Keep Your Toddler Entertained on a Family Road Trip with Fun Toys + Helpful Tips
As the family member running this blog not currently living in Montana, but who visits a lot, I’ve become accustomed to 12-hour road trips from Seattle to Billings that started when my oldest was just entering her toddler years. Now my youngest is a toddler and we make the drive several times a year.
Sometimes we stop and spend the night along the way (usually in Missoula), but often we drive straight through. Either way, it’s a long time for my little ones to be sitting in the car. So I’ve become quite proficient at keeping them entertained, because there’s not much worse on a road trip (well, ok, as long as your car doesn’t break down or crash) than a little kid wailing or whining nonstop.
Here are my top tips for keeping your sanity on a road trip with toddlers, starting with the best toys for toddlers to bring on your road trip.
Non-Toy Must-Have Toddler Product for Road Trips
Toys differ depending on your toddler’s personality, and I’m going to get into all of the reasons why I chose the above 15 toddler toys as being the best for a road trip below, but first I want to cover my other must-have item for road tripping with toddlers that’s not a toy.
And that would be a travel potty.
I have this Potette and love it. This thing is a lifesaver (or at least a potty-accident saver!) if your kid is no longer in diapers. I’ve even used it before in a pinch! (TMI? haha)
A travel potty like the Potette saves time from having to stop at gas stations. It also can be easily put to use on the side of the road if you’re not near a gas station. Plus, those public restrooms can also be so gross, and if you’ve ever gone into a public restroom with a toddler you know they touch EVERYTHING.
So save your road trip anxiety for traffic jams, blown gaskets, and icy roads, and breath easier with a travel potty — perhaps literally if you avoid smelly accident in the car with the Potette!
And don’t forget to purchase extra liners for it here!
Top 15 Toddler Toys for a Road Trip: Why These Toys Were Picked as the Best
Now for a more in-depth look at why I chose each of the toys in the graph above. My kids have used all these toys, including on road trips. Here’s why they’re the best.
Keep Those Toys Organized on Road Trips
One more thing: keep these road trip toys organized! If you don’t want to be constantly reaching into the backseat to retrieve toys off the floor, get a carseat organizer. Here are a few to choose from:
Best Road Trip Games for Toddlers
If you need something other than toys to pass the time with your toddler on your road trip, here are some fun game ideas.
We play this game even on short drives around town! It’s always a hit. “I spy with my little eye…something (say a color or other descriptive word like ‘shiny’).” And then everyone in the car takes turns guessing.
—> No supplies are needed for this, but you can make it more interactive with this I Spy book or card game.
I bought some road trip bingo cards while at a gift shop on a road trip and they immediately came in handy and provided lots of entertainment. I would say they’re better for preschoolers and elementary-age kids, but even my toddler has fun sliding the covers back and forth and trying to find things. She just doesn’t quite get the “Bingo” aspect of it yet. 😉
—> Here are the car Bingo cards I have. They have an old-school vibe I remember from my childhood so they’re pretty fun for all ages! 🙂
—> These Melissa & Doug ones are also cute and look are well-suited for toddlers little hands.
If you have two adults in the car, the adult in the passenger seat (or an older kid who’s already reading), can read aloud a pack of question cards for children to spur fun conversations. It’s so fun to hear the answers your kids come up with, too!
—> My mom brought this set along one time and they were a hit.
More Tips for Your Toddler Road Trip
- Leave early in the morning, plan an early lunch break, and then cross your fingers your toddler will nap afterward!
- Look for a park, or if it’s rainy or cold, check if there are any Chuck E Cheeses or McDonalds with play areas along the way.
- Save the iPad or Kindle fire as long as possible. Watching shows on the tablet (or the car TV if you have one) is a great time-passer on road trips and I am all for them, but toddlers will very likely get bored with it — and probably sooner than you’d like! I’ve found if I start the road trip with a show, when they eventually get bored and restless they stay that way even if I then introduce toys or games to play with in the car. But if I wait until we are about to have a road trip toddler mutiny on our hands, then my kids may be already bored and restless, but will suddenly be drawn into the action of the screen since they haven’t watched anything on it yet.
Hopefully these road trip toys, games, and tips for traveling with toddlers will help you out on your next family adventure. Good luck! 😉
P.S. Not sure where to go on your next toddler road trip? Check out this Montana family-friendly road trip idea!
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