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10 Toys and Tips to Make the Miles Fly

"Are we there yet?" will become "Wow, we're already here?"

It’s summertime and the traveling is easy, well sort of. What’s the old saying, getting there is half the battle? Well, what if getting there was actually half the fun? Road trips are an integral part of the vacation so why not set your kids up for an enjoyable one? Yes, sometimes there are long delays and the snacking options run low. There are traffic jams, GPS misfires, and road construction. Not to mention hearing the theme from a particular favorite show hundreds of times. But what about those amazing moments, the glimmers of the travel experience? The long stories that unfold about what happened during one pivotal recess for your child. Or a funny sign that then becomes the theme of your trip. The amazing roadside sites. The sunsets and sunrises. And the sounds of giggles or silent concentration emanating from the backseat when your kids are 100% engaged.

Fortunately, HABA has a huge selection of travel toys and games that are easy to pack and will banish the question “are we there yet” so that instead they will look up at you in wonder when you arrive and say, “Wow, I can’t believe we’re already here!” Here is our list of road-worthy toys and games and a few tips to make those miles fly by as your kids laugh and learn with each passing one.

Road-Worthy Toys & Games to Make Road Trips Fun

Imaginations Will Soar but Their Creations will Stay Put with Magnetic Games

Nothing compares to the ease of magnets for mess-free travel time fun. Yes, there are parts and pieces but they stick so the likelihood that you will be bending back to find a stray tiny marble or puzzle piece under a seat is smaller. Kids can arrange magnets to create scenes of farms, the forest, or bustling cities. They can learn numbers, play dress up, and make funny faces. These magnetic playsets foster imaginative thinking, storytelling, and hand-eye coordination, making them a number one companion on any travel excursion.

Think Outside of the Screen with Logic Case

Each of our new Logic Case Puzzle Games offer more than 77 different tricky puzzles for curious kids. These puzzles encourage inferential thinking as they only use images and numbers. Kids can check if their answers are correct by inserting the wooden peg into the hole on the case. If the card can be pulled out, they got the answer right. There is even a cord stopper on the included blue string so the cards can be wrapped up to keep everything secure when the game is not in use.

Compact but Mighty: Travel-Sized Games

Although the backseat isn’t always conducive to a big board game, if you are stuck in traffic or have a good surface for the kids to work on, travel-sized games are great to have on hand. They work especially well on trains and in airports for long layovers. Games like Color It, Monster Munch, Pio's Pigeon Post  Game, and Floaty Flight (this one is magnetic too!) are compact and offer endless entertainment. They promote problem-solving, fine motor skills, and social interaction, and can be played over and over when you get to your destination as well.

Stack Away the Boredom with Block Sets and Arranging Games

Although it seems counterintuitive for a road trip, small block sets and arranging games are STEM toys that older kids can really dive into to stay busy and encourage their creativity. Our 3D Arranging Game or Creative Stones both come with template cards that suggest various designs but kids can create their own endless designs. You can store these blocks in zippered pouches to save space and if your child has a hard time keeping track of the pieces, you can bring a couple of cardboard soda trays for them to spread out their block play and keep things contained.

Tell Me a Story - Bring Some Little Friends Along for the Ride

Storytelling sparks the imagination and keeps kids entertained during road trips. Packing some beloved dolls and small figures that children already have a connection with and have developed play stories around is a great way to encourage storytelling and open-ended play. Bring along a wide selection of Little Friends Dolls so kids can narrate the road trip for their small pals or imagine entirely new worlds for their little friends to explore.

Soft Dolls for Extra Cuddles

Having soft dolls by their side also helps with some of the emotions involved in travel and can help decrease anxiety. Our collection of soft fabric dolls are just the right size to pack in a bag and are perfect to under an arm. When things get tough or cranky moments emerge, which we all know will happen, having a doll to hug and hold makes a world of difference to a child. 

Lace Up the Loose Ends with Our Lacing Toys

Keeping their hands busy and their minds engaged is a great road trip goal and especially when it result in learning a skill that they can adapt and use all of their lives. Our lacing games encourage the development of early sewing and help develop fine motor skills and dexterity. Plus, our lacing toys allow for a lot of different combinations and so will keep kids working and sewing up a storm as the miles fly by. 

Have a Backseat Puppet Show

Sometimes a long trip forces you to be extra creative, just what is needed when staging a puppet show. While you might not have a real curtain, kids can create a full-length feature show and you can even write down their lines so they can perform it when they get to your destination. Our collection of puppets are soft, lightweight, and easy to pack, meaning you can bring a whole cast for your kids to create a story about. The only problem is no standing ovations while wearing a seat belt! 

Add Some Mystery with Open-Ended Play and Sensory Kits

If things start to drag on a bit, you can introduce a mysterious grab bag of sensory fun. Before you head out, fill a pouch with bits and pieces that kids can use to weave their own open-ended play opportunities. Throw in some blocks, some fabric, some musical instruments, and some miscellaneous loose parts like acorn caps or gemstones. The joy will be in seeing the surprises that are tucked in the “Mystery Kits” as kids unpack them and arrange their finds into stories and small playscapes. These kits will keep little ones engaged, providing sensory stimulation and foster their cognitive and motor skills development. Just like with the blocks, bringing along cardboard soda trays will help your kids keep these kits organized and in one spot while they play.

Create a Road Trip Binder

This one takes a bit more pre-gaming but creating a personalized trip binder for your families road trip is a great way for your kids to stay on course. First, find a 3-ring binder and some plastic heavyweight sheet protectors. Now, the fun part. Fill the sheet protectors with a map of your journey, a travel bingo page, tic tac toe, and any other games you know your kids love to play. You can google printable toddler car games and you will discover all kinds of great options. Add some dry erase markers to the binder's inner pocket and voila, you have a unique interactive book for your kids to scribble on and make their own.

So enjoy the ride and all the small moments that lead toward your destinations. And remember with enough tools in your toolbox, getting there is half the fun!

Happy travels!

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