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3 Mess-Free & Quiet Toddler Toys That Parents Will Love

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girl playing on aquadoodle mat on carpet

Skip the mess today, Mom!

Some toys are great for helping kids develop fine motor skills and learning, but sometimes it’s nice to skip the mess of Play-Doh crumbs and washable marker all over your floor & counter. Here are 3 tried and true toys that my kids have loved playing with! You’ll get the break you deserve from cleaning, and they’ll still have plenty of fun! Win, win.


1. WikkiStix

boy holding paper with wikkistix string

Buy them on Amazon$4.82 (Regularly $7)

Last summer we were on vacation and one of the restaurants we ate at gave all the kids a small pack of wax string and a little paper activity book. I had never seen anything like it. Plus, it not only kept the kids busy the entire time, but the adults were in on all the fun too!

Needless to say, one of the first things I did when we got home was ordered some more of this amazing string off Amazon. 😂

colorful wikkistix string art on table

With this string, kids will have fun creating 3D art, 2D art on paper, playing games – the options will only stop when their imagination does! And the best part?! It’s reusable so you can put it in a baggie and carry it with you wherever the kids go or you can even buy an inexpensive travel kit to keep in the car.

Hip Tip: Want even more bang for your buck? Try this 500 piece monkey string pack! We’ve also bought this pack and it works great! Some reviewers said they don’t think it lasts as long as WikkiStix, but you certainly get more string and colors for your money.


2. Aquadoodle mat

aquadoodle mat on floor with accessories and box

Buy it on Amazon$23

This is one of my favorite toys that the kids have ever received as a gift. Even my older two (8 and 7 years old) still love drawing on it from time to time with their little sister.

This convenient Aquadoodle mat comes with many different drawing tools and brushes that fill with water, so when the kids want to write, draw, or use the included stencils – you don’t have to worry about the mess of markers all over your house.

kids drawing on aquadoodle on mat on floor

It also folds up easily so they can take it to Grandma’s house or on your next beach vacation. There’s no such thing as mistakes on an Aquadoodle mat, after a few minutes, the mat will dry and the fun can begin all over again! Practice shapes, do math problems, play tic-tac-toe, the options are endless for all ages and imaginations!


3. Boogie Board Play n’ Trace Electronic Writer

kid holding electronic board with face drawing on screen

Buy it at Barnes & Noble | $17.49 (Regularly $34.95)

If your kids are anything like my youngest, they love to tear the paper off all their crayons, tend to get marker on the counter, and when they make a mistake with writing there’s an endless amount of eraser bits all over my floor. 😂 Tell me I’m not alone! LOL!

With this electric Boogie Board, your kids can draw, color, and play games without the big mess and with the click of one button, they start over with a clean slate.

pen tracing shapes on see through board

My kids have had their Boogie Boards for about 5 years and the battery is still going strong! It’s also a great tool to keep in the car for trips or when you go out to a restaurant. Not only is it a great tool to use for learning to write, but you can also buy activity kits to learn shapes, draw their favorite farm animals or perfect their letters.

Hip Tip: You could also scoop up one of these electric writing boards that looks like a tablet for older kids. And it writes in color!


Here’s Walmart’s hottest toys list for Christmas 2019 and they’re all chosen by kids.

Join The Discussion

Comments 27

  1. Laura

    I agree on all three! We’ve also recently discovered Perplexus balls, which have been great on long road trips or just when they need something to do at home. There are different levels of Perplexus, so make sure you’re getting one that’s challenging but not impossible. We have one that’s right for a 1st grader and another for teenagers. Pricey at the store, but we’ve also found them at thrift stores and I have seen some varieties on clearance at Walmart.

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      Oh yes! My son has one of those! They sure are fun! Thanks so much for the helpful suggestion!

    • Heather

      Adding to my gift list! Thank you for the idea!!!

    • CAJ

      I agree the perplexis is awesome but I wouldn’t recommend it for car rides as the sound of the ball hitting the plastic can drive you crazy after a while. ☺️

    • Kalynn

      Never heard of this but I think my 7 year old would love it, as well as my husband 😉

  2. Courtney

    Yes! I have had all of these but the aqua doodle mat. They are great for church or the dr office too!

  3. Jillian

    Fyi wikki stix melt into car carpeting when dropped and forgotten about on summer road trips. Whoops! We now use regular pipe cleaners in the car and wikki stix out of the car 😉

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      Oh no! Thanks for the warning!

  4. Colleen D.

    Yes I agree with all of these. My kids who are now older teens as well as the children I had when I ran a licensed daycare enjoyed these, and I enjoyed no mess😀. Also the search and find tubes with beads and small objects that you try to find. Lina should do a diy craft tutorial with these! They are very easy to make, you can use, small objects ( like old monopoly pieces, dice, coins, small animals, even alphabet beads for older kids to try and find a-z.

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      How neat! Thanks so much for he suggestion. I’ll be sure to pass that along!

  5. Kate

    I think these are cute ideas, but I don’t know if I’d call them “toddler” toys? I have a (young) toddler myself and these seem just a little advanced. Just my 2 cents!! 🙂

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      I see what you mean. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts with us, Kate! We sure appreciate the feedback! I’ll be sure to pass that along to the team.

    • Colleen D.

      The aqua mat is really great for all ages. Toddlers are amazed when the colors show up even from scribbling. And it’s refillable plain water in the pens. So if they stick it in their mouth , draw on the car, siblings, themselves, it’s just water. Only issue maybe if they bit off the tip or a piece of the plastic pen. Same with the search and find tubes I posted about above. You can make (or buy ) simpler ones for toddlers. Just make sure if you make one, you superglue the top on.

  6. Kalynn

    My kids love the WikkiStix at restaurants but I personally hate the waxy residue they leave on my fingers!! I always grab one to play with it and then I’m like nope, I can’t do it LOL

  7. CRISTINA VERONICA PEREZ

    Aqua mat is great!! 2.5 year old ALWAYS pulls it out. She will “color” the entire thing! she’ll trace letters, play with the stamps and stencils that come with it. Seriously, the coolest thing! I was truly amazed at how much she was entertained with it because she’s not one to sit still… ever.

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      Too cute! Glad to hear how much she has enjoyed hers! Thanks for sharing!

  8. Amanda Z

    Melissa and Doug Water Wow books are also awesome for toddlers. Similar to aquadoodle, just smaller and more portable. Probably our single most used “quiet time” activity for church, restaurants, etc.

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      Thanks for the helpful tip! I’ll have to look at those for my nephew!

    • JD

      Absolutely agree. My three-year-Old granddaughter loves these. Great for long car rides.

  9. shannon

    Aqua mat is a current lightening deal for around $9!!!

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      Great deal! Thanks for sharing! It looks like that one is all claimed now. Darn!

  10. MommySpendsLess

    The Aqua Doodle mat will be perfect for my niece and nephew for Christmas but there are an overwhelming number of them to choose from on Amazon!

  11. Kat

    I agree on all of these. I have used them all. Just wondering and maybe hoping Hip2Savers can help with how they keep their preschoolers and K-1 graders happy and occupied in church. Thanks so much!

  12. Casey Meyers

    Does anyone think a 6 year old would like Wikkistix?

    • Teresa

      My six year old grandson loves them. They are very open-ended and encourage creativity.

  13. Deeroddy

    We have an aquadoodle mat. My 4 year and 2 year old granddaughters love them.

    • Jennifer (Hip Sidekick)

      Thanks for letting us know the kiddos love them, Deeroddy!

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