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Are We There Yet? Best Screen-Free Car Seat Toys

Are We There Yet? Best Screen-Free Car Seat Toys

You’re stuck in a traffic jam. It’s hot. Everyone’s tired. Baby is grizzling in the back seat and you’re feeling just as fed up. Sound familiar? Before kids, road trips were all about feel-good playlists loaded with summertime anthems and spontaneous stopovers to snap the scenery. But with a tricksy toddler or two in the back, long car rides can be a bit of a challenge! 

At this point in the journey, it can feel very tempting to reach for the iPad and stick on an episode of Peppa Pig or Paw Patrol. But if you’re looking for ways to avoid too much screen time en route, here are some parent-tested tips that might help. 

Little boy playing Noughts & Crosses in car seat

How Do I Keep My Toddler Happy In A Car Seat?

Make it fun, stay calm and make sure you have a bag full of exciting activities to keep them going throughout the journey. These 7 handy hacks are a good place to start: 

1. Prepare the car seat with a lap tray that straps on for portable play

2. Make a road trip map - write out the landmarks or cities you’re passing on a piece of white gaffer tape and stick it in the car where everyone can see, then print out a picture of your car and move it along the map as you progress through your journey 

3. Create a family playlist with songs you know they love

4. Download their favourite audiobook or podcasts

5. Make surprise goody bags and fill them with pocket-sized toys for them to discover

6. Map out fun stops for play breaks along the way, whether it’s a service station soft play area or a children’s farm just off the motorway 

7. Put a prize box together and dish out rewards, be it for a grizzle-free half-hour or a 20-mile run with no squabbles 

Toddler reading in car seat

Why Does My 2 Year Old Hate The Car Seat?

Your toddler’s car seat woes could be the cause of discomfort, feeling a lack of control, being too hot or cold, having the sun shining in their eyes, or simply wanting to be free and burn off some energy. But there are ways to avoid the car seat battleground. Read on for details. 

How Do I Help My Toddler Who Hates The Car Seat?

  • Give them options: Say something like, “Would you like me to help you in, or do you want to jump in yourself?” or “Would you like this toy to play with for the journey or that toy?”
  • Let them help: Asking them for a hand strapping them in may make them feel more in control and proud that they managed to do it all by themselves (patience is a virtue!)
  • Distract them: Give them a special toy they can only play with in the car or think of a silly ritual to do every time you pop them in their seat
  • Explain and describe: Talk to your littlen about what you’re doing as you place them in the seat and buckle the straps; it helps to use words they know so they can understand what’s happening and process it more calmly
  • Empathise with them: Label and validate the emotions they’re feeling by saying something along the lines of, “I can see this is very hard for you and I know you’re feeling so cross! It must be really rubbish sitting in the car seat when you want to be outside playing, but it will be okay and I promise to get you out as quickly as I can.” 

Mum helping baby into car seat

Best Car Seat Toys For Long Journeys

Family road trip coming up this summer? We have put together a list of our favourite travel toys, broken down by age, to help your tiny tot enjoy the ride!

Car Seat Toys For Babies

Wooden Roll Rattle: Shake, rattle and roll! Our sustainably-made FSC® Certified wooden baby rattle is painted in six bright colours to engage babies’ eyes and features a tinkly bell to introduce them to new sounds.  

Poppy Doll (Small): Meet your bambino’s new road trip buddy, ready to join them on all their adventures! Our best-selling soft doll Poppy is a cuddly ragdoll that’s small enough to fit into any bag or suitcase, making her the perfect travel companion. 

Rattle Keys: Give your baby their own set of keys for the drive! An excellent teething toy, these eco-friendly Rattle Keys are made from 100% recycled plastic and feature different shapes for your tots to explore. 

Baby chewing Green Toys Rattle Keys 

Jungle Story Book: Captivate young minds with this colourful baby book from Tidlo, featuring charming animal illustrations to inspire mini imaginations and board book pages to help littlens practice their fine motor skills. 

Travel Toys For 1 Year Olds

My First Peg Puzzle (Pets): A paw-some peg puzzle for petite pet lovers! Our wooden peg puzzles are chunky, easy to lift and feature eye-catching illustrations to capture your toddler’s attention. Brilliant for boosting their shape, colour and image recognition.

FSC® Certified Activity Cube: Guaranteed to keep your kiddo entertained, our all-in-one Wooden Activity Cube is packed full of toys for busy little hands. Activities include a shape sorter, a follow-the-pattern game, abacus beads, swivelling numbers and letters, a mirror and more! 

FSC Certified Activity Cube 

Wooden Tractor Stacking Toy: Ideal if you have a car seat lap tray, this beautifully crafted green tractor is a push along toy and stacker in one! Wheel it from A to B or practise slotting and stacking the wooden pieces onto the bendy poles. 

Travel Toys For 2 Year Olds

Dinosaur 6-Piece Puzzles: These t-riffic dinosaur puzzles come in a set of three, so dino-mad youngsters can spend time piecing each one together to see the prehistoric scenes unfold while you drive. 

Wooden ABC Puzzle: Enjoy a bit of peace and quiet while your little munchkin practises matching the letters to the slots on our new FSC® Certified alphabet puzzle, great for improving their memory and shape recognition skills. 

Child playing with Wooden Alphabet Puzzle

Musical Bear Xylophone: A bear-illiant twist on the traditional xylophone instrument! Kiddies can use our Musical Bear to entertain the family on the road (apologies in advance!). Features eight colourful metal keys and two wooden beaters. 

Travel Toys For 3 Year Old

Mini Noughts and Crosses: You might have to sit in the back and get involved in this one, but this travel-sized version of the classic Noughts and Crosses game is fantastic for long car journeys. The chunky blocks are made for small hands and can be stored in the compact wooden box when playtime is over. 

NeeDoh Fidget Toys: Trending TikTok sensation NeeDoh is the ultimate car seat toy for kids aged three and up. Take your pick from our extensive range of squishy fidget toys, made with a non-toxic, dough-like material. New to the collection include Rainboh Teenie NeeDohMac N Squeeze, Cool Cats Super NeeDoh, Nice Cube, NeeDoh Dohnut and more. 

Girl squeezing Rainboh Teenie NeeDoh 

Magnetic Board (Farm): A fa-baa-lous travel toy to a-moos bored toddlers! Perfect for portable make-believe play, this Magnetic Board comes with 14 wooden magnets for creating fun farmyard scenes. 

Code Breaker Game: Another one for two players, this code breaker puzzle is made for on-the-go gaming. Go head to head to see who can guess each other’s four-coloured-peg combination first!

Magical Creatures Colouring Set: Creative youngsters will love this kids colouring set from Tiger Tribe. It comes with a 36-page colouring book, 5 sticker sheets and 10 markers all neatly stored in a self-contained magnetic box. Browse the full Tiger Tribe range for more craft sets and kids travel toys.

Happy travels! 

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