10 play tips for on the go: best toys for the car

by Joost Nusselder | Updated on:  July 26, 2021

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Always something to do for the holidays or rainy day?

Play Choice now has the ultimate activity book collection, with over 60 pages of fun coloring pages and educational puzzles.

If you are planning a road trip by car you can easily get one iPad or bring some other electronic device and headphones so the kids can play games and watch videos.

But most parents also want to bring some travel-friendly, creative games and toys to give kids a break from using electronics.

Best toys for in the car

And it's also smart to have backup entertainment for when the device suddenly stops working properly or the battery runs out.

The best options for portable car toys are those that will keep kids busy, without being too noisy, cluttered, or too big for easy portability.

The best toys for on the road in the car are by far these Wikki Stix creative bundle, certainly for 4 to 6 years (although the manufacturer says from 3 years, but perhaps still a bit too difficult). Gosh, they can be sweet with that for a while :)

But there are of course many more different games to think of.

An added bonus is when the games appeal to children of different ages and can be fun for the whole family, especially important when you have more kids.

Let's take a quick look at the cutest ones, then I'll dig into each of these picks:

Toys for the carImages
Best creative toy for the car: Wikki StixWikki Stix creative car toy
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Overall best game for in the car: Car BingoBingo for the car
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Best for your baby in the car seat: Lamaze Captain CalamariLamaze play octopus for your baby in the car seat
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Best car toys for toddler 2 years: Kenley activity boardBest Car Toys for Toddler 2 Years: Kenley Activity Board
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Best for brother and sister together: Melissa & Doug classic kids games hangman on a tripHangman for the car
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Best car seat organizer: Tsumbay car seat back bag for childrenBest car seat organizer: Tsumbay car seat back bag for kids
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Best Toys In The Car For Toddlers 3 To 5 Years:Crayola Wonder Markers and color blocksCrayola magic markers for the car
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Best toy in the car for ages 4 to 6: Janod MagnetibookJanod crazy faces magnet book
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Best toy in the car for ages 5 to 7: Melissa & Doug Travel Memory GameMelissa and Doug travel memory game
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Best car stickers: Eyelike reusable stickersEyelike reusable car stickers
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Best car resistant puzzle: Hape Magnetic maze BugsBest car resistant puzzle: Hape Magnetic maze Bugs
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Best in-car toys reviewed

Depending on your kids' ages and interests, you may need to pack a few different items to please everyone.

But you're sure to find some fun and stimulating options on this list of the best car toys and games.

Best Creative Car Toy: Wikki Stix

Wikki Stix are bendable canes made of yarn and wax that inspire the imagination. Your children can shape them into flat or 3D creations.

Wikki Stix creative car toy

They are perfect for in-car road trip art because they don't create a mess. No help from parents is required and they are suitable for ages three and up.

Wikki Stix does not contain toxins, latex, gluten or allergens.

Younger children can use them to learn basic shapes, letters and numbers, while older children can be creative and create more intricate designs.

You can do so much with it as shown in this video:

Toy reviews & comparisons

There is a special travel edition of Wikki Stix with enough material for a lot of fun, it contains stix in six different colors.

They are endlessly reusable, it is a compact and easy to carry craft package. When kids are done crafting, you can simply put the Wikki Stix in the resealable package and put it in the seat bag or throw some in your purse.

Check prices and availability here

Overall best car game: Auto Bingo

Kids of all ages love bingo, so these Travel Bingo Cards are perfect if you're looking for a fun, affordable, and travel-friendly game for all the family.

Bingo for the car

The miles fly by as children study the landscape while trying to win a round.

It is a fun game that stimulates interactivity so that you can chat with each other, without the game itself making noise.

When they recognize different items such as a truck, stop sign or letterbox, they simply mark the object on the bingo card.

The first person to get five objects in a row wins. If a child wants to play alone, he can create challenges for himself, such as attempts to fill the entire board.

The set comes with markers and enough bingo cards to use it for a long time.

I did read a review on bol.com that it is also great fun for younger children, for example from the age of 3, but with a little help from the parents (or a very sweet bigger brother). The supplied markers apparently empty very quickly and an extra set of markers is not wrong on a longer trip.

The game has a great mix of city and country items, so this game is perfect for any place your family is traveling by car.

View available bingo sets here

Read also: with these car seats you can safely hit the road

Best for your baby in the car seat: Lamaze Captain Calamari

One of the best car seat toys of all time is the Lamaze Captain Calamari Octopus.

The name says it all, no less than 8 legs, each with its own play activity. He's a squiggly, colorful, 8-legged, patch-work, pirate octopus!

Lamaze play octopus for your baby in the car seat

Very thoughtful from the designers, they gave him a big round ring on his head so that he can be hung wherever you want.

You can use it for in the box, but it is also perfect to play with in the car seat.

Super nice to let it dangle a bit above a baby face. They look at him with admiration.

