The best travel toys for 1-year-olds! Ideas for planes, road trips, vacations, and more!
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Are you getting ready to take a trip with your little one? Looking for a way to entertain your toddler in the car?
It can be tough to keep a 1-year-old entertained while traveling because they tend to be very “busy” and have short attention spans!
The good news is you don’t need to go out and buy a million new toys for every trip. Planning ahead and packing a few essential items that will help keep your 1-year-old occupied can make travel easier and less stressful!
We’ve compiled a list of the best travel toys for 1-year-olds, including some classics and new favorites. These toys are easy to take on the go and can help keep your toddler happy and entertained on long flights or long car rides.
So, whether you’re headed across town or around the world, be sure to pack one (or more) of these great toys!
Things to Consider When Choosing the Perfect Travel Toys:
- Sound – selecting toys that don’t require batteries or make too excessive noise will help prevent disruptions in public places
- Size – pick toys that are small, so they don’t take up much room and are easy to pack
- Convenience – avoid toys that are messy or contain small parts that can easily get lost
- Preferences – of course, it’s important to choose toys that your child will actually enjoy playing with (which can honestly depend on the day!), but try to choose fun toys you think your toddler will be interested in
25 Awesome Family Travel Toys for 1-Year-Olds
1. Busy Cube
This busy cube is genius. It is basically a bunch of random things that toddlers are always wanting to mess with (keys, light switches, knobs, etc.) attached to a wooden block.
2. Interactive Books
Board books with flaps, animal noises, mirrors, touch-and-feel, and other interactive features help to keep young children occupied for longer. You can read to your child or let them look at books in the car, on plane rides, or in the stroller.
Consider leaving noisy books at home if you will be in public places. 🙂
3. Busy Board
A Busy Board is one of the best toddler travel toys because of its compact design and different activities. A great way for those little minds to work on their problem-solving skills.
It can be frustrating for a one-year-old who can’t quite figure out how to manipulate and maneuver everything on the board, so it may be better to pull out the busy board when you are able to sit and play with your toddler (i.e. on an airplane).
4. Jellyfish Toy
This neat little silicone sensory toy allows toddlers to pull textured ropes in and out of the holes. It also has little buttons on the sides to push in and out. Plus it doubles as a teething toy.
5. Buckle Toy
There are many different versions of buckle toys. This penguin one is a stuffed animal + a buckle toy all in one! Soft toys are safe for using in the car and can be soothing for small children.
Most young toddlers love playing with buckles, but this is another one that might not be a good idea if you aren’t nearby to help.
6. Stacking or Nesting Cups
Stacking cups might be a little trickier to take on the go since they have multiple pieces to keep track of, but still a great activity for 1-year-olds.
This lion stack-n-stow nesting cup set is easy to carry around. Stacking cups are great for the beach or bathtime too – there are so many different ways to use them!
7. Finger Puppets
These cute little finger puppets provide easy on-the-go entertainment & are great for imaginative play and are the perfect size for taking on the go.
8. Montessori Quiet Book for Toddlers
This soft and durable cloth busy book has many interactive features, which are attached with reinforced fabric, making it a great travel toy.
This little book has many different textures, making it great for sensory development, fine motor skills, and other early learning skills.
The book is machine washable, making it easy to keep clean.
9. Car Keys
Keys are a hot commodity for one-year-olds, making a fake key set one of the best toddler toys. This toddler key set is pretty realistic looking, and won’t set off your car alarm. 😉
Take the batteries out if you don’t want them to make noise.
10. Cell Phone
Keep your toddler from stealing your phone by giving them their own toy cell phone. A fun toy for any age group!
We have this phone, remote, and key set. They are all very realistic looking, but they all make noise, so keep that in mind if you’re taking them on a plane or in other public places.
11. Indestructible Books
These little toddler books are called Indestructibles. Indestructibles are chew-proof, rip-proof, washable, and non-toxic, making them a great option for young kids who put everything in their mouths. They are just the right size for little hands.
These small and thin books are easy to bring along in your diaper bag or carry-on bag.
There are more than 40 different Indestructibles books to choose from.
12. Sensory Pop-It Toy
This toddler pop-it is small and inexpensive, making it one of the best sensory toys for on-the-go entertainment.
13. LeapFrog My First Learning Tablet
The Leapfrog Toddler Tablet has many features – 25 pretend apps, lights, songs, words in different languages, animal sounds, colors, numbers, shapes, and more.
14. Shape Sorter
Shape sorters are one of the best toys for one year olds. There are so many different designs to choose from.
This take-along shape sorter set is a great choice for travel. We brought this shape sorter on my son’s first flight, and he spent nearly 30 minutes figuring out the different shapes.
15. Stacking Rings
16. Toddler Flash Cards
This flashcard set is one of the best car travel toys (great for planes too)! The cards are thick and durable, and the set comes on a ring, making them easy for little ones to look at without dropping them everywhere.
Our one-year-old loves studying the cards and looking at the bright colors and different animals.
17. Plush Car Set with Playmat Carrying Bag
This soft, lightweight car set is easy to transport because it comes with a convenient carrying bag that converts to a playmat with roads for “driving” the little cars around.
