5 engaging toys every parent should have when travelling with kids this summer

For long journeys or holidays planned with kids this summer, make sure you have these types of toys in your bag to keep them entertained (and any moaning at bay)

(Image credit: Getty Images)

With summer holidays fast approaching, we look at the trip-friendly toys all parents should have on-hand, whether you're heading on holiday or just on a day out with the kids.

Even if you've planned loads of things to do with the kids over the school holidays, there is usually a certain amount of travelling involved - and if you want to avoid the dreaded moaning or squabbling coming from the back seat, it's a good idea to make sure you've got some toys on hand to keep them entertained.

If you're child is obsessed with one of this year's top toys, it's completely understandable that you don't want to take that with you for fear that it will get lost or broken. But worry not, toy experts at The Entertainer have revealed the three types of toys all parents should have in their arsenal when travelling with kids over the summer (and we've added a couple more suggestions too.)

Toys to travel with this summer

1. Activity books

Activity books are perfect for keeping younger children entertained whenever you leave the house - whether you're out for a family tea, in the waiting room at the doctors, or heading on holiday. The best part, activity books are lightweight, and can many can be rolled to fit into a handbag. Activity books come in various guises too - from colouring books and sticker books, to all encompassing options that include everything from pictures to colour in and mazes to fine the way out of, to quiz questions and spot-the-differences.

The I Can Write ABC Book from The Entertainer is a great shout - it's a wipe-clean activity pad that teaches children from age three how to perfect the alphabet. We also love the 101 Awesome Activity Book for Kids - it's an Amazon bestseller for a reason - and includes maths quizzes, logic puzzles, things to colour in, word searches and more for children aged four to six.

2. Card games

If you're travelling with more than one child, let them keep each other entertained with a card game, while you focus on getting to your destination. Plus when you get there, card games are perfect for a family fun evening while you're on holiday - the whole family can get involved and enjoy a bit of competition, and the decks are small enough to easily fit into your luggage. Bestseller UNO (available on Amazon) is a given, but even a standard deck of cards offers loads of ways to play.

The toy experts at The Entertainer add: "Aside from UNO, Top Trumps is another widely popular card game, with a range of specific categories available such as the World Football Stars edition - just in time for EURO 2024."

Mother, teen daughter and toddler son playing with cards during a train journey

(Image credit: Getty Images)

3. Plush toys

The experts at The Entertainer say: “Plush toys are a great choice when travelling with children. These cuddly products provide comfort and security, particularly to younger children. They’re also a great sleep aid - ensuring children are well-rested when they reach their destination.

“In particular, I recommend the Bluey Soft Toy - perfect for fans of the extremely popular kids show. Furthermore, the Minecraft Rabbit Plush is another perfect choice for any parents looking to purchase a comfort toy for their child on their travels."

4. Audio players

If you've got a particularly long journey, then audio players, like the Yoto player and the Toniebox, are worth taking with you. Not only do they offer screen-free fun, but they can be easily operated by a child, which can be incredibly useful if you're driving.

Better still, you can buy headphones for both, so your little one can enjoy their own story time in private. Just make sure you've charged the player and downloaded any stories on to the device so you don't have to rely on finding public WiFi when you're out and about.

5. Hand-held games

For older kids, hand-held games and puzzles could be a great way to keep them entertained on longer journeys - without their phones. Think Rubik's Cubes, fidget toys and puzzles.

This 50th anniversary Rubik's Cube has major retro vibes, while this IQ Gears puzzle is perfect for kids (and kidults) age seven and over.

Looking for more? Check out these toys for £10 or less, or the most popular Tonies ever that are worth adding to any travel bag.

Consumer Writer & Money Editor, GoodtoKnow

Sarah is GoodtoKnow’s Consumer Writer & Money Editor - which means she writes about everything from this year's top toys and the newest toy releases, to discounts on days out and childcare costs. Sarah is passionate about helping mums save money wherever they can - whether that's spending wisely on the right toys and kidswear or keeping on top of the latest news around child benefit, the motherhood penalty. A writer, journalist and editor with more than 15 years' experience, Sarah is all about the latest toy trends and is always on the look out for toys for her nephew or Goddaughters so that she remains one of their favourite grown ups. When not writing about money or best buys, Sarah can be found hanging out with her rockstar dog Pepsi, getting opinionated about a movie or learning British Sign Language.