Only later often do many parents discover that it has a round shiny mirror at its bottom and the children are so impressed by that too :)

What a great idea to put a mirror there!

I found it really catches the attention of babies. What they also really love is discovering all the different textures of the legs.

Also watch this nice video of dream factory:

Captain Calamari has a rattle attached to one of his tentacles, and this is great for babies to grab while playing.

It stimulates hand-eye coordination and rewards them with a beautiful sound.

Calamari also has a nice crisp hat, when baby grabs it, it immediately catches the eye with its funny noise.

Two blue teethers are attached to another of its tentacles.

Perfect for babies who are already teething and when they are having a bad day, Calamari is there to soothe their gums with its textured, bumpy rings.

One aspect of Captain Calamari that I think could be improved is his tentacles.

I think the designers could have experimented a bit more with different materials and textures.

They are beautiful and colorful, with a cute little button on the end, but they all feel the same.

Maybe a nice embossed material or a corduroy tentacle would make this Captain Calamari a little more interesting for babies to play with.

Calamari has an eye patch for one eye (he's a pirate, after all!).

But I would have liked the eye patch to be made of a different material from the rest of his body, and maybe I would have designed it so that it would have been a piece where the baby could lift it up to see Calamari's other eye .

Overall a really great toy and good for a lot of fun playing and exploring.

It is unique, with its striking open look, cute little hook on one of its tentacles and last but not least, the mirror that surprises us all!

Check the latest prices here

Best Car Toys for Toddler 2 Years: Kenley Activity Board

Best Car Toys for Toddler 2 Years: Kenley Activity Board

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Children can learn and develop basic dressing skills while play with this Montessori inspired toddler-busy-board!

It has 9 buckles, straps, buttons to promote hands-on learning and fine motor development.

The soft felt wool board measures 11×12,5 inches (30 x 25.5 x 1.5 cm) and weighs only 129 grams so you can take it anywhere, including in the car or even the plane.

This toy would be an excellent idea for toddlers in the car, as well as toddlers and older children, whose buckle shape is suitable for different levels of difficulty

Check the latest prices and availability here

Best for brother and sister together: Melissa & Doug classic kids games hangman on the road

Go old school with these classic kids' games in magnetic or reusable travel formats.

Siblings can play checkers, hangman and butter cheese and eggs together in the back seat. The whole family can continue the fun once you arrive at the destination.

There are three different games to choose from, so kids can switch games as and when they need to.

There is a checkers game and a butter cheese and eggs game with magnetic pieces that stick to the board. So don't worry about them slipping or getting lost in the car.

Melissa & Doug's hangman game is my favorite and has easy-to-erase markers for lasting fun with the same card:

Hangman for the car

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You can easily enter the small travel variants your child's suitcase or put it in your handbag or backpack and of course also in the back pocket of the car seat.

These games are recommended for ages five and up.

View Hangman's Journey here

Also nice: these are the top 10 coziest family games you can do on location

Best car seat organizer: Tsumbay car seat back bag for kids

Ok, of course not one of the best toy items for in the car, but certainly indispensable for a longer car trip on vacation.

A good car seat storage bag for your toys has enough compartments to store everything, especially when you bring a number of different games like the one above.

Best car seat organizer: Tsumbay car seat back bag for kids

I personally find this car seat storage bag from Tsumbay very practical for the toys, because it has different sized pockets and it is not expensive.

Check out the latest prices here

Best in-car toys for preschoolers 3-5 years old: Crayola Wonder Markers and Color Blocks

Most kids love to be creative with markers, but parents sometimes worry about staining their skin, clothing, and car upholstery fabric.

That's where these Crayola Color Wonder Markers and clutter-free color blocks come in.

Crayola magic markers for the car

The markers only work on the special Color Wonder paper, so you don't have to worry about children smearing the upholstery when they are coloring in the back seat.

The durable storage box doubles as a lap seat, so it's easy for your little ones to color in the car. It's just as easy to put it away again and take the markers and paper to a roadside restaurant when you stop for a break.

Er is here a wide variety of coloring book themes to choose from so kids won't get bored.

Coloring pictures

The coloring pages are always fun to do. I've made a few for the little ones, with big shapes and big pictures, plus a whole bunch with more coloring like the nursery, all in our free activity book collection.

Best toy in the car for ages 4 to 6: Janod Magnetibook

Very handy for those long car journeys. It is a game, book and puzzle in one and works with magnets to hold everything together (more magnetic tips here!).

Janod crazy faces magnet book

Your child can get started with making funny faces, thanks to the Janod magnets on the face to the inside of the book, or your child can take on challenges by trying to copy one of the many playing cards.

Handy to take with you because it is like a kind of briefcase; this means there is less chance of parts getting lost. It has a handy tray and nothing gets lost because of the magnets.

