Flying with children can feel intimidating. As a mom of three, we fly regularly and the anxiety of flying with kids is not something that has dissipated even though I would consider us pros. When we are preparing for a flight there are so many things to take into consideration. How long is it? Does the airline offer inflight entertainment? Are there layovers? Will snacks be provided? And while much of these things are out of our control when traveling, I do my best to stay ready with the things that I can control to keep my littlest ones busy. I have flown through the toddler phase three times now and here are some of our favorite airplane activities for toddlers.
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Airplane Activities for Toddlers
Water WOW books are an easy and mess free way to keep kids entertained on flights. All you need is a small amount of water to fill up the water pen. And the best part about these books are that they are reusable (they clear on their own). The Melissa and Doug books tend to be the most popular and come in a huge amount of variations including Disney characters, but Target does offer a variation called “Water surprise” books. Same concept, different name!
2. Coloring Books and Triangle Crayons
If you have a little artist on your hands then crayons are always a great way to pass time. For flying or even road trips, I recommend triangle crayons for multiple reasons. Firstly, the triangular crayons tend to be larger and therefore help with gripping for little hands. Second (and most importantly) if the crayons are dropped they wont roll. Nothing is worse than your kid dropping a crayon and then having it roll to the back of the plane never to be seen again.
3. Busy boards
Busy boards are a toddler dream come true. They are full of sensory and motor skill activities. Montessori style busy boards include things like shoelaces, zippers, buckles, small puzzles and other learning activities. The above design is made out of a felt/wool material so theres no worry about loud toy banging either.
4. Bring your own headphones
This is of course assuming that your flight will offer some type of inflight entertainment. If you’re flying a major airline such as JetBlue, American or Delta Air Lines, more often than not they have some type of inflight entertainment offerings for kids.
5. Download movies/shows on their tablet
Because it’s always a good idea to have a plan B. A long haul flight is not the time to be super strict about screen time limits. And there are plenty of educational shows available to downloaded on Netflix, Disney+ etc in the event you don’t want to binge Peppa Pig for hours on end.
6. Imagine Ink
Imagine Ink is another great mess-free art option. The markers only work on the Imagine Ink coloring pages so that leaves no possibility for marker messes anywhere else. They come in a variety of options but that I have seen are cartoon character based such as Minnie, Paw Patrol, LOL Dolls etc.
7. Sticker Books
Because if you haven’t spent an endless amount of time peeling stickers off your walls and floor are you even a toddler parent? For flights, I would consider reusable sticker books the perfect activity for toddlers. Once they’re done, they can always be save and brought out on another day you really need them!
8. Snack Box
The only thing worse than a tired, overstimulated child. Is a tired, hungry and overstimulated child. Snack boxes are perfect for any travel day. Whether you bring a bento box or one of these cute memory game snack boxes from Amazon, bringing something along with you that your kid likes to eat can be make or break for travel days. And it will save money on buying expensive airport snacks.
9. Kinetic Sand
If this sounds like what your nightmares are made of – hear me out. You can buy kinetic sand in small baggie sized amounts. I am not at all suggesting to bring your entire kinetic sand setup with you inflight but a small tupperware or two paired with your little ones favorite small cars, dinosaurs or whatever will definitely keep them busy for a while.
10. Play-doh (play dough)
A little less messy than the last option, Play-doh is one of my favorite airplane activities for toddlers and younger children. It’s another great go-to for keeping little hands busy for a decent amount of time and you can get starter kits that are the perfect size for traveling.