Monday, July 23, 2012

5 Toys for Babies AND Preschoolers

We've taken a lot of road trips this summer. Even when you have the luxury of more space than you would if you were flying, you can't exactly pack up the whole toy chest to entertain your kids while you're away.

Now that I'm a mom of two (I'm still getting used to the sound of that, 7 months later!), I'm finding that toys that can serve the dual purpose of entertaining both my kids are the first that get packed when we hit the road. Here are a few of my favorites (affiliate links). And keep reading for a special discount on one of these items!

1. Color-Changing Touch Board from Lakeshore Learning: I was sent this cool touch board (pictured above) from the folks at Lakeshore Learning a couple of months ago and it has quickly risen to the top of my favorite toys list. Big Arrow has long been obsessed with his Magna Doodle and I thought this would be a fun alternative for him. If you're not familiar with these, they're sort of like a mood ring... they change color based on temperature.

Big Arrow draws pictures, makes hand prints, foot prints and more. Little Arrow loves banging on it, chewing on it, and drooling on it. (Water actually makes a cool effect on it, so Big Arrow thinks the drooling is hysterical. Luckily, it's easy to clean.) They like to sit around it together and giggle. I'll admit that I sometimes find myself playing with it, too.

While it's not a small toy and won't slip into a diaper bag, I like to keep it tucked into the back of the passenger seat. That way we always have it on hand as a quick distraction during a long ride in the car.

Want one of these touch boards or something else from Lakeshore Learning? Save $15 off your order of $75 or more by visiting Offer is good for 30 days after visiting the page. (Or save $5 for a $25+ order, or $20 off a $50+ purchase.)

2. Fisher Price Snap-Lock Beads: I never would have guessed this toy could serve a purpose beyond delighting a baby, but my nephew proved me wrong last week. He spent about 30 minutes playing with them, having a puppet show, swinging them around, etc. Big Arrow, always one to admire his older cousin, is now really into them too. Little Arrow has been a fan for a couple of months now.

3. Fisher Price Alphabet Blocks: Blocks are a dime a dozen, right? Not with these! Each letter has a different fun activity lodged inside, making these entertaining for babies and preschoolers. Big Arrow builds elaborate structures with them, while Little Arrow just likes to shake the rattle ones and chew on the rest. Even better for trips is that they come in a convenient carrying case so you can keep them organized among the rest of your toys. If  you don't have room for all 26, just pack a few of your favorite letters (we love the rotating queen inside of "Q" and the rattling strawberry seeds in the "S").

4. Munchkin Bath Letters and Numbers: Our favorite bath toys when traveling. Just throw a few in your toiletry bag and you've got instant bathtime entertainment. It also helps Big Arrow, who can sometimes be a little skeptical of bathing in unfamiliar places, feel right at home. They stick to the surface of the tub so he can move them around (smarty pants is even starting to spell words!) And they are among Little Arrow's favorite things to chew. (You may have noticed that chewing is a common theme among his toys.) You can also throw them in your beach bag for a few playthings in the ocean, lake or by the pool.

5. First Library sets: We always travel with books. Great entertainment for the car ride, and reading a book or two is part of our naptime/bedtime routine. These come in a variety of characters/themes (we have Cars and Sesame Street). They're small and light enough for babies to fumble around with (and chew... sigh). And also short and simple enough to hold Little Arrow's very limited attention span. But Big Arrow still loves to flip through them all. Plus, for travel, I love that they come in a compact little box and don't get mixed up with other things inside big bags. Essentially, it's like traveling with 12 books in the space of 3 or 4.

What toys do you always pack when traveling?

This post is a part of Travel Tips Tuesday at Walkingon Travels and Suitcases and Sippy Cups.

Disclosure: I was provided with a Touch Board from Lakeshore Learning for purposes of a review. All other toys were purchased by our family or given to us as gifts. All links above are Amazon affiliate links.


  1. That is a really fun , useful list! I love the Touch Board! Too cool!

  2. Classic toys like the snap-lock beads never go out of style. It is fun to watch when older kids become fascinated by them too. For older girls, my daughter has recently become enthralled by the Doodle book series by Nellie Ryan. She loves to draw and color and these books give her lots of inspiration.

  3. Love this list, especially, since as you know, my kids are about the same age apart as you. Hard to find stuff for them to play with together in these early years. And I'm with Jessica. I want that Touch Board! Might be going on the kids Christmas list!