We've all been there.
You're just settling into your seat on a crowded aeroplane and an infant close by starts screaming. Whether it's your baby or somebody else's, we all know how important it is to keep young children happy and entertained on long journeys, for the sake of everyone's sanity.
That's why we've collected together a list of the best travel toys for babies, so you can embark on your next trip armed with a host of fail-safe tools to distract and amuse the kids.
A travel toy is a toy perfectly designed to entertain a child on a journey, whether it be by plane, train, bus or car. When searching for the best of the bunch, we tried to consider what would make them most appealing to travelling parents. Affordability, naturally, was a big factor. We also considered size, sound (almost every item on the list is either silent or very quiet, so you'll encounter no disgruntled looks from your fellow passengers) and how easy the toy would be to pack. And, of course, we only ever list the kinds of toys and books that we know kids love.
So take a look at our selection of the top travel toys for toddlers and babies, so you can decide on the perfect toys to take on holiday before your next trip.
Image: Unsplash, Paul Hanaoka
Kidadl's Top Pick
Whilst every travel toy on our list comes highly recommended, this is our top pick based on quality, entertainment value and popularity with fellow travelling families!
1. Buckle Toy Blu Whale
This cute little whale features a zip-open mouth and six colour-coded straps with a variety of different clasps and buckles that will keep little people absorbed for hours. It's made for slightly older tots, designed to aid toddlers in the development of their problem solving and motor skills, and the bright numbers and shapes along the body and up the tail provide an extra opportunity for learning as they play. It's soft and easy to squish down into luggage, and silent, so won't annoy other passengers. A lovely sensory experience with which to distract babies, toddlers and young children on long journeys.
Age: 1-3 years
Best For Interactive Play
2. AeiouBaby Farm Animal Finger Puppets
If you're looking for a way to engage and play with your little ones, finger puppets might be some of the best travel toys you could bring on your next trip. These versatile toys are great for independent play, but even better for fun, communal engagement, enhancing story time and encouraging your child to use their imagination. These sweet little farm animals are small, easy to pack and affordable; plus, they're made from BPA-free rubber, so it doesn't matter too much if they briefly end up in your child's mouth.
Age: 0+ months (as long as you're wearing them to avoid choking hazards)
Best For Developing Fine Motor Skills
3. Meadow Days Tiny Love Spin Ball
This little ball of fun can be rolled, spun, shaken and opened, with a number of colours, textures and interactive parts to delight your baby's senses and encourage fine motor development. It's small and compact enough to fit easily into your luggage and versatile enough to keep your baby entertained for hours in all kinds of travel settings.
Age: 0+ months
Best Car Toy
4. Taf Toys Koala In-Car Play Centre
This Taf Toys baby play centre is, we've found, one of the best toys for the car. Just hang it over the car seat in front of where your baby is sitting and let it work it's magic. Featuring an array of colourful soft activity toys that crinkle, rattle and shine, a baby-safe mirror and a little snail-shaped baby-teether, there are tons of jazzy features that will occupy your baby's attention for hours at a time.
Age: 0+ months
Best Travel Book For Babies
5. Jellycat Jungly Tails Book
This fun, interactive book from Jellycat has an array of fuzzy animal tails for your child to touch, pull and play with. It's brightly coloured and full of interesting textures to support your child's sensory engagement; great for babies and toddlers alike. It's soft (so easily stuffed away into luggage) and has a fabric loop in the corner perfect for attaching to a buggy, car seat, or the plane seat in front.
Age: 0+ months
Best For Playing With In The Buggy
6. Lamaze Captain Calamari Clip-On Pram Toy
With a handy ring to clip onto the buggy, this is one of the best toys for babies and toddlers who need entertaining whilst being wheeled through the airport. Constructed from a velvety velour fabric, this colourful little octopus is super soft to the touch; all his body parts offer a different texture, sound or interactive attachment, making it an engrossing toy perfect for keeping your little one distracted, even when you get on the plane.
Age: 0-6 months
Best For Under 5s
7. Where Is Baby's Belly Button by Karen Katz
Nothing quite beats a good old-fashioned story book when it comes to engaging the attention of little ones, and this one is as cute as they come. The beautiful illustrations and lift-the-flap element will delight small children, and the slim, sturdy board-book design will slip easily into a handbag or luggage pocket.
Age: 0 months - 5 years
Best Travel Colouring Book
8. Water Magic Colouring Books
Colouring is a great way to keep kids entertained, but the hassle of bringing crayons, so haphazard and messy and easily dropped, onto a plane or train is enough to prevent most parents from bothering. Enter, water magic colouring books. These clever books use a refillable water pen to bring colour to four reusable activity pages. There's no mess, no stress and there's two in a pack so siblings won't get jealous. Best of all, the pens smell like baked goods. What's not to love?
Age: 3+ years
Best For Long Journeys
9. Melissa & Doug Take-Along Shape-Sorter
This handy little shape sorter is perfect for tots on-the-move; it comes in a zip-up travel case with a handle great for hooking onto luggage or the buggy. With a soft flip-up activity on the back and nine blocks in various shapes and textures for kids to sort, it's great for engaging babies on long journeys whilst helping to develop fine motor skills. Naturally, the inner pieces are loose and therefore easily dropped - perhaps best saved for car journeys.
Age: 9 months - 6 years
Best For Teething Babies
10. Manhattan Toy Winkel Rattle And Teether
This colourful baby toy has countless tubes for your baby to grasp, shake and chew on. The plastic loops are BPA-free, making it one of the best travel toys for teething babies on a long journey; it can even be refrigerated if you want to instil it with extra soothing powers before a long flight. The handles make it easy for your baby to hold it unsupervised, and, though the rattling parts and sliding rings do make a little noise, it's not so disruptive that it will annoy fellow travellers.
Age: 0-24 months
Kidadl Best Buys selects the top parent-recommended products across the web for families of all ages. If you liked our suggestions for baby travel toys then why not take a look at our list of the best travel cots, or for something different take a look at the best ice lolly moulds to make fun snacks with.
At Kidadl we pride ourselves on offering families original ideas to make the most of time spent together at home or out and about, wherever you are in the world. We strive to recommend the very best things, that are suggested by our community and are things we would do ourselves - our aim is to be the trusted friend to parents.
We try our very best, but cannot guarantee perfection. We will always aim to give you accurate information at the date of publication - however, information does change, so it's important you do your own research, double-check and make the decision that is right for your family.
Kidadl provides inspiration for everything from family days out to online classes, arts, crafts and science experiments. We recognise that not all activities and ideas are appropriate and suitable for all children and families or in all circumstances. Our recommended activities are based on age but these are a guide. We recommend that these ideas are used as inspiration, that ideas are undertaken with appropriate adult supervision, and that each adult uses their own discretion and knowledge of their children to consider the safety and suitability.
Kidadl cannot accept liability for the execution of these ideas, and parental supervision is advised at all times, as safety is paramount. Anyone using the information provided by Kidadl does so at their own risk and we can not accept liability if things go wrong.
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