred acre wood
    Joined
    Feb 18, 2004
    Water wow and wiki stix. I purchased some of the Disney themed plastic pencil pouches from Target dollar spot last year, added chunky crayons, coloring sheets, wiki stix, water wow cards, etc. Each one has different items in it. I take one and throw it in bag for use when eating out etc.
     

    ZZBane

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Oct 8, 2019
    My cousin gave me this idea as she moves a lot due to her husbands job. She has 2 young girls and for the really long road trips and random hotel stays, she has little wrapped gifts to give to the girls to get them into the car seats easier or calm them a bit in the hotel room or something like that. We were driving from Pittsburgh to Florida because we moved and even though we took our time, my 2 year old was over being in the car and staying in hotel rooms along the way. I think I wrapped about 6 small gifts (a book, a truck, a doll...something like that) and gave him a little gift when he had to go back into the car seat or when we stopped at another hotel. It certainly helped a great deal.

    I also found that Sharpie makes temporary tattoo markers. I bought them for when we went to Cancun this past July. For nearly 2 hours, my son sat super nice and didn’t make a sound. He had a blast drawing all over himself and my arm. We looked like crazy people and it took several days to come off, but I didn’t care. He was silent and calm and occupied. Best $12 I ever spent. I always have one marker on me now just in case
     

    Bjkandma

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 29, 2019
    Travel days: a ball and bubbles (for rest areas). Hotel: a bag of small Fisher Price Little People, a car (the one that you push back and it goes (forget the name), sticker books or beginner craft projects (depending on age: mosaic children arts and crafts). If your children are learning "letter recognition" I used to get large print word search books and old magazine pages with a pen. (If you don't want to carr whole book, just carry a few pages".). I would print on top of page "Aa" and they had to search for all the "A" and on and on. Pictures in old magazine: circle all the green objects". They used to spend hours. I also used to say we read "left to right". Basic skills and not much money.

    also just some plain (computer paper or lined school paper) practice writing letters, their names, numbers, simple words with a pencil.
     
  • TinkerPan

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    May 8, 2017
    I bought Fisher Price Disney Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Pals for my grand-daugher. About $12.45 for 5 characters. Four of the characters are poseable. They bend in the middle so you can make them sit. I liked these especially because 1) They are Disney themed. 2) They don't take up much room, so you can take them to the parks and pull them out anywhere, and when the parents fly home they wouldn't take up much room. My grand-daughter even played with them at the pool, and liked to bend the figures.
     

    ImarriedGrumpy

    AKA Miss lady who isn't my mommy
    Joined
    Apr 26, 2005
    I'll second the suggestion to wrap small things for your child to unwrap on the trip. I used to do this for my son when he was little - I wrapped snacks, familiar toys, new toys, books, etc. I basically had his diaper bag filled with small wrapped items and we made a guessing game out of each one before he opened it. I also brought a bag to collect all the wrapping paper so we weren't leaving a big mess on the plane. I had one small glitch in the plans going through security in the airport on one trip, but fortunately one of the TSA agents had traveled with a toddler, so I was able to just open the end of the "suspicious" items (a toy car and the magnetic blocks) and they then let us through.
     

    RangerPooh

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 6, 2005
    My kids range in age from 8-14 and I still have Hot Wheel cars in my purse for this reason. But when our kids were younger we'd bring plenty of Hot Wheel cars, a doll they liked, and a travel sized Magnadoodle (store brand cheapies worked great).
     

    yorkieteacher

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 4, 2014
    We all had small figures and other things from Dollar Tree (many of them Disney) he had not seen before in our park bags, and we would pull one out when he got restless in line or in a restaurant. But in restaurants, we nearly always relied on the trusty tablet, as PP said.
     

    SnowChaser

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Feb 7, 2011
    Thank you all for your replies. Just returned from a successful trip. we managed to avoid relying on screens, aside from a little bit of movie on the plane.

    the biggest hits were:
    -a few new cars, given on travel days and mid-trip
    -a small set of magnetic blocks
    -a small ball, for play in the room
    -books, especially on the bus or while waiting
    -a sticker activity book
     



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