Top Travel Toys for a 3 Year Old

Traveling on a plane with a 3 year old

If you are going on a long haul flight with children, or even a short one, then you 're going to want to have a few tricks and toys to keep them entertained. Little travel toys that you can pack in your hand luggage are perfect for the plane, train or even just car journeys. Plus they are good fun to play with when you get there as well so its worth bring travel toys for 3 year olds.

Why pack toys for the plane?

Downloading games and their favourite programmes to your phone or a tablet are a great way to entertain a 3-year-old on a flight. However, you will probably want a few toys in your bag as well.

For starters the battery may die in which case you need a backup plan, and, depending on the length of the flight and the time of day you 'll probably want them to sleep and screen time disrupts the production of melatonin making this much harder.

When choosing toys for travel you want to weigh up how much space they are going to take up in your luggage vs how much entertainment time they 'll provide. It 's also worth thinking about how likely they are to end up on the floor and rolling under other peoples seats.

Any small toys that you know are favourites are a good shout but it is worth considering your fellow passengers. For example, a kazoo or harmonica might be perfect for a long car journey but not so great for a plane or train ride.

Here are some of our top picks for travelling with a 3-year-old:

  • BigJigs runway tape. What better treat for the plane than a little toy plane. Big Jigs reusable transport tapes are low tac so they can be used pretty much anywhere and should keep your little one amused as they create a runway for their very own plane. There are also train and car sets available.
  • A spinning top. This can provide a surprising amount of fun for such a tiny item. Just don 't get it out while the seat belt signs are on as they are quite likely to spin off the little table.
  • Noughts and crosses is a classic game that most toddlers can just about figure out and is great for travel. We love the magnetic pirate and cat and mouse versions from Small Foot.
  • Small cars trains for other vehicles are always good to have in your bag if your little ones are into that.
  • Tegu blocks are perfect for travel as they are magnetic and so spend slightly less time on the floor.
  • Lacing cards can be fun for a plane as they require concentration and can be really absorbing for little minds. Cards are better than beads as they don 't have the same fondness for rolling away.
  • A card game. This could be a regular pack of cards or a special family-friendly card game. A standard deck can provide some entertainment for the grownups as well.
  • Their favourite cuddly toy.
  • Colouring supplies.

Other tips and tricks for a peaceful journey

As well as toys there are a few other things you can pack to keep your little travel companions happy:

  • Having a few books as well as toys is always a good idea. And you could even get them a magazine at the airport.
  • A tablet if you have one or a few games and a favourite program downloaded on your phone.
  • Pack plenty of snacks. Having a few treats on hand is always a good distraction technique and you never know when you might get held up somewhere. Lollipops can be good to help avoid ears popping at takeoff and landing, and lots of little snacks that can be given out over a long period of time might be better than a big meal.
  • If you know a favourite toy will keep them busy then that 's a great option. But having a few new toys, or toys you reserve just for travel can also be a good idea. It adds a bit of excitement.

Next up: Activities to do with 3-year-olds?

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