Toddler Travel Toys

We’re getting ready for our upcoming trip to Europe and I can’t wait! Honestly, one of my favorite things to pack is Julia’s toy bag. She’s at a really fun age where she’s filled with curiosity and loves new things, so I love finding things to surprise her, while making sure to pack some old favorites.

Here’s what’s in her bag for this trip (she just turned 2, but many of these toys were interesting to her in December, and we’ve had the books since last February when she wasn’t quite 1):

Indestructibles Books that live up to the name

We have several of these Indestructibles Books and have loved them since Julia was 6-9 months old. Some have text and others don’t, so we stuck with text-free options like Mama and Baby when she was little, but now we bring along ones with more wording. Since she’s almost aging out of these, I also loaded up the Kindle with some books for her (she’s only just starting to get the hang of electronic page turning), but it’s nice to have screen free books that aren’t too large.


On our last trip in December, pipe cleaners were a huge hit, but she wasn’t quite ready to string them through the little animal cards yet. I’m bringing a few along on this trip, too, just in case. I bought these, as well as the little scratch pad with multi-colored paper, at the local Dollar Tree.

Colored pencils are also really nice to have. I brought along standard-size Dollar Tree ones on the last trip, but these mini ones were too cute to pass up at Clover (local toy shop in Ballard).

My sister-in-law gave us these adorable magnetic blocks last summer (similar here) and they’re nice to have because they are slightly less likely to fall off the tray table (although watch out, they can still be thrown).

Julia also really loves the Melissa and Doug Water Wow painting sets. You’re technically supposed to empty the water out every time, but who has time for that? Not me! For extra fun entertainment, she loves to put the paintbrush back in its little pocket and take it out again (toddlers, am I right?). The water dries pretty quickly, so she can paint the same scene over and over again.


Pictured above are most of her new toys for the trip that I’m most excited about. She loves an animal sticker book that I bought her from Target last year (no longer available, but similar here), so when I saw this Sticker Dolly Dressing Book at our local Top Ten Toys (available on Amazon here), I immediately snatched it up.

On a day trip to Poulsbo earlier this year, we saw little finger puppets and bought a couple to try. Julia loves them, so I hid more in her Easter eggs this year (another brand since the originals made by Schylling weren’t available; I like them, but they’re not as high quality so I won’t be devastated if one or two get lost).

Given her love of stickers and the fact that she’ll have her own (window) seat on this flight now that she’s two, I picked up some gel cling stickers in a fun fish assortment.

I also couldn’t resist her first real Lego set. She loves Duplos, but it’s a pain to bring along more than a few given their size. The Lego City Coast Guard set seemed to have several people to play with, an animal (she loves sharks), and a little vehicle, so we’ll have some options. It was on sale at Target ($7.99), but has since increased in price. Amazon also carries it.

I pack all of these in a wet-dry bag so that they’re easy to carry, and the bag can double as an extra bag in case we have any epic sicknesses.

I also plan on bringing her new BuddyPhones (she’s still getting used to using headphones, but they’re very soft and flexible, so I love them), as recommended by The Traveling Child, one of my favorite sources for travel tips. She’s obsessed with the mini Minions backpack that I bought in Target’s dollar section last year, so that will get packed with snacks that she can carry herself, or possibly some of the toys to make sure she doesn’t play with everything all at once.

Key genres of toys that have fit well with her age:

  • Stickers, especially if there’s some kind of associated game; she’s not as interested in just peeling them off the sheet and slapping them on paper at this point.
  • Blocks, particularly if they’re interlocking or otherwise stick together so that they’re more stable for little hands that aren’t coordinated yet (or on planes that might have turbulence).
  • Small pretend objects, in the past this has included some little trains she can push around, and it will include finger puppets on this trip. Basically anything that we can create a story with.
  • Art supplies – I can’t emphasize the pipe cleaners enough as a source of pure toddler joy, but she also loves coloring. Hopefully some recent beading/”sewing” with grandma will encourage her to work on her fine motor skills with the sewing cards.

What do you bring for your little ones as plane/train/automobile entertainment?