Our packing must-have for toddler travel? LEGO® sets

Traveling with toddlers is a perfect example of how two things can be true: it can make you feel intense joy by witnessing your little one’s wide-eyed wonder at new experiences, and also make you want to pull your hair out and question your life choices. Despite the logistical challenges of schlepping your toddler’s toilet, car seat, stroller and every sleep essential (we’re looking at you, sound machine, night light, portable blackout curtains, pack-and-play, stuffies…), and ensuring you packed enough snacks to avoid a detour into Meltdown City, family travel is almost always an overwhelmingly rewarding experience, leaving you with precious core memories that will last long after the suitcases are unpacked. 

That said, whether you’re gearing up for a family road trip this summer, preparing for an airport adventure, or simply heading out for a few hours, there’s one essential tool we’ve found to make traveling with your toddler a breeze.

Here are 10 ways LEGO® sets can bring a sense of calm to your (bound to be somewhat stressy) travels.

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Compact and portable

If you’ve ever packed a minivan for a family trip, you’ll understand the skill it takes to optimize every inch of space (all those years playing Tetris on your TI-83 calculator were preparing you for real-life challenges, after all). If you, too, find joy in a perfectly packed vehicle, the LEGO® DUPLO® Classic Brick Box with Storage set is the ideal companion for your upcoming road trip. The 65-piece set is lightweight and comes with its own dedicated box for effortless, on-the-go storage that doesn’t take up precious cargo space. 

Entertainment on the go

toddler playing with LEGO DUPLO set on purple backdroptoddler playing with LEGO DUPLO set on purple backdrop

When traveling with a toddler, self-directed entertainment is key—because let’s face it, a meltdown on a plane or in a restaurant isn’t anyone’s idea of a good time. Compact LEGO® sets are perfect for tossing in a backpack or carry-on so you’re always prepared to turn an impending tantrum into a tiny tower at the drop of a hat. With sets themed around your child’s favorite characters and personal interests (or obsessions), like the Truck & Tracked Excavator, Lightning McQueen & Mater’s Car Wash Fun, and Elsa & Bruni in the Enchanted Forest, your little one will be captivated for hours, no matter where your journey takes you.

Open-ended play

The open-ended nature of building bricks opens a world of possibilities for imaginations to run wild. So when your little explorer unleashes their inner architect on the road, LEGO® sets are the perfect tool for transforming airport terminals into bustling cities or hotel rooms into fantastical kingdoms. Headed to the beach? The Peppa Pig Boat Trip set transforms into a beachscape and dive boat. Going on a Camping Adventure? So are Daisy Duck and her nephews! These sets offer the perfect opportunity for kids to express their newfound experiences through imaginative play—and give you a minute to (maybe) even enjoy a hot cup of coffee!

Social interaction

When you’re on the road with a pack of kiddos, LEGO® DUPLO® bricks become the ultimate teamwork tool, turning potential sibling squabbles into collaborative masterpieces. Whether it’s a chaotic construction site with cousins or a peaceful parent-child bonding session over tower-building, LEGO® DUPLO® bricks are the unsung heroes of family travel—making memories and saving sanity, one brick at a time!

Easy clean-up

When choosing travel toys, we prioritize ones that don’t make a holy mess, and LEGO® DUPLO® bricks fit the bill perfectly. Not only are they simple to clean and store, but they’re also incredibly convenient for travel. Wipes, which you’ll probably have on hand, will keep them looking good as new, even if your child was playing with them while simultaneously scarfing down rice and beans at a roadside restaurant. Their size allows for swift gathering and storage in a bag or container, minimizing any mess and hassle.

Distraction during waiting times

toddler playing with LEGO DUPLO figurines on blue backdroptoddler playing with LEGO DUPLO figurines on blue backdrop

With travel comes waiting—be it in terminals, restaurants or elsewhere—and it’s during these moments that tensions can start to rise. Restlessness sets in, hunger strikes and the dreaded question “Are we there yet?” echoes endlessly. Fortunately, LEGO® sets can come to the rescue, proving a much-needed distraction for toddlers. Whether you’re setting the scene with cute animals at the Visit to the Vet Clinic set or harvesting honey with the Caring for Bees & Beehives set, these captivating building bricks offer a welcome diversion, helping to pass the time and stave off impatience or tantrums.

Quietly engaging

With new sights, sounds and experiences at every turn, it’s common for anyone—parents and kids alike—to become quickly overstimulated while traveling. Throw in the sugar rush from those inevitable treats and the constant parade of public outings, and suddenly the need for toys that bring peace and quiet becomes crystal clear. The last thing you need to add to the mix are headache-inducing toys. LEGO® DUPLO® bricks offer the perfect solution, providing an opportunity for quiet play without any literal bells and whistles. This allows everyone to regulate and slow down, restoring a sense of calm during travel.

Encourages independence

While travel is certainly a time for family bonding and socialization, instilling the skill of independent play is equally as important. Whether your child needs to take a few minutes to chill out on their own or mom and dad need a break, allowing toddlers to play with LEGO® DUPLO® bricks independently promotes a sense of autonomy and self-reliance. As they learn to entertain themselves and explore their creativity without constant interaction, parents and caregivers can finally sneak in those much-needed “coffee breaks” or “emergency chocolate stash raids” without interruption. Consider this the parenting jackpot—moments of peace and quiet while your little one becomes the master of their own entertainment universe!

Educational opportunities

Toddler playing with LEGO DUPLO alphabet truck setToddler playing with LEGO DUPLO alphabet truck set

Toddlers are like little sponges, constantly absorbing from their surroundings, and rapidly developing fine motor, language, problem-solving and emotional resilience skills. By toting LEGO® sets on your next travel adventure, you can ensure that your child stays engaged while honing these developmentally-appropriate abilities. The Number Train and The Alphabet Truck sets are crowd favorites for soon-to-be preschoolers, introducing toddlers to colors, counting and letters, while the presence of friendly characters enhances their social-emotional skills.    

Lowers stress and anxiety

Traveling can be overwhelming for toddlers. With changes in routine and unfamiliar surroundings, you never really know what you’re going to get—a mega-meltdown? Maybe. A nap out of nowhere? Not out of the question. A toddler set on doing zoomies through the hotel halls? We’ve seen it all, and it’s all fair game. Luckily, LEGO® DUPLO® bricks are a familiar comfort that can help to reduce stress and anxiety by providing a sense of security and stability amidst the uncertainties of travel. If your child has a favorite LEGO® set from home, such as the Wild Animals of the World or Tubes, consider bringing a smaller selection of pieces during travels to offer them a comforting sense of familiarity. 

Traveling during the early years of parenthood can be challenging, but with smart packing, you can make the process 10x easier. LEGO® sets, known for their ease of cleaning and storage, offer endless hours of fun and imaginative play. They promote both socialization and independence making them an ideal travel companion for your upcoming family adventures. Bon voyage!

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