Travel Toys for 1 Year Old: Your Ultimate Guide for 2024

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Stressing over the endless ‘Are we there yet?’ on your next trip with your toddler? The right toys can transform travel for you and your little adventurer.

I’ve been there, with my boys when they were this age, always on the move and exploring everything.

This post is all about finding simple toys that will keep those busy little hands and curious minds engaged.

We’re talking about fun, travel-friendly toys that will ensure a smoother, tantrum-free travel experience.

Wondering how to keep your one-year-old happy on a long flight or road trip? The right toys can transform travel for you and your toddler.

A Quick Peek to Perfect Travel Toys for 1 Year Old:


What Makes a Great Travel Toy for 1 Year Old?


Traveling with little ones can test a parent’s patience, right?

Navigating airports, long car rides, and waiting out delays can be quite a challenge. But don’t worry, I’ve got you covered!

Let me tell you about the perfect travel toy to save you from stressful journeys with your 1-year-old.

When it comes to traveling, not just any toy will work. So, what makes a toy genuinely perfect for your tiny traveler? Let’s find out together!

Portability: Easy to Pack and Carry

When you’re packing for a trip, every inch of space counts. Look for compact toys that can easily fit in your travel bag.

They should be squishable, foldable, or slip into the side pockets of your diaper bag or luggage without any hassle.

The idea is to bring toys that offer maximum entertainment without wasting unnecessary space.

Lightweight: Ensures Portability

When you’re juggling a toddler, their gear, and your own belongings, even the tiniest bit of extra weight can feel like a ton.

That’s why it’s super important to choose lightweight toys. 

Quiet: Avoids Disturbing Others During Travel

The last thing you want is to be *that* family on the plane with the noisy toys. So, here’s a friendly tip: go for toys that entertain quietly. This way, you can preserve the peace for fellow passengers.

Toys that encourage silent engagement, like soft books or plush toys with different textures, are ideal.

Multi-Purpose: Offers Various Ways to Engage

Toys that serve multiple purposes are an absolute lifesaver! They save space and keep your little kids engaged for longer periods.

For instance, a colorful scarf can become an exciting peek-a-boo game, a teether can double as a puzzle, and a small, soft doll can be used for imaginative play.

A father sits with his young children on an airplane, one of whom is a 1-year-old playing with a travel toy, while the other child is wearing headphones and looking at a bag. This candid moment captures the essence of traveling with small children, highlighting the need for engaging travel toys for a 1-year-old to ensure a smoother journey. Pin

Mess-Free: Keeps Clean-Up to a Minimum

Regarding travel, minimizing mess is the key to reducing stress. Opt for toys that won’t scatter, spill, or leave marks.

Think of machine-washable toys or silicone-based ones that can be easily wiped down without leaving a trace behind.

Charge-Free: Doesn’t Require Electricity or Batteries

For a 1-year old, skip the electric toys. Opt for purely mechanical or imaginative toys. There’s no need to worry about charging or spare batteries; they’re always ready for play, anytime and anywhere!

So, you’ve got the lowdown on what makes a great travel toy for your little one’s adventures! Here’s a list of top-notch travel toys tailored for your 1-year-old:

Great Options for Travel Toys for 1-Year-Olds


Busy Cube

The Busy Cube is super compact and perfect for travel. These fidget toys keep small children engaged with activities that help develop their fine motor skills.

The best part? It’s got these satisfying clicks and smooth movements that make it so enjoyable to play with!

Now, I have to be honest with you. It might not be the best choice for a plane ride because it can get a little bit noisy. But it’s perfect for a car trip.

It’s small, educational, and keeps your kiddo entertained.

Busy Board

This awesome toy is designed with zippers, buttons, and latches to engage those little minds.

When picking one out, choose a compact, lightweight option that offers many activities. 

We have this toddler backpack that can hold a change of clothes, a couple of diapers, a new pack of wipes, and various little toys. The entire bag is made of soft fabric that is easy to clean. My one-year-old enjoys opening and closing the bag and playing with it. It’s been a huge hit!

A colorful toddler's activity backpack with a vibrant yellow flap and various interactive elements such as a zipper, buttons, buckles, and laces, designed to enhance fine motor skills. This backpack is a suitable travel toy for a 1-year-old, providing entertainment and learning on the go. Pin

It’s an excellent way for them to develop fine motor skills, making it a versatile option that can grow with your toddler.

Buckle Toy

The Buckle Toy, especially the Buster Square model, is a must-have for traveling.

With different shapes, sizes, and colors, there’s a model that will capture every toddler’s interest.

You’ll love how compact and easily it attaches to bags or strollers, making it the perfect travel companion that won’t get lost.

Stacking or Nesting Cups

The mushie Stacking CupsToy is a great option for stacking and nesting cups.

It’s all about simplicity, making it the perfect choice to boost little kids’ problem-solving skills.

The bottom of some cups has these super nice shapes that get your little one’s attention.

