Travel Toys for Big Kids – Busy Toddler

Travel Toys for Big Kids (Best toys to take on trips): image shows toys for kids

Let’s talk about the best travel toys for big kids. Traveling with big kids is fun and a bit easier than traveling with toddlers (that’s an understatement). But big kids still need entertain on trips, and I’ve found some of the best travel toys for this older age group.

Travel Toys for Big Kids (Best toys to take on trips): image shows toys for kids

What kind of travel toys do big kids need?

Big kids still need a busy bag of goodies to occupy them when they travel. Whether it’s a car ride, airplane, hotel stay, or visit to a relatives house who doesn’t have kids… having a bag of a go-to big kid travel toys can be a real life saver.

When my kids were little, we had a travel kit that stayed in the center console of our car. To be fair, we still use this today at restaurants or in emergency wait-time situations.

But when we travel, we pack a different set of supplies for the kids: Travel toys that can be used by all of them (ages 6 to 9), have minimal mess, little or no noise, and don’t have a bunch of small parts to keep track of.

RELATED: What else do I always pack on vacation? Here’s our list of favorite items for traveling with kids (to make life easier).

The categories of big kid travel toys

To break apart this list into Monica Geller levels of organization, I made three categories of travel toys:

  • Travel games
  • Travel art supplies
  • Travel books and workbooks

You do not need to own everything on my lists. Pick and choose what’s best for your kids. These are things my kids or friend’s of theirs have liked traveling with so I stuck with items we know.

How to pack travel toys for kids

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zipper bags

The bags.

That’s how you travel with toys for big kids. I use The Bags of Internet Fame to carry the items for my kids. I typically pack up one kid-sized backpack with some of the toys in the list below for my kids.

What I can put into The Bags, I do – makes it easy for the kids to find what they need and get to work/play quickly.

Travel games

Busy Toddler is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Read more about these links in my disclosure policy.

Aqua rings

Aqua Rings

Simple and basic – I know – but these hold kid attention spans. I always toss one of these into the car or backpack when we head on a trip. Again, I know they look like nothing, but you’ll have to trust me.

IQ puzzler

IQ Puzzler

Such a great travel puzzle set, and this spans a large age group. From my youngest (age 6) to my oldest (age 40 aka my husband), this is a perfect travel toy for kids who like logic puzzles.

Car bingo

Car BINGO

Did you have these as a kid? I did, and I was giddy when I found them for my kids. These live in our car on regular days, and the kids have played with them for six months now. On road trips, they especially come in handy.

Travel Simon

Travel Simon

We haven’t taken a trip without this toy since 2019. It’s so good. It’s also different than traditional Simon and not nearly as daunting. It also can be used with more than one player – the group play side is spectacular with big kid siblings.

Spot it

Spot It!

An absolute GOAT. This is a must on vacation – and can be played by little kids, big kids, and parents. It’s a simple family game to bring with on travel.

Dog Pile

Dog Pile

Another great single player logic puzzle game – challenging, quiet, and engaging. This is definitely for big kids (think 8+ to be independent), and bonus: it comes with little dog pieces that are great for play.

Yahtzee electronic game

Handheld Yahtzee

Regular Yahtzee is great, but handheld travel Yahtzee is a fantastic travel toy for big kids. This solo player game is perfect in a car, on a plane, or quietly at a family event where they need a break from all the fuss.

Guess in 10 - game for kids

Guess In 10

Wow – do we love this game! Think 21 questions for kids, but with some guidance so they’re able to answer questions correctly and keep the game flowing. This is fun in a car and a hotel room.

RELATED: Need more recommendations of games for big kids? Check out my list!

Travel Art Supplies

Busy Toddler is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Read more about these links in my disclosure policy.

Travel watercolor kit

Travel Watercolor

I got my daughter (7) this travel watercolor set on the recommendation of an 11-year-old (who, ironically, had brought it on vacation). It’s been an absolute joy to have this and allows my daughter create art while traveling.

