person with toy airplane on world map

There are certain toys, books, and activities we pack every time we load the car for a road trip or pack carry-ons for a flight. These are the 16 best activities to have on hand to keep your infant or toddler well entertained throughout your journey.

As we traveled, I started to note the duration of entertainment offered by each activity. Will it hold their interest for 2 minutes or 20? If it will provide at least 20 minutes of quiet, I pack it! Less than that is not worth the space in our luggage. When I have a 3 hour flight, that means bringing about 10 inflight activity options. If all else fails, I’m not above screen time; the iPad is on standby.

For more ideas, check out this article that has options in the next price range up.

Popping Fidget Toy

Best for: Airplane, Car Rides
Age: 0-3 years (Yes, amazingly this still captivates my 3 year old on car rides.)
Duration: 20 minutes on and off

My 10 month old is just starting to get the satisfaction of popping these little dimples in and out. I’m seeing more and more similar products enter the market. I didn’t splurge on Fat Brain’s Dimpl, but found this Weiyu knock off fidget toy to be a great alternative. I like that it has a variety of dimple sizes.

It’s easy to clean too! We wipe it down on the go with sanitizing wipes or toss it in the dishwasher at home. This is a great toy to grab on prime day!

Favorite Travel Activities Under $15

Slinky

Best for: Airplane, Car Rides, Hotel Room
Age: 2-4 years (Let’s be honest, 2-99 years)
Duration: 20-30 minutes

When Liam was 18 months we were off and on a tour bus for several hours of a day. Sitting next to him and stretching the slinky as far as I could reach then letting it snap back to him provided non stop giggles for 30 minutes. We had lots of fun with it in hotel rooms and on stairs as well.

Wonder Wheel

Best for: Airplane, Car Rides
Age: 0-1
Duration: 20 minutes on and off

Spinners within spinners, babies get so much gratification from this Sassy Wonder Wheel. Plus, it easily mounts to a table top or airplane tray with its suction bottom. (Wet it first.) Great gift idea to grab on prime day!

best travel activities for infant toddler

Color Wonder Markers and Paper

Best for: Airplane, Restaurants, Car rides
Age: 18 months – 4
Duration: 20 minutes

I do not dare hand my 3 year old a real marker if he will be unsupervised for even a moment. I love these mess free color wonder sets which have clear ink, unless used with Color Wonder Paper or Coloring Pages.

color wonder  best travel activities for infant toddler

A Basic Kite

Best for: Burning off energy outside
Age: 2-4
Duration: 30-45 minutes

Be prepared for a workout of your own while you teach your kid how to fly a kite. Great for parks and beaches!

kite best travel activities for infant toddler
Favorite Travel Activities Under $15
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Kids Golf Set

Best for: Burning off energy outside
Age: 18 months-4 years
Duration: Unlimited

We have purchased two Kids Golf sets and keep a club in each vehicle, in our yard, and at Grandma and Grandpa’s. In addition, one golf club is always packed in our suitcase with some lightweight balls. My son could play for hours; burning off energy chasing after his ball wherever it lands.

golf toy best travel activities for infant toddler

Balloons and Inflatable Beach Balls

Best for: Hotel room, Outdoor play, Bath time
Age: 0-4 years
Duration: Unlimited

Hands town the easiest things to pack and offering countless hours of fun are inflatable beach balls or latex balloons. Bring a sharpie and decorate the balloons for added fun by creating characters on them. You’ll find them cheaper at the Dollar Store or Target than Amazon.

balloons best travel activities for infant toddler
beachball best travel activities for infant toddler

3D Gel Stickers

Best for: Airplane, Car ride, Restaurant
Age: 1 – 3 years
Duration: 20 minutes on and off

Stretch the amusement value of these stickers by bringing two small containers in which your little one can place all the stickers after peeling them from the windows, seat back, and your clothes. If there is a container, the play extends because it becomes a game packing and unpacking them. Just be sure to bring extra packs as you’ll want to throw them away after a single use. They pick up every bit of dirt.

I prefer to grab mine from the Dollar Store or Target “Holiday Clearance”, but they are also available here on Amazon.

Favorite Travel Activities Under $15

The next three items are fantastic activities to check out on Amazon Prime Day.

Melissa and Doug Scissor Skills Activity Book

Best for: Hotel room, Restaurant
Age: 2-3 years
Duration: 20-30 minutes

Even if you just bring a kid scissors and provide assorted things to ‘shred,’ I assure you they will be entertained. Just be prepared to clean up after them. This has allowed us many quiet moments while dining or visiting breweries. I don’t recommend this for the plane as it’ll be challenging to bend down and get all the schnitzels.

scissor skills best travel activities for infant toddler

Melissa and Doug Tape Book

Best for: Airplane, Restaurant, Car ride
Age: 2-3 years
Duration: 30 minutes

My two year old spent more time wadding all the tape into balls so masking tape would’ve been just as effective for a toddler boy. He’s just starting to follow the patterns now at 3. On the plane, much of the tape plastered windows, seats, and me. Whatever works. Less than $6 on Amazon!

Favorite Travel Activities Under $15

Water Wow

Best for: Airplane, Restaurant, Car Ride
Age: 1-3
Duration: 20 minutes

Just add water to the Water Wow pen and your little one will be enthralled as the color appears on the pages. Works well for “painting” on rocks as well!

Books to Read

These are the four books that have delivered the most entertainment for our now 3 year old. There is no limit to the amount of times he’ll want to hear or “read” them. Paperbacks certainly travel lighter, but I prefer to bring board books to avoid wear and tear. Less than a year ago Liam was still ripping pages.

Press Here
After a couple times reading this together, Liam started flipping through this over and over on his own.

Follow Me Maze
Filled with indented finger mazes.

The Monster at The End of This Book
My personal childhood favorite.

I Spy

Favorite Travel Activities Under $15

For Mom and Dad

We always travel with a deck of cards and at least one additional card game.

Fluxx, Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza, and Monopoly Deal are our favorites, although I’ll admit we’ve never found the time when we were on our own with the two kids.

It’s easier to play Splurt while we are in the car or chat about our Road Trip Table Topic responses.

best adult travel games

Disclosure: I only recommend products I would use myself and all opinions expressed here are my own. This post may contain affiliate links on which (at no additional cost to you) I may earn a small commission. I promise to use any kickback to explore more of our incredible world. Read full privacy policy here

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