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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Toy Awards travel portable toy

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.

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

1. Oaxis myFirst Camera 2, best for a childproof camera, £60.00

Age: 4+

Awards: MadeForMums Toy Awards 2019 Best Portable/Travel Toy – Gold

What it is: A shockproof, high-res photo and video camera with waterproof case. MicroSD up to 36GB.

Why we love it: In the pool, in the sea, on the rocks – there’s no limit to where your child can capture their adventures with this shockproof camera which comes with waterproof transparent casing.

Although it doesn’t have games like other kids’ cameras, including the Vtech Kidizoom also in this round-up, the beautiful design and the waterproof feature make it our gold award-winner.

Dani, MFM tester and mum to Jaime, 6, says, “This is so tactile and beautifully designed – it beats any other kids’ camera out there.”

Clare, MFM tester and mum to Adelaide, 5, and Dorothea, 7, adds, “My daughter loved the camera. We took it to an animal park and a waterfall. The waterproof case seemed to hold up well and the 8MP camera meant that a 32GB memory card holds plenty of pictures.”

Available from: Argos and Oaxis

2. Toyrific Range Rover Ride-On/Suitcase, best for 2-in-1 toy and suitcase, £69.99

Age: 2-6 years

Awards: MadeForMums Toy Awards 2019 Best Portable/Travel Toy – Joint Silver

What it is: Range Rover SVR ride-on kids’ suitcase; converts from a pull-along case into a ride-on car with a clever fold-up handle; available in white, red or blue

Why we love it: With its official Range Rover styling, this silver award-winning ride-on travel case has a more grown-up feel than a Trunki. Although it may be more expensive, going on our testers’ feedback, kids will want to play with it all the time, not just when you’re going away!

Vicki, MFM tester and mum of Zach, 3, and Lincoln, 18 months, says “This car hasn’t been left alone since it arrived. Whether it is being rode on, pushed along, in the garage being fixed by mechanic Zach or being sat on to watch TV, it is definitely a recommended item.”

Available from: Very and Robert Dyas

3. TOMY My ABC Doodle, best for educational play, £19.99

Age: 3 years+

Awards: MadeForMums Toy Awards 2019 Best Portable/Travel Toy – Joint Silver

What it is: An Aquadoodle educational drawing mat with a water pen for tracing letters and numbers and dot grids and free space for drawing – as the mat dries the doodles disappear so you can use it countless times.

Why we love it: No need to take a pad and pens away with you when you have the ABC Doodle water pen and drawing mat – and it’s educational, too!

We can see your little artists getting stuck into this in the back of the car, on the train or plane – an essential if you want a peaceful journey!

Sarah, MFM tester and mother of Penny, 3, and Libby, 2, says “It keeps my children entertained and they attempt to draw the letters and numbers and scribble in the other spaces provided. It dries quickly so can be constantly played with.”

Available from: Smyths Toys, Debenhams and Argos

4. VTech Kidizoom Smart Watch DX, best for small travel toy, £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. Available in blue, purple, khaki, red and pink.

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.

Available from: Argos and Smyths Toys

5. Playmobil My Take Along Ship, £29.99 – best for younger children

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 love 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

6. Upworld 296 pcs Mushroom Pegboard, best for creative kids, £10.99

Age: 3+

What it is: A rectangular plastic pegboard (22cm x 27cm) with different coloured mushroom-shaped pegs (in three sizes) to create pictures. The pegs sit in the tray underneath – which handily converts into a portable travel case.

Why we love it: This will really fire their imaginations with unlimited pictures possible – great for keeping a creative kid occupied on long journeys.

Available from: Amazon

7. VTech Kidizoom Duo 5.0, best for multi-function camera, £54.99

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: Although it can’t be taken in the water like the Oaxis camera above, it’s still 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…

MFM tester Aaron, 6, says “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.”

Available from: Amazon and Smyths Toys

8. Trunki Skye the Spaceship, best for ride-on, £39.99

Age: 3+

What it is: A spaceship-themed wheeled suitcase, from the famous Trunki range, that doubles as a ride-on toy or temporary seat and has glow-in-the-dark lettering. Made from durable plastic, and comes with a 5-year guarantee, its own ‘passport’ and free stickers.

Why we love 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 friend and found it easy both to carry and ride.

Available from: Trunki

9. LeapFrog Rockit Twist, best for learning on the move, £39.99

Age: 4+

What it is: A handheld games console featuring 8 colourful, light-up controls and 12 educational games with three levels of difficulty, using reading, maths, problem-solving and creativity skills. Includes three virtual RockIt Pets™ and an MP3 player; extra learning packs with different themes available.

Why we love it: The Rockit Twist has lots of addictive games to play that test all areas of your kids’ knowledge (without them realising it!), and they can listen to their favourite tunes at the same time.

The virtual pets – which they can feed, bathe and play with – add an extra dimension. We love this clever way to get them learning by stealth while on the move – and best of all, there’s no Wi-Fi required, so they really can play anywhere.

Available from: Smyths Toys, Argos and Amazon

10. Zinc Flyte Midi Case Scooter, best for older children, £69.99

Age: 4+

What it is: An 18”, cabin-sized suitcase that can hold your child’s travel essentials but also converts to a scooter by pulling out the footrest. Comes in 11 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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