Turquoise doodle board

Doodle Board

This LCD monochrome doodle board (say that 10x fast) gives kids a mess free space to create – and without the limits of paper. Kids gravitate to this – it’s just awesome.

Wikki stix

Wikki Stix

These are the coolest. Waxy sticks for kids to mold with make for an awesome car ride, plane ride, and quiet activity while on a trip.

Paint by Stickers KIDS

Paint by Stickers

Bless these mosaic sticker books and how my quiet, independent, and focused time they’ve given my kids. I can’t sing their praises enough. We take a book of these on every trip (there’s so many styles and even holiday packs).

Mandala Coloring Book

Mandala Coloring Book

My kids LOVE this book. They color the pictures together. It takes time. Hours to finish a mandala. When we pack this book, I also pack up short sized colored pencils that fit great into one of The Bags.

3 mini sketch pad

Mini Sketch Pad

We don’t go anywhere without mini sketch pads. These are the perfect size for travel, and kids love the “book” aspect of them with the binding. It’s an easy place to hold and showcase their art.

Brilliant beeswax crayons

Triangle Shaped Crayons

Love these beeswax crayons – they’re our favorite brand – but these have a fun travel twist: they’re triangular. They won’t roll as easily has traditional-shaped crayons, which is perfect for trains, planes, and automobiles.

RELATED: We love unique art supplies – and especially gifting them. If you’re looking for more awesome art supplies, check out my list.

Travel Books and Workbooks

Busy Toddler is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Read more about these links in my disclosure policy.

Weird but True

Weird but True!

My kids’ favorites. We have so many from this series. These are simple to look through, small in size, and great conversation/thought provoking information for kids. We keep these in the car for day to day driving, but also pack them up for travel.

Kids kindle

Kids Kindle

This is obviously an outlier on this list by price alone. But. There is not better travel toy for big kids that I bought this year than the Kids Kindle. This is NOT tablet. It doesn’t play games. It’s just like an adult Kindle. This has allowed my kids to bring books with them when we travel in a way they weren’t able to before with physical books.

Totally awesome mazes and puzzles

Totally Awesome Mazes and Puzzles

A workbook… I know! How “unBusy Toddler” of me. But hey, who doesn’t love a maze, a word search, puzzle, etc? My kids adore this book.

4 Highlights magazines

Highlights Magazines

We love the Highlights magazines over here. These are fantastic for travel and don’t take up any more space than a traditional magazine. The 4-pack is getting a lot of mileage here.

Silly Jokes for Kids

The Big Book of Silly Jokes for Kids

My kids have loved this book since we got it in 2019. Big kids who can read share it with little kids or just enjoy the jokes themselves (and share to audience members later). Either way, it’s a fun one to own and take with for travel.

Ultimate Puzzle Challenge!

Ultimate Puzzle Challenge

I know – another workbook, and it’s another puzzle book, and it’s another Highlights book. I couldn’t keep it off the list, not when my kids enjoy this big book so much on travel.

RELATED: Interested in more cool books for kids? I have the best list of books for kids (that make great gifts).

Frequently Asked Questions

How many travel toys should you take?

That depends: depends on time you’ll be traveling, stuck in a hotel, sitting at dinners or homes of relatives, and number of kids. These kinds of factors contribute. I like to strike a good balance – 2 to 3 items from each of the above categories seems like the right number for my three kids.

Can you bring too many travel toys?

Yes! I think there is a limit. Make sure kids can both find what they need and can build relationships with the objects you bring. This helps hold their attention better.

What about screens?

Absolutely! Use screens as needed. For our family, we bring our Nintendo Switch on plane rides, but we only have 1. So the kids have to rotate. We also don’t have 3 tablets – it wasn’t in the budget when my kids were young so it’s not something we have to offer. We do have one iPad that they can share to watch movies with.

Susie Allison, M. Ed

Owner, Creator

Susie Allison is the creator of Busy Toddler and has more than 1.9 million followers on Instagram. A former teacher and early childhood education advocate, Susie’s parenting book “Busy Toddler’s Guide to Actual Parenting” is available on Amazon.



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