Screen-free, battery-free travel toys and games for kids

Screen-Free, Battery-Free Travel Games and Toys

Has battery fail ever derailed your plans for in-flight entertainment? Or do the kids’ cries for tablet and phone during travel drive you up a tree? Next time, plug a few of these screen-free, battery free travel games and toys into their travel programming. The recommendations here are great for car, plane, train, hotel room, and even the family tent!

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Tangrams Mini Tin Magnetic Set

Take-along tangrams in travel tin.
Take-along tangrams in travel tin.

It’s a bird… it’s a plane… it’s a… pineapple? Tangrams work both sides of the brain as kids envision and create animals, shapes, and entire scenes out of colorful geometric blocks. This set is built for travel with magnetic pieces that stay put when arranged on the lid of their travel tin. Recommended for kids 3 years and older. Available at Amazon.

Melissa & Doug Favorite Things Scratch Art Pad

On-the-go travel scratch art pad.
On-the-go travel scratch art pad.

When the kids are just “itching to get there,” let them scratch away at the On-the-Go Scratch Art Pad from Melissa & Doug. The spiral-bound kit comes with 12 different clues and corresponding scratch-and-reveal answer pictures. The stylus stores in the cover. Recommended for ages 5 to 10 years. Available at Amazon.

4-Pack of Animal Sticker Activity Books

Save on a set of FOUR sticker activity books.
Save on a set of FOUR sticker activity books.

Each letter-size sticker activity books give kids more than 70 stickers to create scenes of their own design. Included in the set: Insects & Bugs, In the Wild, Animal Friends, and Ocean Creatures. For best results pack one for the outbound and another for the return drive or flight. Stickers are reusable so books are sibling-friendly and swappable. Recommended for ages 4 to 8 years. Available at Amazon.

Felt Animal Activity Kit

Felt animal activity book.
Felt animal activity kit.

This travel-friendly crafting kit has everything you need to create 12 cute felt creatures from feet to whiskers and eyeballs, complete with instructions and idea book, and backgrounds for crafters to create their own background scenery. Recommended for ages 5 to 8 years. Available at Amazon.

Spot It! On the Road

Spot It! On the Road
Spot It! On the Road

This travel-tin comes packed with 55 road trip-themed cards for 2 to 8 players at a time. There are actually 5 different games you can play with the set, in addition to Travel Bingo.   Recommended for ages 7 to 15 years. Available at Amazon.

Deluxe Wooden Pattern Blocks Set

Melissa & Doug's magnetic pattern blocks.
Melissa & Doug’s magnetic pattern blocks.

Great for the preschool-through-second grade set, these magnetic pattern blocks can be used to fill-in-the-blanks with six double-sided “starter” cards or used however kids like on the blank surface. It all travels neatly in the clear acrylic carrying case as shown. Recommended for ages 3 years+. Available at Amazon.

Travel Scavenger Card Game

Travel Scavenger Hunt for Kids
Travel Scavenger Hunt for Kids

This road-trip ready game was built for miles of backseat entertainment. Two or more players look–and listen, and feel, and even smell–for matches to their 5 starter cards. Recommended for ages 7 years+, but definitely doable for younger kids with a little help reading the cards. The deck of 54 cards is also an easy keep in the glove box. Available at Amazon.

Sleeping Queens

game of Sleeping Queens
A game of Sleeping Queens is no snooze.

Invented by an imaginative 6-year-old and her family, Sleeping Queens is a totally new card game for kids that works the memory and basic math skills. Games go quickly between 2 to 5 players once you get the hang of using the Sleeping Potion and Dragon cards, and remember the Cat Queen and Dog Queen can’t coexist! We’ve had a lot of fun with this one.  Recommended for ages 8 years+, but my 6-year-old was a master of it in no time–and taught me. Available at Amazon.


Uno card
Uno, you know, the family travel classic.

Uno in the tent, Uno on the lanai, Uno by the pool, Uno even when you fly. We usually travel with a double deck, which makes playing with 5 players all the more fun. Although it’s officially recommended for ages 7 years+, younger kids and siblings can join in earlier–as soon as they know their numbers and colors. This newest edition includes “Swap Hands cards” cards and customizable Wild cards–knock yourselves out! Available at Amazon.

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Screen-free travel toys and games for travel with kids
Screen-free travel toys and games for travel with kids
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Shelly Rivoli

Founder, Editor, & Chief Adventure Officer at Family Travel 411 and Travels with Baby
Shelly Rivoli is the award-winning author behind the Travels with Baby guidebooks and Travels with Baby website and blog, and is the founding editor of Family Travel 411. When she isn't traveling with her husband and three children, she hangs her hat in the San Francisco Bay Area. Follow her on Twitter: @travelswithbaby and Facebook: Shelly Rivoli.
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