10 Must-Have Travel Toys and Games for Family Road Trips

The best take-alongs for car trips keep kids entertained without creating too much noise, taking up too much space, or making a mess. Here are 10 winning toys and games sure to keep backseat boredom at bay.

Looking for more ways to make your family road trip fun for everybody? Introduce your kids to classic car games such as I Spy, I'm Going on a Picnic and The Name Game. And don't miss our free printable travel games for kids.

  • 01 of 10

    A cool, portable take on paper dolls, these magnetic dress-up sets come with two figures, clothes, accessories, and four different background scenes set in New York City, Paris, high school, a ballet studio, pirate ship, and other places. The magnets stick to the tin so nothing gets lost.

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    Let your little Picasso express herself. No-mess coloring is possible thanks to Color Wonder markers, which work on special paper but don't stain skin, clothes, or car upholstery. There's a huge assortment of themed coloring pads to choose from, so you can let your little one get creative in the backseat without any worry.

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    This silly wordplay game makes for a giggly backseat on those long car trips. Highlighting some of America's most popular travel destinations, Summer Fun Mad Libs Junior is a fun way for the family to pass the time as kids learn grammar and sentence structure.

  • 04 of 10

    With no batteries required and the world-famous magic screen and white knobs, Etch-a-Sketch is a classic toy that can provide hours of entertainment and sketching on the go—plus the fun of shaking to erase. The travel version measures just 6.25 by 5.38 inches.

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  • 05 of 10

    Playing checkers in the car is doable with a magnetic set that holds the checkers to the board. We like this Take 'N' Play Anywhere set because it features large magnetic playing pieces that are easy for little hands to handle and hard for kids to lose. The set comes in a 6.75-inch square tin case that can slip into a purse or backpack.

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    This travel game from Melissa & Doug lets kids play Bingo on the go. Choose from among eight themes—such as city, country or vehicles—then slide a card into each game board. Kids can pay attention to the passing scenery and close doors as they identify attractions. Each game includes two game boards and four double-sided game cards. There are no loose pieces and everything stores conveniently in the board, so it's great for car trips.

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    This magnetic battleship game from Australian toymaker The Purple Cow is a great way to let younger kids learn to play without losing pieces. The magnetic pieces and tin container make it perfect for on-the-go fun. 

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    Designed for kids 8 and up, this sphere-shaped Rubik's puzzle is as addictive as the all-time classic brainteaser. The goal is to twist and shake the sphere until you get the colored balls from the inner sphere into the matching slots on the outer sphere. Guaranteed to keep a kid occupied for many, many miles. 

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  • 09 of 10

    These fun vinyl cling sets can be used and reused on themed backgrounds and then packed up in a cute tote. For a car trip, we love the United States geography set. Animal lovers will love the zoo animals themed set.

  • 10 of 10

    Wikki Stix are bendable, waxy strands of yarn that kids can shape any way they like to make flat or 3-D creations. Because they leave no mess, Wikki Stix are a perfect take-along item for car trips and plane rides. They are coated in non-toxic wax and do not contain latex, gluten, or other allergens. Tip: Bring along a gallon-size zip-lock bag for storage.