Holiday travel is stressful enough, but add kids to the mix and it's a whole other ballgame. Not only do you have to make sure they're packed and ready, but if you're flying, you have to rush to the airport and make it through security — and all the way to your gate — on time. And that's before you even get to the traveling part! (Not that driving is easier, with the multiple bathroom stops and backseat sibling battles.) Once you're finally on your way, the last thing you want to deal with is a bored, cranky kid (or kids) fussing and complaining nonstop. So whether you're going on a road trip or taking to the skies, you need some cool toys to keep your kids busy during holiday travel.
Don't feel like giving your kid an iPad or tablet to stare at for hours? These 15 products under $15 are quiet, screen-free ways to keep your kids entertained while traveling. Not that there's anything wrong with screens necessarily, but if you wanted to go for something more interactive (or if you have really young children), these toys are great alternatives. Plus, you don't want to risk the chance of breaking or losing the electronics when you're away from home.
There's something on this list for kids of practically all ages, from babies on up. From stickers and puzzles to coloring and activity books to finger puppets and more, these products could be your ticket to friendlier skies and smoother roads ahead. They may be inexpensive, but on a different level, they could be absolutely priceless.
1. Magnetic Board
This travel-sized magnetic board is fun and educational, as well as versatile. There are magnets for putting together pictures and creating stories, a dry-erase marker for writing, drawing, or word games, and if you flip it over, there's a chalk board. Seems like a steal at $14.
2. Cinco Linko
A "super-simple five-in-a-row tile game," Cinco Linko is so portable, you can even clip it on to your bag. Even better? It's easy to learn but tricky to master, which means your kids won't be at risk of getting frustrated or bored. Pick one up at Walmart for $10 or order on Amazon (also available at many local game shops). Ages 8 and up.
3. Window Stickers
4. Plus-Plus BIG Basic Mix Tube
5. Finger Puppets
6. Reusable Sticker Pad
7. Activity Books
8. Stickers For Them (And You)
This huge sticker pack has animals, smiley faces, stars, cars, food, letters, and more. They can stick these on construction paper, themselves, and of course they'll decorate you, too. Only worry with these is if you look away for one second, you know the airplane seat will be covered.
9. Thomas & Friends Minis
10. Abacus Toy
For working on hand-eye coordination with the youngest crowd and counting/patterns with the older crowd, the abacus toys are pretty versatile. Even my 6-month-old loves moving the pieces all over the place. Plus, it's quiet and compact, perfect for traveling and keeping hands busy during flights or car trips.
11. Wooden Peg Puzzle (Add Velcro)
Puzzles are a great, quiet way to pass the time during holiday travel. And if you're worried about losing the pieces on the airplane, just stick some little velcro dots from the store on the pieces so they'll stick to the board.
12. Mess-Free Coloring & Activity Set
This set is basically the be all and end all of kids' travel entertainment. A compact case filled with markers, stamps, coloring sheets, stamp sheets, and sticker sheets will keep little ones busy forever, and best of all? It's no mess. Your kids won't be able to draw on the seats of the car or plane since the colors only show up in the special booklet. (Reviews from parents of 2 year olds are glowing, for what it's worth.)
13. Jet Plane Picture Book
14. Spike The Fine Motor Hedgehog
15. Pipe Cleaners
Your kid can use their imagination and create all sorts of things with this quiet toy. Probably better suited for the slightly younger set, this is a good toy for fine motor skills and imagination building. They can make jewelry, animals, shapes, swords, you name it. It's not flashy and doesn't make noise (good for you if you're driving, or other passengers on a plane).
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