For a number of years, the Magna Doodle was essential travel entertainment in our family. Silent, no batteries, clean, versatile…the perfect toy for a car or plane. The only problem: ours was bulky. But Tracy's husband found a way to put that "feature" to good use as well:
Good as a hard surface for drawing or coloring as well.
These days, there are several brands and sizes of magnetic doodle toys, including smaller- and handled- versions for travel. But if you've got a big board floating around, keep it in the car!
An aside: These toys have a surprisingly long play life. My daughter recently won a small Magna Doodle as a prize for something or other, and she and my almost 12 year-old son played with it for the rest of the day. Another time, my husband and I came home from a night out to find our 15 year-old babysitter playing with it. "I forgot how much fun these things are!" This from a guy who's permenently attached to his iPod.