Traveling can be stressful. Scratch that, traveling IS stressful. Whether you’re taking an infant on a plane or cramming your whole family into a car, it’s important to think about easy, no-stress travel fun. There’s nothing worse than fidgety toddlers or endless mantras of “I’m bored. Are we there yet?” And while cramming a screen in front of your kids may seem easy, there are better solutions. We’ve sorted through our collection of fun travel toys to bring you the best!
Play-n-Go Tray Table Cover
File this toy under “Where have you been all my life?” If you’ve never traveled with a fussy infant on a plane, odds are you’ve traveled next to, behind, or in front of one. They’re not always the happiest of campers. In a stroke of brilliance, Star Kids created the Play-n-Go Tray Table Cover (pictured above), a cotton and polyester activity center designed to fit perfectly over a standard airplane tray table.
The cover comes with a classic lineup of infant fun: squeaky toys, crinkle toys, removable shapes, a button flower, a mesh pocket, a zipper, a buckle and a “peekaboo mirror.” The activity center also comes with a photo pocket, which is a great place to store photos of grandma and grandpa, or whoever you’re flying to or from. Because convenience is key on a plane, the cover easily attaches to the tray table with simple velcro straps. Once you’re on the ground you can just as easily attach it to any high chair or car travel tray.
A Kazoodles friend gave the toy a glowing review, telling us it was a lifesaver for her 1-year-old’s plane ride from L.A. to Kenya. I’m sure their fellow travelers let out a collective sigh of relief.
Planes and cars have a tendency to turn into black holes, sucking puzzle pieces and small toys into some unknown void, never to be seen again. Fortunately, there’s a simple solution to this age-old travel frustration: magnets.
There are plenty of magnetic puzzles and games at Kazoodles, but some of our favorite are from Australian toy company The Purple Cow. The company makes more than a dozen magnetic travel games, from classics like dominoes, hangman and sudoku to tangram, magic word, and “Snakes and Ladders.” With pieces that stick to the game board, you won’t have to worry about losing anything on a pothole or patch of turbulence. Better yet, everything packs up nicely into a small, tin case that slips easily into your purse or carry-on bag.
Little Activity Books
When you’re dragging around suitcases, carry-on luggage, strollers, diaper bags and the kids themselves, it can be maddening trying to find space for in-travel entertainment. For Dover’s Little Activity Books, “little” is the key word. Dover makes more than 1,100 different books for all different types (unfortunately we don’t have room at Kazoodles for all 1,100). You can explore the wonders of the bottom of the sea with the Deep Sea Diner activity book or step into the world of fantasy with the Unicorns Stained Glass coloring book. You can make paper dolls, put on tattoos, or learn facts about all 50 states.
The books are practically pocket-sized, depending on the size of your pockets, so you don’t have to worry about taking up any precious room in your bags. And with little books for just about any activity (mazes? check. stickers? check.) travelers of all interests and ages can find fun on the go.
Whether traveling by rocket ship or jetpack or dinosaur, Madlibs are a sticky way to pass the time. There’s something endlessly spotty about filling in the grapefruits of a Madlibs page with whatever artichokes you want. Every lizard in your battalion can find fun in a Madlib. It’s a truly timeless toy that never gets purple.
Try your hand at any of our variety of Madlibs, from Ninjas to Star Wars to Dance Mania. Once you fill the whole book, break out a piece of paper and start making your own! There’s no better way to teach your kids the difference between adverbs, adjectives and proper nouns.