Check prices and availability here

Best toys in the car for ages 5 to 7: Melissa & Doug Travel Memory Game

Known for their creative and well-made toys, Melissa & Doug offers a smart way for kids to play the classic memory game on the go.

Melissa and Doug travel memory game

This sturdy Travel Memory Game is provided with 24 wooden cards, which are attached to the board with stretchy cords. Even when the game is collapsed, the wooden cards will remain stuck.

Children can choose from fourteen different fun themes, slide one of the laminated cards into the board and then flip up the tiles to find pictures.

They can play alone or challenge another. The built-in numbered scoreboard lets them keep track of their matches.

There are no loose pieces and everything is conveniently stored in the board, so this game is perfect for travel.

This set is for sale here

Also nice for in the car: a real working toy camera

Best car stickers: Eyelike reusable stickers

Then fun for on the road, and especially this first set in a car theme: the reusable stickers from Eyelike.

Eyelike reusable car stickers

Stickers are the perfect way for toddlers to express their creativity and develop their imaginations, but removing them afterward is no fun for parents.

Replace regular stickers with these reusable stickers that are the perfect travel toy for toddlers.

Children can put the stickers on different pictures in the book, then remove them and start all over again.

Plus, with 400 stickers, they're unlikely to run out halfway through, even if your toddlers ruin a few.

Check the latest prices here

Most fun car resistant puzzle: HapeMagnetic Maze Bugs

Best car resistant puzzle: Hape Magnetic maze Bugs

For preschoolers with a little more eye-hand coordination, this magnetic puzzle from Hape presents a new challenge: successfully navigating the beads through the maze.

Dragging the pieces with the magnetic rod is a bit more difficult than putting together the average puzzle, but it is much more interesting and it is autoproof. In many other puzzles you lose the pieces between the seats.

This toy makes a great travel companion: it is durable, thanks to its sturdy wooden construction. But it is still light enough, so parents do not have to lug around heavy bags.

Check prices and availability here

Anti boredom tips

I also want to give you other anti-boredom tips for in the car, for different age groups:

Anti bored tips for babies

Fortunately, the little ones sleep a lot, especially in the car. When they are awake they would like to have some play.

They like toys with activities, toys to bite or to rattle with. A play-stuffed animal or a beautiful Miffy rattle is quickly good.

Anti bored tips for toddlers

Toddlers enjoy playing with 'grown-up stuff'. For example with a bag where they can put things in and take out. Booklets are of course also fun for toddlers. A CD with children's songs is also always appreciated.

Some invented games like:

Looking out the window together and naming what you see.

Anti bored tips for preschoolers

Listen CDs are ideal for toddlers! For example from 'Pluk van de Petteflet'. Preschoolers really enjoy coloring and sticker books! 

Preschool children often find a self-made game like seeing how far you can count. For example, do you see the number 1 somewhere? Then quickly search for number 2 etc.

Read also: the nicest outdoor toys in the garden such as cars for the sandbox

Anti bored tips for primary school children

Basic school children want to play independently, they often find writing and drawing a pleasant activity, so it is great to give them a blank notebook in which they can write down their holiday experiences and draw them in.

Made-up games like:

Anti bored tips for teens

Watch a movie on the laptop. Your teen takes the laptop and probably picks out a nice movie. Before you know it, they are already an hour and a half further!

Also an idea to bring your favorite series. Listening to music will also be a favorite activity.

Made-up games like:

How do I keep my family busy on our road trip?

The best ways to stay entertained on your road trip are to play games, listen to audiobooks or podcasts, and also try Car Karaoke (you can even bring a karaoke microphone). . Make a short stop every now and then.

Just because you're traveling in a car doesn't mean you can't have fun on the road.

How are you not bored in the car?

Bring travel board games and card games. Bring your iPod and a gaming device. Take time to look at the scenery. Take a nap or read a book.

How do I entertain my child during a long car journey?

Turn your backseat into a movie theater. Pack a treasure chest in advance, after each stop for example, your child may take something from it. Bring kid-friendly audiobooks and make snacks an activity.

Try Road Trip Bingo, play educational games and schedule pit stops in advance

Traveling with kids can also be a lot of fun!

If you bring the right things you will see that your car journey as a family can be quite relaxed. The point is to come up with crazy games and fun activities for on the road in advance and keep it a bit exciting for the kids.

Check in advance if you have all the games, toys, craft supplies, games and gadgets with you.

Regularly handing out a snack, preferably healthy, and stopping every now and then on the road is also a good help for a pleasant journey.

Lees meer: fun toys for holidays

Always something to do for the holidays or rainy day?

Play Choice now has the ultimate activity book collection, with over 60 pages of fun coloring pages and educational puzzles.

Joost Nusselder, the founder of Speelkeuze.nl is a content marketer, father and loves trying out new toys. As a child, he came into contact with everything around games when his mother started the Tin Soldier in Ede. Since 2016, he and his team have been creating helpful blog articles to help loyal readers with fun play ideas.