Best Travel Toys for Kids (Grade School to Teens)

The best travel toys for kids make the difference between a cherished family vacation and a long journey you’d rather forget. Avoid hearing, “Are we there yet?” during a long journey. Make your travels easier and more enjoyable with this curated list of activities, games, and crafts. You’ll keep your kids entertained during road trips and flights, in line at theme parks, and back in the hotel room. Here are travel toys to buy before your next trip!

Stash of travel toys
Pack the right travel toys for your kids at every age and stage (Photo credit: Joingate,

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Card Games

Travel games of all sorts are entertaining for grade school kids. Favorites like Old Maid, Go Fish, and Crazy Eights can be played with a regular ol’ deck of cards or with a colorful set like this by ThinkFun.

Travel Board Games

Many board games come in travel versions. These are not only fun for the journey, but also for playing in your hotel room or vacation rental home.

Challenge kids to a classic game of backgammon, chess, or checkers with this magnetic travel set. The magnetic pieces make playing easy, whether by car, train, or airplane.

Connect 4 is another good choice when traveling with grade school kids.

Bead Kits

Girls and boys alike enjoy stringing beads to make jewelry for themselves or for mama with a Melissa and Doug wooden bead kit.


LEGO sets were a big hit with my nephews when they were in grade school and now both my son and daughter can spend hours building with these colorful toy bricks. Sets like these will buy you lots of whine-free time on your next flight or car trip.

I especially like the three-in-one LEGO sets because kids can build multiple creations from one small kit instead of buying different sets.

Purchase a LEGO Friends kit with a vacation theme, like this beach glamping kit.

For easy building on the go, be sure to get a LEGO Baseplate.

With so many small parts that are easily lost, you need a container for traveling with LEGOs. Keep all your kids’ LEGO bricks safe and sound with a travel case.

Fashion Kits

Creative kids will love fashioning their own imaginary clothing lines with a kit.

This Fashion Plates Travel Kit is sized for play on the go. Kids use a rubbing tool to easily design fashions. It comes with eight fashion Plates, 10 sheets of paper, four coloring crayons, two rubbing crayons, one crayon holder, one drawing tablet with a storage tray, and one idea guide.

You can never go wrong with Melissa & Doug. Their fashion design art activity set is equipped with nine double-sided, textured fashion plates, four pencils, one crayon, a crayon holder, and a storage case.

Kid-Proof Kindle Fire

Watching movies on a smartphone or tablet, like this kid-proof Kindle Fire, makes the miles zoom by no matter the mode of transportation. It comes in purple, blue, or pink.

Wikki Stix

Colorful Wikki Stix are bendy craft items sure to inspire your child’s imagination. Use them to build a variety of 3-D crafts. These work well as fidget toys, too.

Get the Wikki Stix Traveler, loaded up with activities for kids on the go in an easy storage bag.

Sand Toys

If you’re planning a beach vacation, then sand toys are a must. This sturdy sand toy set comes with its own carrying case for easy clean-up and packing. The pieces double as bath toys too!


Of course, you’ll want to bring along books for travelers of any age. Get kids excited about your family vacation by purchasing a travel-themed book or two.

The This Is series highlights such destinations as Paris, New York, Texas, and beyond.

This Is the World includes abridged versions of the most popular books in the travel series.

For more ideas, look at the best travel books for kids recommended by family travel experts.

Rubik’s Cube

Scramble up the colors of an old-school Rubik’s Cube before giving it to your tween or teen. If they solve the puzzle, then they earn a privilege, like time to text their friends or a pit stop at Starbucks for a Frappuccino. (Psst…you can watch a Rubik’s Cube tutorial video to learn how to solve this puzzle.)

Challenge traveling teens and tweens by setting time limits to solve the puzzle. A classic cube works well for newbies but teens seeking a bigger challenge will want a speed cube. These are easier to manipulate quickly for timed play.

My son loves to impress other kids with his Rubik’s Cube-solving skills. This brain teaser makes a great icebreaker while standing in line at Disney World with teens.

The traditional Rubik’s Cube is designed with 3×3 squares (nine squares per side). Enthusiasts who have conquered solving this puzzle, however, will want to graduate to a more difficult cube. Purchase savvy teens a 4×4 or larger cube instead.

Teen Travel Games

A game of Would You Rather? will get the whole family laughing out loud during your journey. Even the driver can play along with this book of silly questions (if someone else reads!).

Get your tweens and teens talking (and laughing!) with Loaded Questions On the Go. It’s full of interesting queries like, “What is a terrible thing to accidentally throw away?” and, “Whose voice can you best imitate?” The goal is to guess who said what. There are no right or wrong answers!

Mad Libs

Mad Libs is another creative way to play together as a family while traveling.

Kindle Fire

Kindle Fire is wonderful for travel because it’s compact and you can load it up with all sorts of books and games to entertain tweens and teens even on long-haul flights.

Kindle Paperwhite

Want to be sure your teen’s Kindle is used for reading only? Then buy a Kindle Paperwhite instead.

Quality Marker Set

Think coloring is just for little kids? Think again! Tweens and teens can while away hours in a car or airplane while coloring with pencils or markers.

My artistic teen absolutely loves her Ohuhu markers. They even come with their own handy carrying case!

Colored Pencils

If colored pencils are more your teen’s style, then you can’t go wrong with this five-star rated set by Castle Art Supplies. The tin box keeps 72 rainbow-colored pencils secure during travels.

Adult Coloring Book

Be sure to get an adult coloring book, too. How about this Amazing Animals Adult Coloring Book?

Flying Disc

A flying disc (or Frisbee) provides lots of entertainment for teens without taking up a lot of space. Tuck one into the backseat for use at pitstops on a road trip. Or stash one in your suitcase for use during a beach or family camping trip.

A light-up flying disc is extra cool, especially for teens who want to stay up late at your vacation rental or campground.

Consider Using Technology to Your Advantage

When traveling with children, most parents (including me!) give in to the lure of happiness and silence that can be induced by technology. Even if you do not allow screen time at home, you may want to consider bending the rules during your family trips. The key is to reinforce house rules as soon as you return to your family’s regular life.

If you allow video games and television at home, I suggest depriving the kids of these treats for a week or so before departure. This ensures your kids will be sufficiently enthralled by electronic entertainment when you need it most.

For those who don’t want to use any technology as a distraction, read our tips for an unplugged road trip with kids.

Save These Travel Toys

For future reference, be sure to keep this list of the best travel toys.

If you think these are good travel toys, I bet you’ll love our picks for the best travel games for kids and this list of audiobooks for family road trips!

What do you think are the best travel toys, activities, and games for kids? Let us know in the comments below!


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  1. This article is a life savior! Thank you for compiling such a detailed list. I made one myself with the toys that I normally use when I travel with my little ones, but now I just have to add a few more hahaha.

  2. I love this post! I think one of the scariest prospects, about traveling with kids, is how to keep them entertained en route. Great list for all ages. I travel extensively with my 3 year old and I’ve gotten some good ideas from this list!