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Travel Toys for Kids: Keeping Busy in the Backseat

by Jessica Howell

Backseat passengers have never had it so good. With a load of kid-friendly features in this year's vehicle line-up, there have never been more options for keeping children occupied during long road trips or mid-day traffic jams.

Here, we take a look at some of the cool new products that have hit the market with backseaters specifically in mind. Not only are these buys guaranteed to make life easier for traveling tikes, they'll take some of the stress off of you — and allow for what's most important — complete concentration on the road.

clek’s olli Booster Seat — Safety first! If your child is under 4'9", they need to be buckled in a booster seat. Wave farewell to hard-to-install, uncomfy options and check out clek’s new olli seat ($89), which features the first LATCH system incorporated into a backless booster seat and is winner of Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association's "Innovation Award" for safety, comfort and convenience.

Installed in under ten seconds (really!), clek's olli seat "clicks" into place easily and weighs a feathery five pounds, compared to competitive hefty haulers. Kids will love the cargo-thingy storage side pocket that perfectly houses an iPod, Gameboy or snack pack, as well as customizable seat covers, dubbed clekjackets that come in fun shades like zebra and bubble-gum camo.

ColorMe Travel Pillowcase Set — Coloring keeps kids occupied wherever they may be, but coloring with a purpose proves to be even more fun. Grab this travel pillowcase pack by ColorMe ($22) and your artist will get a two-sided travel pillowcase (one side features a "Color the Skies" plane picture and the other features a map of the United States for tracking your travels), a set of 10 fabric markers and five travel postcards and crayons.

Best of all, a portion of your purchase benefits a children's charity of your choice (three options available.)

Li'l Lewis Kids Travel Pillow — Soft and snuggly, these friendly travel pillows from Li'l Lewis ($12) make nap time in the car a breeze. A contoured shape cradles the head while microbead or fiber stuffing softly supports at the same time. Available in 15 different animal choices from dinosaur to pig, there's sure to be a pleasing option for your own critter.

Klutz Road Trip Trivia — There is no better way to kill time than flipping through the pages of one of Klutz's masterpieces. Ideal for seated fun and loaded with goodies to tinker with, these interactive reads are sure to spice up any lengthy drive. Described as the "most powerful boredom-buster yet," Road Trip Trivia ($13) was created for kids nine years old and up, but everyone will enjoy shouting answers to questions like "Do bedbugs bark?" (The answer, shockingly, is yes.)

Other Klutz travel favorites include Suction Cup Critters, String Games, the Doodle series and Books in a Cup, which fit perfectly in a backseat cup holder.

World Travel Doll — The days of paper dolls have come and gone, but nostalgia promises to prevail thanks to Mudpuppy's magnetic World Traveler Dress Up Doll ($14), one of many sets that offers up a doll, matching magnetic clothing and delightfully diverse backgrounds.

Your traveler can create scenes from Mexico, India, Japan, Germany and Kenya with this kit, that's stored in a pretty tin until playtime.

Trunki Rolling Animal Luggage — Making a splash across the pond, this child-friendly, rolling luggage ($40) will be hitting the states soon. Shaped like an animal with a seat-like top surface and tow strap, it's made to seat toddlers (3-6) atop and be rolled by mom or dad during your vacation’s wait times. Best yet, it holds five gallons worth of goodies inside — travel toys or clothing — and weighs in under four pounds. It's carry-on approved for flights as well!