A guide of all our favorite toys, car necessities and travel accessories to survive a road trip with young kids.
After my son phased out of the airline lap child parameters, we decided to focus on road trips as a family. Now that we have a few big road trips under our belt, including one to Canada!, I wanted to share our favorite car toys for toddlers and preschoolers, car necessities, and travel accessories.
Disclosure: One Little Small is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program. The links in this post are affiliate links, meaning if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a small commission. I selected the products in this guide because of their quality and not because of the commission I receive from your purchases. The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you.
Road Trip Toys
Car Toys for Toddlers
To keep a 2 year old entertained during a long car ride, it’s best to find a few toys that they can use on their own with minimal help or supervision. This list includes the toys we purchased for our big family road trip to Canada when my son was 25 months old. These toys are toddler and road trip approved in our family!
Melissa & Doug On the Go Water Wow! Pads
The Water Wow! reusable pads by Melissa & Doug are awesome for toddlers and preschoolers. Even a 2 year old can do this activity with minimal supervision. There’s a huge selection of pads, but it’s best to get a pack. That makes it easier to rotate the pads while waiting for them to dry out to be “painted” again.
Fat Brain Toys Original Dimpl Toy
This classic bubble sensory toy is great for the youngest kids and older. The Dimpl toy by Fat Brain Toys is labeled as a baby toy, but older kids love it too.
Curious George Learn to Dress Stuffed Animal
This stuffed animal is full of buckles, zippers, buttons and all things toddlers love to play with. It’s also the perfect distraction from messing with the car seat. Plus, it’s super cute to cuddle with for a nice road trip nap (let’s hope!).
Melissa & Doug Poke-a-Dot Book
This poke-a-dot book is akin to a bubble sensory popper toy but in book form. It’s fun, engaging, and can keep your toddler occupied for more than 30 seconds.
Dear Zoo: A Lift-the-Flap Book
Lift-the-Flap books are an engaging way for a toddler to enjoy a book on their own. Dear Zoo is one of my son’s favorite lift-the-flap books. It has a great little story, too!
What’s in My Train? Lift-the-Flap Board Book
What’s in My Train? is another great lift-the-flap book with over 30 flaps to keep your toddler “reading” until the next pit stop.
Car Toys for Preschoolers
Now that my son is a bit older, we added a few new toys into the mix for our upcoming road trip.
Cra-Z-Art Retro Magna Doodle Magnetic Drawing Board
This classic toy is just as much fun now as it was when we were kids. And it’s a nice change from other drawing options.
BunMo Pop Tubes Sensory Toys
This sensory toy comes highly recommended from other moms. I’m excited to try them out during this trip, and love how they come in fun colors.
Melissa & Doug Magnetic Wand Number Maze
I originally purchased this Melissa & Doug Magnetic Wand Maze when my son was a toddler, but it’s much more appropriate for a preschooler. Now that he is almost 4, he really enjoys this toy.
Magnetic Travel Easel
I love this little travel easel for my 4 1/2 year old because there are two sides to draw on, plus a lot of magnets to use to create stories. And it fits perfectly on his lap in the car.
Fat Brain Toys Mini Squigz
We just picked up some Mini Squigz for our next road trip. They’re small and portable. Perfect for the car – or throw a few in your bag when going out to eat.
Here are some of my favorite tools and organizers to help those long car rides with the littles go more smoothly.
Foldable Trunk Storage Organizer
Foldable Trunk Storage Organizer
This foldable trunk storage organizer is perfect for toys and car snacks if you have a large space between or next to your kids. This organizer is great because it collapses flat or can be used in half-mode if you have a tight squeeze. We use a very similar organizer for our road trips.
Car Seat Organizer for Front or Backseat
This organizer from Lusso Gear is specifically designed to sit on the front or backseat. It has a ton of pockets to keep all your snacks, wipes and toys in their designated spots.
Grabber Reacher Tool
Kids ever drop something super important while you drive down the highway with no where to pull over for miles? Get yourself a grabber reacher tool. This top-of-the-line model is retractable and has a rotating jaw, but any any grabber tool will save your sanity during long drives.
Portable Potty for Toddler Kids
It’s great having a kiddo who is fiiiiinally potty trained – until you have to go, and there is no where to go. Insert portable potty. This one folds down, comes with its own storage bag, and doubles as a training seat.
Stasher Reusable Silicone Bags
My all time favorite reusable bags from Stasher are a must on every road trip. They can hold everything from snacks to crayons to everything in between. Plus, they come in every size and color!
Here are my newest favorite travel accessories for road trips.
Bagail 6 Set Packing Cubes
Packing cubes help keep everyone’s clothing organized and together – a must when shoving the whole family’s clothes in one suitcase. For our next trip, I am using packing cubes to pack our jammies and clothes for the next day during our overnight stop.
Amazon Basics Portable Blackout Curtain
While you can’t replicate your kids’ bedrooms while on vacation, this portable blackout curtain with suction cups from Amazon Basics can help create a sleeping space that’s nice and dark.
I hope this guide helps you find some new toys, organizers and travel products to make a long road trip with little kids a bit more enjoyable!
Updated May 15, 2022