The best part is that the cars are friction-powered, so they don’t require any batteries.
18. Magnetic Wood Block Travel Set
This 8-piece magnetic block set is a fun way to let your little one build on the go, even in a small space. The blocks are aesthetically pleasing and come with a convenient carrying case.
The magnets help keep the blocks from falling constantly, making this set a better building option for travel than other block sets. These blocks are a good choice for one-year-olds but can be used for older toddlers and little kids as well.
19. Hedgehog Fidget Friend
Spike the Fine Motor Hedgehog is a small fidget toy that will keep toddlers occupied on the go.
Turn the wheel, spin the crank, press the button, twist the knob, push the plunger, and move the switch!
20. Mushie Press Toys
These Mushie press toys are a similar concept to the sensory pop-it toy listed above, but these are so cute and aesthetically pleasing that I had to add them to the list!
21. Clip-On Steering Wheel
This adorable little steering wheel allows your little one to “drive”! It can clip onto the back of a car seat, plane seat, or stroller. It makes noises and plays songs.
A few reviewers said the horn sounds so realistic that they thought someone honking at them from behind, so be aware of that!
The Toniebox is one of our favorite travel toys. My kids listen to it in the car, in the stroller, and around the house. We have taken it with us on vacation and used it in our hotel room. We have even taken it on an airplane and used it with headphones.
My older toddler loves listening to stories through the Toniebox, and my one-year-old loves the songs and playing with the Tonie figurines.
23. Reusable Sticker Books
These Melissa & Doug Puffy Sticker books are recommended for older kids (ages 4+), but my one-year-old likes playing with them.
I usually just let him play with the bigger stickers because the smaller ones end up getting lost or he tries to put them in his mouth.
The reusable stickers are nice and thick, making them easier for little fingers to maneuver.
24. Window Clings
These stickers are not actually sticky, instead, they cling to the book and other surfaces. I think the best way to use them is as window clings.
My kids love taking them on and off windows. We have used them on airplane windows and tray tables and love taking them on vacation. The best thing is that because they are so small, they are easy to pack and fun for the kids to play with in rental houses or hotels.
25. Suction Cup Spinner Toys
This little suction cup fidget spinner has been one of the top travel toys for my toddlers. They absolutely love spinning it and watching the vibrant colors go around and around.
The suction cup keeps it securely attached to any flat surface, including a tray table, windows, and stroller trays, making it a perfect toy for travel.
TRAVEL TIP: Try to have designated travel toys that you save for playing with only in the car or while traveling. It will make them seem more special and will hopefully help keep your toddler entertained for longer!
Other Ways to Entertain Young Toddlers On the Go
Here are a few more options for entertaining 1-year-olds on a plane, in the car, in restaurants, on walks, or anywhere else on the go!
Sing Songs or Play Music
Another way to entertain your 1-year-old (especially during car rides) is by singing songs. If you aren’t sure what to sing, try some classics like “Old MacDonald Had a Farm” or “Wheels on the Bus”, or make up your own songs about things you see out the window! And don’t worry if you’re a bad singer – I guarantee your toddler doesn’t care!
If singing isn’t your thing, you can play songs through the car speakers. You can find a toddler-friendly playlist on any music streaming app. And if you get tired of listening to kids’ songs, many toddlers will be entertained by “grown-up” songs too. 🙂
Give Them Random Objects
Because wallets, sugar packets, and rocks are much more fun to play with than all of the fancy toys you just purchased.
Snacks provide entertainment and keep everyone happy! Bring a variety of travel-friendly snacks – nothing too sticky or messy. The most important thing is to choose snacks that are safe for eating on the go.
These snack cups are helpful for containing messes, easy to clean, and they collapse for easy transport.
This snack spinner is so cool! It allows you to offer your toddler a variety of choices for a long haul. They can simply press the center button to open each snack compartment.
On-the-Go Snack Ideas
- Freeze-dried fruit
- Applesauce pouches or other food pouches
- Cheese stick
- Granola Bars
- Veggies – carrots, peppers, celery
- Fruit – apple slices, bananas, grapes, blueberries
Ask your toddler to point to their nose or other body parts. What sound does a cow make? What are some other animal noises they know? Can they point to objects that are different colors?
Asking questions can be a simple, quick, and easy way to entertain or distract/redirect a one-year-old!
Watch a Show or Movie
If your one-year-old will sit and watch a show or movie it can be a good way to keep them occupied during a long car ride or flight. Download a preferred show or movie onto an iPad or tablet. This can be one of the best ways to keep your little one entertained while traveling, even if you normally limit screen time at home.
Our toddler watches shows on the TV at home sometimes, but we save the iPad strictly for long road trips and flights so that it seems more special and exciting.
Tips for Keeping Toys Clean On the Go
Here are a few tips for keeping toddler toys clean on the go:
- Pack wipes – great for spills, sticky messes, toys dropped on the dirty floor, etc.
- Bring ziplock bags that you can throw dirty toys in until you have time to clean them
- Use hand sanitizer/wash hands often
- Use toy clips to keep your toddler’s items from falling (or being thrown) in hard-to-reach or dirty places
I hope you got some great ideas from this list of the best baby travel toys and activities for 1-year-olds. Happy travels!