10 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

    Just scroll through the slideshow to read what our child testers thought of them...

    1. Vtech Kiddizoom Smart Watch DX, £44.99

    2. Brio My First Take Along Set, £29.99

    3. Playmobil My Take Along Farm, £29.99

    4. Zinc Flyte Midi Case Scooter, £69.99

    5. Playmobil My Take Along Ship, £29.99

    6. Trunki Gerry the Giraffe, £39.99

    7. BigJigs Toys Noughts & Crosses, £4.49

    8. Aquadoodle Paw Patrol Doodle Bag, £16.99

    9. Galt Toys Water Magic, £5.99

    10. Le Toy Van Animal Pairs Memory Game, £14.95

  • 1. VTech Kidizoom Smart Watch DX, £44.99

    GOLD winner, Best Travel Toy, 2017 MadeForMums Toy Awards

    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. 

    What our child testers thought:

    • 'The watch is cool as it has a camera and you can record messages and show them to your friends.' Matthew, 5
    • 'My son has spent most of his time on the watch since he got it. It kept him busy for car journeys and he is now eager to tell the time thanks to the programme on the watch.' Emma, mum to Taylor, 4

    Available from: Argos and Smyths

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

    SILVER winner, Best Travel Toy, 2017 MadeForMums Toy Awards

    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.

    What our child testers thought:

    • ‘He can put this together easily after watching me do it once, which impressed me and his dad. I'd definitely recommend this lovely carry set – it's providing hours of fun.’ Kyrie, mum of Dylan, 2
    • ‘Andy loves trains and he was very excited when he got this! He loves to assemble and take it apart over and over again, likes to play with the trains and puts everything in the storage compartment and takes it with him in the car when we go somewhere.’ Oana, mum of Andy, 2

    Available from: Amazon and John Lewis

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  • 3.  Playmobil My Take Along Farm, £29.99

    SILVER winner, Best Travel Toy, 2017 MadeForMums Toy Awards

    Age:
     18 months+

    What it is: A farmhouse that opens up and contains a farmer figures, 5 animals, furniture and farm accessories. There is an internal shape sorter, a carry handle and all the pieces can be stored inside. 

    Why we love it: Oh so portable for fun on the road! We love how it all fits neatly inside the farmhouse and the shape sorter for the hay bales is a nice additional touch. One to really fire their imaginations without disruptive noises and lights, too. 

    What our child testers thought:

    • ‘Quinn loved playing with this toy . It kept him entertained for ages whilst he pulled out each of the animals and arranged them outside of the farm house. The best bit is that it all closeds up and has a handle which means he could carry it around with him – it was fantastic for when we spent an overnight stay in a hotel.’ Aimee, mum to Quinn, 2

    Available from: Asda and Argos

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  • 4. Zinc Flyte Midi Case Scooter, £69.99

    BRONZE winner, Best Travel Toy, 2017 MadeForMums Toy Awards

    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.

    What our child testers thought:

    • ‘It looks so cool! I can take all my things with me when I scoot! It goes so fast and is easy to scoot on. I want to take it everywhere!" Mia, 5
    • ‘The design is really cute and I was impressed with what good quality the scooter is. It's a great way to encourage children to get through airports and stations quickly.’ Kate, mum of Melissa, 6

    Available from: Amazon

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  • 5. 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, which is part of the reason why it won the Gold for best travel toy in the 2016 MadeForMums Toy Awards. We have a bit of a soft spot for the little dog floating in his rubber ring! 

    Available from: Amazon and Tesco

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  • 6. 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, awarding it Bronze in the 2016 MFM Toy Awards.

    Available from: Argos and Trunki

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  • 7. BigJigs Toys Noughts & Crosses, £4.49

    Age: 3+

    What it is: A 3cm x 10cm x 10cm version of the classic noughts and crosses game, inside a handy travel tin – with a lid. As well as this cat-and-mouse set, there is a also a pirate set, a ladybird and bee set ,and a princess and frog one. 

    Why we love it: It's magnetic (even the lid), so no scrabbling around on the car/train/plane floor for fallen bits. And the bright colours and friendly faces of the little animals are just adorable.

    Available from: Amazon and Tesco

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  • 8. Aquadoodle Paw Patrol Doodle Bag, £16.99

    Age: 18 months+

    What it is: A 27cm padded, zip-up art mat your child ‘draw’ on with a special water-filled pen. As the drawing dries, the pictures fade away, ready for the mat to be used over and over again.

    Why we love it: No need to cart around umpteen felt tips or crayons – or worry about running out of paper. And the thrill of seeing your drawings appear like magic rarely fades. Oh, and it's got Paw Patrol pups on the front – nuff said...

    Available from: Asda and Argos

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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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  • 10. Le Toy Van Animal Pairs Memory Game, £14.95

    Age: 12 months +

    What it is: 8 pairs of animal-topped solid-rubberwood pieces, for your child to mix up and match. Comes with a fabric bag for easy storage.

    Why we love it: It's beautifully made, and the pieces are the perfect size for chubby toddler hands. Can be used for lots of different memory and matching games as your child develops and grows – so should last for ages.

    Available from: Amazon and JoJo Maman Bebe

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Last updated on 4 October 2017

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