9 of the best travel toys for toddlers and preschoolers

We find the toys that really bust the boredom for small children travelling by car, train, coach, boat or plane

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  • Car trip, train journey, short or (yikes!) long-haul flight with a small child in tow: everything tends to go a bit smoother when your child can take along a compact, easily-packed-away travel toy that'll keep them entertained for (at least some of) the journey.

    Here's our pick of the top travel toys, as tested by toddlers and preschoolers

    1. VTech Kidizoom Duo 5.0, £54.99

    2. Roll up Bizzy Mat, £9.99

    3. KURIO Connect 7" tablet, £99.99

    4. VTech Kidizoom Smart Watch DX, £44.99

    5. Brio My First Take Along Set, £29.99

    6. Zinc Flyte Midi Case Scooter, £69.99

    7. Playmobil My Take Along Ship, £29.99

    8. Trunki Gerry the Giraffe, £39.99

    9. Galt Toys Water Magic, £5.99

    Swipe through the slideshow to see more about each toy and why our child testers (and their parents) rated it so highly...

    1. VTech Kidizoom Duo 5.0, £54.99

    GOLD winner, Best Portable/Travel Toy, 2018 MadeForMums Toy Awards

    Age: 3 to 9

    What it is: A child-size dual-lens camera with a large screen that takes high-quality 5 megapixel photos and videos. You can switch between the two lenses, and apply fun effects, stamps and frames to your snaps and vids. Features include 4X digital zoom, age-appropriate games, a voice recorder, a wacky photo shaker and photo editor. Comes in pink and blue. Stores up to 128MB.

    Why we love it: It’s very robust (one of our testers accidentally dropped it from quite a height) and produces nice visuals. And all the extras make it a toy that will keep them busy for quite a while…

    What our child judges made of it:

    • ‘It's so cool and I love the games. It's fun to take selfies and videos of my family. I can't wait to take it on holiday.' Aaron, 6
    • ‘It’s great and the fish game is funny!’ Theadora, 6


    Available from: Amazon and Smyths Toys

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  • 2. Roll-Up Bizzy Mat, £9.99

    JOINT BRONZE winner, Best Portable/Travel Toy, 2018 MadeForMums Toy Awards

    Age: 3+

    What it is: A roll-up mat with a dry-erase whiteboard on one side and a wipe-clean placemat on the other. Comes with 2 crayons and a cloth. Choose from a variety of designs.

    Why we love it: This is such a simple, practical, eco-friendly idea – and we like the Velcro seal and the pocket for popping your pens and cloth in.

    What our judges made of it:

    • ‘I like it because I can have tea on it and draw on it, and I can talk through it when it's rolled up. I like the stars on the food bit and the pocket for the pens and rubber.’ Jacob, 5
    • ‘Light and small and easy to put in your bag. Mason loves this!’ Michelle, mum to Mason, 5

    Available from: Keeping Bizzy and Amazon

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  • 3. KURIO Connect 7" tablet, £99.99

    JOINT BRONZE winner, Best Portable/Travel Toy, 2018 MadeForMums Toy Awards

    Age: 3+

    What it is: A tablet designed for young children and pre-loaded with apps and games. Features include text and voice messaging, remote access, alerts and special software that allows parents to block or control the level of apps/internet access, and also set time controls. Choose from pink or blue.

    Why we love it: This tablet can be set up with up to 8 different profiles, so that loads of different kids (and parents) can use it.

    What our child testers made of it:

    • ‘It’s really good. I like playing puh on there and watching videos on it. It feels nice to hold and my little brother Henry is upset as I don’t let him use it much and he would like one of his own, too.’ Charlie, 4
    • ‘The family link app is great for control. Being able to set how long Freya can look at it is brilliant, otherwise there would be countless arguments about putting it away!’ Georgina, mum to Freya, 4

    Available from: Smyths Toys

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  • Continue slideshow >

  • 4. VTech Kidizoom Smart Watch DX, £44.99

    Age: 4+

    What it is: A multi-functional smart watch that takes photos and videos, has 8 games (and more to download), a motion sensor for pedometer and games, calculator, calendar, alarm clock, stopwatch, voice recorder and more than 50 digital and analogue clock faces. Comes with a rechargeable battery.

    Why we love it: Endless entertainment from something so diddy! Our child testers found it really easy to use and were engaged for hours by the educational Time Master function as much as the games. They felt super cool and grown up wearing it too. It won Gold in our 2017 Toy Awards.

    Available from: Argos and Smyths

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  • 5. Brio My First Take Along Set, £29.99

    Age: 18 months+

    What it is: A starter train set in a carry case that becomes part of the track. Includes an engine, carriage, 2 ramps and 2 tracks. Folds out to 45cm long and 24cm wide.

    Why we love it: No more hunting around for trains or track in a bag of toys! The whole set goes back into the sturdy case and there's room to add extra engines or other toys. Our testers were very taken with being able to take their set along on trips and also with the train's bell. Parents say it feels built to last, too.

    Available from: Amazon and John Lewis

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  • 6. Zinc Flyte Midi Case Scooter, £69.99

    Age: 4+

    What it is: A cabin-sized suitcase that can hold your child's travel essentials but also converts to a scooter by pulling out the footrest. Comes in 7 designs, including animal characters.

    Why we love it: It's a Trunki for older siblings! Surprisingly light and nimble, even when the substantial case is full, parents reported using it for sleepovers, short trips away and even to carry home the weekly shop. Our child testers thought they were the business zooming along on it.

    Available from: Amazon

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  • 7. Playmobil My Take Along Ship, £29.99

    Age: 18 months+

    What it is: A plastic toy boat with a carry handle and removable roof. Comes with 3 little people, a dog, suitcases, 2 fish, a dove, a whale and a rubber ring.

    Why we loved it: The boat is a nice size (24cm x 34cm x 14cm) and, although it's light and easy to carry, it feels very robust. Our child testers all loved stowing the play figures away in the hull, and making the boat float in their bathwater. And we have a bit of a soft spot for the little dog floating in his rubber ring! 

    Available from: Amazon

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  • 8. Trunki Gerry the Giraffe, £39.99

    Age: 3+

    What it is: A giraffe-themed wheeled suitcase, from the famous Trunki range, that doubles as a ride-on toy or temporary seat. Made from durable plastic, and comes with a 5-year guarantee – and its own 'passport'.

    Why we loved it: This is a great idea for small children who get bored in airport lounges and queues. For a child's suitcase, you can actually get quite a lot inside it, and it's definitely sturdy enough to take the weight of a enthusiastic child rider. Our child testers immediately loved their sit-on giraffe friend and found Gerry easy both to carry and ride.

    Available from: Argos and Trunki

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  • 9. Galt Toys Water Magic, £5.99

    Age: 3+

    What it is: A spiral bound pad with six reusable themed pictures. Fill the magic pen with water to 'colour in' and reveal the images, again and again. A huge range of sets to choose from, from animals to robots.

    Why we love it: Mess-free art entertainment and no need to carry a huge wad of paper and a stack of crayons. Bonus points for being able to reuse it. The 'magic' pen has huge novelty factor for kids.

    Available from: Amazon and John Lewis

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Last updated on 19 October 2018

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