A stack of colorful, graduated size silicone cups in pastel shades of pink, peach, cream, green, blue, and gray, designed as travel toys for a 1-year-old. These cups are showcased on a wooden floor with a blurred background featuring a playful animal-themed board and assorted toys, suggesting a child-friendly play area. Pin

We like their versatility, as they can be used as beach toys or during bath time. This adds to their functionality and makes them suitable for various purposes.

They are designed to nestle inside one another, making them compact and convenient for all your journeys. 

Alternatively, you can take a few and leave the rest at home.

Shape Sorter

Let me tell you about the Melissa & Doug Take-Along Shape Sorter. It’s such a handy toy for little ones to learn about shapes and practice hand-eye coordination.

The best part is, it’s designed to be travel-friendly! With a carry handle and a convenient travel bag, it’s perfect for all your on-the-go adventures.

The shapes are just the right size for small hands and are completely safe for mouthing. Plus, the sensory flaps on the back add an extra level of engagement that your kid will love.

Whether going on a car ride or hopping on a plane, this shape sorter is a great option. Check it out here: Melissa & Doug Take-Along Shape Sorter

Sensory Pop-It Toy

The Original Dimpl by Fat Brain Toys offers simple, engaging fun with vibrant colors and satisfying pop.

Lightweight and portable, it’s perfect for flight distractions, providing sensory stimulation and fine motor practice for little travelers.

A multi-colored silicone fidget toy, featuring bright green, pink, blue, orange, and yellow bubbles, designed as a travel toy for a 1-year-old. The toy is set against a black background, highlighting its vivid colors and tactile appeal, perfect for keeping little hands busy and minds engaged during travel. Pin

As your little one grows, their play evolves! Check out our guide to the best toys for 2-year-olds to keep them learning and entertained.

Spike The Fine Motor Hedgehog

The Spike The Fine Motor Hedgehog is a super fun toy that will entertain your little one and help develop fine motor skills and color recognition.

Its chunky, peg-shaped quills are perfect for those little hands to grasp and explore different textures.

The quills snugly fit inside the hedgehog’s shell, making it compact and travel-friendly.

Colorful and engaging hedgehog-shaped toy with pegs in bright red, green, orange, and purple, designed as a travel toy for a 1-year-old. The toy's pegs can be inserted into the holes on the hedgehog's back, making it perfect for developing fine motor skills and providing entertainment during travel, set against a black background to highlight its vivid colors and playful design. Pin

Just make sure you don’t leave any peg behind. We have already lost one!

Suction Cup Spinner Toys

Suction Cup Spinner Toys offer engaging spinning action and have a sturdy suction mechanism ideal for keeping babies entertained during airplane rides or in busy restaurants.

While it may not stick to airplane trays, this fidget spinner has a thick, durable build that allows it to attach firmly to airplane windows.

It has excellent suction power, ensuring they stay in place while your little one has a blast.

An array of colorful suction cup builder toys scattered on a wooden surface, a tactile and creative choice among the best airplane toys for a 2-year-old, designed to stimulate problem-solving and fine motor skills during travel. Pin

Interactive Books

Interactive Books like Melissa & Doug K’s Kids My First Activity Book can be a game changer for keeping your child entertained and learning during long car rides.

Each page offers a new theme and activity, from delightful puppet play to educational content that teaches time.

Plus, there’s even a zipper for fine motor practice, and they’re machine washable for easy cleanup. As a seasoned travel parent, I highly recommend them for little ones to engage and learn while on the move.

Montessori Quiet Book for Toddlers

The deMoca Quiet Book Montessori Toys are amazing for promoting cognitive development through quiet play.

They’re soft and super easy to carry, perfect for on the go, whether it’s a long road trip, an airplane ride, or a restaurant visit.

And guess what? They even come with a washing zipper bag for easy cleaning!

This book has different activities to enhance your little one’s fine motor skills, from recognizing shapes and colors to buttoning, shoe tying, zipping, buckling, and even snapping.

So why wait? Grab one for your toddler today and make their playtime fun and educational, no matter where you are!

Books

Have you heard about Indestructible Books? They’re seriously impressive for young children. These books are built to withstand anything! even being chewed on or getting wet. 

And the best part? They’re safe and easy to take with you wherever you go.

With bright pictures and just a few words, they’re perfect for starting conversations and reading together. Plus, they’re safe for babies and meet all safety standards.

So, if you’re looking for books that can handle the rough and tumble of little hands, check out Indestructible Books.

An engaging collection of the best airplane toys for a 2-year-old, featuring a 'Water Wow!' coloring book with its water pen, wooden toy airplanes, and colorful peg game, all artistically arranged on a wooden surface with a Nickelodeon activity book in the background. Pin

Toddler Flash Cards

LearnWorx 101 Baby Flash Cards

The LearnWorx 101 Baby Flash Cards are perfect for teaching young kids words, objects, and concepts. 

These cards are big enough for kids to see easily, with bright colors and clear pictures that make learning so much fun.

They proudly advertise their flashcards as the thickest ones available,  so they’ll last longer, even with all the toddler excitement. Plus, you can easily clean them with a damp cloth.

They have safe, rounded corners and are made from totally safe materials. You can use them anywhere, worry-free.

