Best Toys to Keep Your 3-Year-Old Entertained On a Trip (Plane, Road Trip, or Hotel!)
Keep your three year old entertained and also keep your sanity by bringing along the best travel toys for 3-year-olds. I have traveled extensively with my two children since they were babies and my youngest is currently age three.
After a recent road trip and trip to Hawaii, I wanted to share the toys that I have found best entertain kids at this age while traveling. I’ve broken it down by my top three favorite toys for any type of travel and then my favorites specifically for road trips, flights, or hotel stays.
My Top 3 Travel Toy Picks for a 3-Year-Old
Here are my must-bring toys for any type of travel with a 3-year-old. These toys are easy to pack and can provide hours of entertainment.
Water Wow Activity Pads
We rarely leave on a trip without packing a couple of these Water Wow books for my children. The Water Wow books are fun, mess-free, and so easy to use — you just need a water bottle to fill up the little “pen.”
Some books have educational activities like letter tracing or connecting the dots, while others are coloring pages that come to life as your little one moves the pen back and forth. Best of all, once the pages dry, the color fades and the pages can be used again and again.
Princess / Superhero / Favorite Character Toys
My 3-year-old asked me the other day if she could be a princess when she grew up (of course I said she was already a princess in my books!) and this age sure does seem to love pretending to be a princess or superhero. From playing with action figures and dolls or dressing up as their favorite character, it can provide oodles of imaginative play and entertainment.
My favorite type of toys relating to favorite characters to bring along on a trip are ones that are small enough to travel well and can readily entertain a busy and bouncy three year old on a plane, car, train, or in accommodations.
My 3-year-old (and her older sister) are obsessed with Enchantimals dolls. Even I think they’re pretty darn cute. Enchantimals come with an animal-inspired doll and the doll’s animal “bestie.” Together, they can perform magic to help friends and nature. Yes, we play with these a lot. 😉 There’s also an accompanying show on Amazon Prime.
Little People also has great character toys perfect for little hands while traveling. I especially love the Frozen Little People toys and DC Comics Superheroes Little People with Cars.
Fancy Crayons and Paper
Don’t underestimate the power of a coloring book and crayons! Crayons are much more likely to be mess-free compared to markers or a pen, and they come in lots of exciting forms. For trips, I like to get a new set of crayons in a metallic or glitter or other fun design along with an easy-to-pack drawing pad like this one or a new coloring book.
For road trips or if your three-year-old isn’t big enough to reach the plane tray yet, get him or her this travel desk to color on.
Best 3-Year-Old Toys for the Plane
Keep your antsy three year old quiet and engaged while flying with these top toys for plane travel.
Playmobil 1.2.3 Playsets
I love the Playmobil line of toys and my kids do, too. While the regular line might have too many little pieces for 3-year-olds, Playmobil’s 1.2.3 line is great for younger kids and the pieces travel well. I tend to think of them as the next step after Fisher-Price’s Little People toys that I mentioned in my article on the travel toys for 2-year-olds.
I especially love Playmobil 1.2.3 airport shuttle playset and this fun plane and passenger playset for bringing on the plane since kids can roll it around the terminal while waiting to board or play with the luggage and people on the seat tray.
Horse and Rider Figure
There’s something about horses at this age. Three year olds love the majestic power and beauty of horses, making a toy horse a fun accessory to play with on the plane. They can gallop the horse up and down the arm rests and over the seat tray.
Pick a toy horse that comes with a rider for even more interactive fun. Or one that comes with a mom and baby horse like this sweet set. My daughters especially love the Spirit Untamed toy line for girls. While my nephews and other boys might prefer the more rugged cowboy aspect of the Schleich line of horse toys.
These adorable mini surprise boxes from Spirit Untamed also look like a fun addition to a trip!
Best Toys on a Road Trip with a 3-Year-Old
Road trips can be hard with a three year old since they usually want to be moving and exploring, not stuck in a carseat for hours on end. Here are some of the best toys to keep age three children entertained.
Montessori Busy Book
This is such a great toy to keep 3-year-olds busy in their carseat. This age loves figuring things out and this book will teach them how to do so many sensory activities while keeping them entertained! This book is a Montessori-style toy and it has nine different activities that focus on fine motor skills like matching Velcro colored shapes, practicing buckling and tying, telling time, and other interactive activities for toddlers.
Wikki Stix Travel Pack
I first discovered Wikki Stix when they were given to my toddler at a restaurant instead of the usual crayon and paper and I’ve been a fan ever since. Wikki Stix are so cool and they are ideal for road trips since they are easy to hold and maneuver. My kids especially like using them to make eyeglasses. This Wikki Stix playset has a convenient, bright red carrying case for imaginative play during travel and even includes ideas of what to make with the Wikki Stix.
Best Hotel Toys for 3-Year-Olds
After a long day of traveling or exploring, the last thing you want to do is try to relax in your hotel room or vacation rental and have little kids jumping all over you. Here are my favorite toys to stick in the suitcase to entertain them in a small living space.
Crayola Scrubbie Pets
Stick them in an empty tub and let them go to town coloring these cute animals and then giving them a bath in the included little pink tub and shower to wash them off…and then start all over again!
We have this Crayola Scrubbies set at our house and it really does work like the box says! I keep this playset in an old square shaped makeup bag so we can easily take the toy along on trips.
Daniel Tiger Trolley
Three-year-olds tend to love Daniel Tiger. As a parent, even I love the show! It’s a sweet, educational program. My oldest was obsessed with her Daniel Tiger figurines when she was younger, and getting your child the figures plus this trolley will have them playing happily at your accommodation as they give the characters trolley rides around the room.
You Might Also Enjoy Reading:
Best Travel Toys for 1-Year-Olds