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.
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.
I always really enjoy it myself car bingo especially if you have two kids in the back.
It is a fun game that stimulates interactivity so that you can chat with each other, without the game itself making noise.
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:
|Overall best game for in the car: Car Bingo||
|Best for your baby in the car seat: Lamaze Captain Calamari||
|Best creative toy for the car: Wikki Stix||
|Best for brother and sister together: Melissa & Doug classic kids games hangman on a trip||
|Best car seat organizer: Tsumbay car seat back bag for children||
|Best in-car toys for ages 3 to 5: Crayola Wonder Markers and color blocks||
|Best toy in the car for ages 4 to 6: Janod Magnetibook||
|Best toy in the car for ages 5 to 7: Melissa & Doug Travel Memory Game||
|Best car stickers: Eyelike reusable stickers||
|Best car resistant puzzle: Hape Magnetic maze Bugs||
What we discuss in this comprehensive post:
- 1 The most fun car toys reviewed
- 1.1 Overall best car game: Auto Bingo
- 1.2 Best for your baby in the car seat: Lamaze Captain Calamari
- 1.3 Best Creative Car Toy: Wikki Stix
- 1.4 Best for brother and sister together: Melissa & Doug classic kids games hangman on the road
- 1.5 Best car seat organizer: Tsumbay car seat back bag for kids
- 1.6 Best in-car toys for ages 3 to 5: Crayola Wonder Markers and Color Blocks
- 1.7 Best toy in the car for ages 4 to 6: Janod Magnetibook
- 1.8 Best toys in the car for ages 5 to 7: Melissa & Doug Travel Memory Game
- 1.9 Best car stickers: Eyelike reusable stickers
- 1.10 Most fun car resistant puzzle: HapeMagnetic Maze Bugs
- 2 Anti boredom tips
- 3 How do I keep my family busy on our road trip?
The most fun 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.
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.
The miles fly by as children study the landscape while trying to win a round.
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
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!
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 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.
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:
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
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:
You can easily put the small travel variants in suitcases or 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
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.
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 ages 3 to 5: 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.
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.
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 keep everything together.
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.
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.
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
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:
- Whoever sees a red car first; whoever spotted a red car first wins. Did you have the red car? Then continue with a blue car etc.
- I see I see what you don't see. This game is always fun. Choose an object you see and let the other person guess. The object is not intended to be out of sight quickly!
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.
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:
- I'm going on vacation and I'm taking ... Find out who has the best memory!
- Knotting bracelets. Tie a few colored strings to the chair back in front of you and braid or tie nice bracelets. Also fun for teenagers!
- No yes and no no game
- 'Who's it' play. Have a famous person in mind and let someone else guess.
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:
- The radio game, within 10 seconds you have to guess which song it is. Don't you know in 10 seconds? Then the other may guess. If you have guessed correctly, you will of course receive points for it! There are enough radio stations.
- Write an exciting story, or write a story together. Write alternately sentences or pages. Bet unexpected stories will emerge from this!
- Use the time with your teen to catch up and cherish these moments!
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 try Car Karaoke. Make a short stop 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.
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