Mudpuppy Baby’s First Words Flash Cards 

The Mudpuppy Baby’s First Words Flash Cards are another fantastic choice for toddlers, especially for on-the-go learning.

These cards come with a removable ring, which makes them perfect for travel and car activities. They are adorable and just the right size for little hands.

Made from durable cardboard material, they can withstand lots of playtime. However, if your little one loves to explore with their mouth, a plastic or laminated option would be even better.

Finger Puppets

I love Finger puppets! They’re such a great choice for sparking creativity and storytelling. You can use them in quiet places like churches or restaurants to keep kids engaged.

Plus, they’re the perfect size for little hands and offer a soft and fun way to capture their attention.

However, it’s worth mentioning that the quality of sewing can vary. Some puppets are well-made, while others may be a bit uneven. But overall, they’re a fantastic tool to encourage active imagination.

Magnetic Wood Block Travel Set

The Magnetic Wood Block Travel Set is perfect for travel and dining out. It’s compact, easy to carry, and has just the right amount of blocks.

While it may have a higher price point, the durability and long-term usability of these magnetic blocks make it a worthwhile investment. Plus, the included pouch adds convenience for your on-the-go adventures!

A set of wooden, geometrically-shaped blocks in vibrant colors, paired with a gray felt carrying case, serves as an ideal travel toy for a 1-year-old. The stack of blocks features natural wood and shades of blue, pink, yellow, and green, promoting sensory and motor skill development for young children on the go, presented against a transparent background. Pin

Chunky Crayons

If you’re looking for crayons that are perfect for little artists, check out the Honeysticks Jumbo Size Crayons.

These bad boys are not only large, but they also make it super easy for small hands to hold and control.

Their chunky design ensures a comfortable grip, which is great for promoting creativity and developing fine motor skills through fun and play. You can find them here.

Other Ways to Entertain Young Toddlers On the Go


Give Them Random Objects

Who knew the solution to keep our little ones happy on a trip could be as simple as handing them keys or a colorful bracelet?

Yep, sometimes the best toys are the ones that aren’t toys at all! 

Our babies are naturally curious, and it’s amazing how everyday items can become great toys.

They can shake, rattle, and roll into a world of sensory fun and imaginative play. 

Just remember, keeping an eye on them is key to ensure they’re safe and sound. 

Snack Time with On-the-Go Snack Ideas

Snack time can be your best trick for a happy journey! On-the-go snacks are essential for maintaining your toddler’s mood and energy.

They can help manage hunger between meals and serve as a great distraction during waits or delays. 

Ideas for on-the-go snacks:

  • Fruits: The best fruits you can take with you are the ones your kids love eating daily! It can be bananas, apple wedges, or grapes. Cut them properly and store them in a sealed container before heading out.
  • Cheese Sticks: A good source of calcium and protein.
  • Rice Cakes: Light and easy for little hands to hold, they can be topped with various spreads to keep things interesting.
  • Pouches: Fruit or vegetable puree pouches are convenient, mess-free, and come in various flavors.
  • Small Box of Raisins: Perfect for fine motor practice as they pick them out one by one.
  • Whole Grain Crackers: Offer a satisfying crunch and are filling.
  • Boiled Eggs: Packed with protein, they’re a hearty snack option.
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Choose a couple of snacks to take with you, and remember to pack easy-open containers and spill-proof drink cups that can save you much cleanup time. 

Final Considerations When Choosing Travel Toys


How Many Toys Should I Bring with Me?

When it comes to deciding how many toys to bring on your travels, it really depends on the length of your trip and the activities you’ll be doing.
A good rule of thumb is to pack a small selection of versatile toys that can keep your child engaged in different ways without taking up too much space in your travel bag.
Usually, three to five toys you can rotate will do the trick and keep your toddler interested throughout the trip.

What Are Some Travel-Friendly Storage Solutions for These Toys?

Keeping travel toys organized and easily accessible is key to a smooth journey.
You can assemble a hanging toiletry bag with activities and toys. Its hanging makes it incredibly convenient to grab and zip up once the kids are finished playing.
We use drawstring bags attached to our backpacks, one for each child. It’s super convenient and makes everything easily accessible. 
We like to keep the toys to a manageable amount, just enough to fit inside the bag!

Do I Need to Bring New Toys?

Adding a new toy or two can be a smart move, especially for longer trips or possible delays. It’s a great way to keep things fresh and make travel time extra special.
I recommend mixing some familiar favorites with one or two new items for variety. Sometimes, familiar toys can bring comfort and a sense of security in new surroundings.

If you’re traveling with your baby, here are some posts that you should check out as well:

TRAVEL RESOURCES

✈️ Buy flight tickets in advance

Always buy flight tickets in advance! The place to find the best prices for flight tickets is Skyscanner.com

🏠 Book your accommodation

Booking.com is easy to use and has many options and filters you can use to book in advance and check availability.

🚙 Renting a Car

I recommend Discover Cars because they always have the best rates and great customer service.

🎡 Plan tours and activities

Viator is an excellent place to start looking for activities. They provide a huge selection and great prices.

Photo of author

Astrid Chacon

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