Make flying with kids a breeze! Here are 15 easy and entertaining airplane activities for toddlers to keep your little ones happy and occupied on your next flight.
One of our biggest stressors when flying with a toddler was how to keep him entertained for X hours. Like, they have so much energy! How do you contain them to like a square foot? Well after much trial and error, we have made a list of all of the activities that have helped and I am now going to share them all with you! I’m pulling you guys behind the curtain of how we keep our son entertained and occupied on long flights. Or short flights, for that matter! Let’s do this and get you excited for your next flight with your toddler!
This post has some of the best easy and entertaining airplane activities for toddlers!
Airplane Activities for Toddlers
I think we all know how scary flying with toddlers can feel. Trust me, we went through all of the worst-case scenarios before our first long flight with our toddler. We’ve actually experienced a lot of those too… but that’s a story for another time.
Look at us now though! We’ve lived and are here to share all of our best airplane activities for toddlers so that we can help you have a more enjoyable time.
First things first. How to store all of these airplane activities for toddlers, right? I usually just use a diaper bag. My son is potty-trained so I don’t really use my diaper bag anymore, but for traveling, I like to bring it. I call it my Mary Poppins bag because I just keep pulling out fun things!
Before I share all of the activities that you can put in there, remember this one, key rule:
Don’t let your toddler see all of the activities you have in your bag.
It sounds funny, but it is so helpful if you remember it! Once your child sees in there and sees all of the things, it can be hard to come back from that. They will want ALL OF THE THINGS. You can come back from this though! It’s not the end of the world. It does make it easier if they don’t see what’s in there though!
Alright, now let’s talk about all of your activity options! These are great and age-appropriate airplane activities for toddlers that will help them have a good time and be more comfortable.
Playing games is great to add to your list of airplane activities for toddlers to keep them entertained during a flight. Finding games that are simple, easy to understand, and don’t require too much space or equipment. It’s also helpful if you have played these before so they have some familiarity with them before you get on the plan. We love playing games at the beginning of the flight to fill up our son with attention and quality time and also while we still have energy. Ha. Here are some examples of our favorite games that are perfect for flying:
This is a classic at our house. And probably in the world, I guess? Anyway, this is a great game to play with a toddler, especially since there is a lot to spy on in an airplane!
We are still working on Simon Says with our toddler. But I have memories of still struggling with this in elementary school, so it’s cool!
Toddlers have slower reflexes, so hand games are so fun to play with them! They try so hard! Our favorite to play is to put out both of my hands under his stretched arms and flip my hands onto his and he has to try to move them away. He loves this one!
Who Am I
Guessing games are also a great way to keep your toddler entertained. We make animal noises or sing songs from movies or shows and he guesses what they are.
We found these BrainQuest flip cards and have loved doing them with our toddlers. They have so many good, age-appropriate versions and we have loved doing them with our son!
Playing games helps you reconnect with your toddler and we love playing them at the beginning of our flight, especially because getting to the airport and security can be very disconnecting activities. Games are also great for helping kids’ development so that’s always great!
Creative Airplane Activities for Toddlers
I bet when you read “Crafts”, you thought of glitter and glue. My mind always goes there too! Don’t worry, these creative airplane activities for toddlers are not what you think! There are so many easy and mess-free craft options out there now that we love bringing on planes.
It can be heavy to bring books on a flight, but they can go a long way in keeping your toddler entertained! We like to bring a couple of books that we know our toddler loves but hasn’t seen in a while to keep him entertained for a little bit. We’ve also seen a lot of moms who get books on their iPad and use that for travel! Whatever works for you!
Classic coloring books and crayons go a long way in keeping toddlers entertained on airplanes. Especially if you get coloring books with their favorite characters or activities. A construction-themed coloring book goes a LONG way for a little boy who loves construction vehicles.
We love bringing a new sticker book on long flights. You would be surprised (or not) at how long a toddler can be entertained by a sticker book! They are relatively mess-free, but you should still be prepared to clean up some stickers in the area around you. We love these re-stickable sticker books because they allow toddlers to use their imagination to make different scenes.
Bringing a drawing pad for your toddler to draw on allows your toddler to get creative with a clean slate is such a great way to keep them entertained. These don’t always work with young kids, but if your toddler loves drawing and creating, you should consider bringing one of these with you.
Puzzles are such a great way for little minds to develop but they can be messy! That’s why we love these magnetic puzzles that make it harder to lose pieces.
Water Coloring Books
You can find water coloring books at the dollar store, but our favorite ones are the reusable water coloring books! They last so much longer and are so much sturdier. They also come with a section that allows your toddler to find different things in the picture they are painting. Plus, you can get water easily on the airplane, and it is mess-free!
I have a love-hate relationship with Play-Doh, but I know a lot of moms (and kids) love it, so I’m including it! Play-Doh is a great plane activity because it allows your toddler to use his/her hands to get a little dirty and create something. It’s also great for small spaces! Some great little Play-Doh sets are perfect for travel. Or just pack what you’ve got!
Our son loves cars so we have him choose some cars to bring on the airplane with us. It’s great because it allows him to feel in control of a part of the trip and he has something familiar to bring with him!
Not only are creative airplane activities for toddlers really good for their development, but they can also be a great way to help your kids focus on an activity or task. They are so helpful on long flights and we love bringing them out every few hours to help calm our toddler.
Snacks and Treats
Alright, now let’s talk about snacks and treats on an airplane! Snacks can 100% be considered airplane activities for toddlers. Offering healthy and yummy snacks goes a long way! By this point, you probably have a good idea of your toddler’s favorite snacks! However, if you are looking for other options that also happen to travel-friendly.
Strawberries, bananas, and grapes are great fruit options when traveling! You can pack them in a small container and they will be good to go!
If your toddler loves goldfish, try Bunny Grahams! It’s a healthier version and the bunny shapes are so fun!
My son is a little picky about granola bars, but if they have tiny chocolate chips, he’s all in! We love how they are so easy to pack as well!
Apple Sauce Pouches
Fruit pouches are a lifesaver for us when we travel! It can be really easy to fall into the unhealthy snack spiral, so being able to get healthier snack options that are perfect for travel is so helpful!
I didn’t grow up being big on trail mix, but Josh loves it and is slowly weaning our son to love it as well. I think he just likes the hidden M&Ms though! Whether you buy it or make your own, trail mix is a great toddler travel snack!
Yogurt does not travel well, but we found these yogurt meltables we love! We thought they were just for babies, but we found these that we love as a toddler travel snack.
Offering snacks throughout your flight can serve as airplane activities for toddlers and keep them occupied as well as provide a good distraction! Help keep the hanger out of your child by making sure they aren’t getting too hungry. We’ve found this to be huge in preventing meltdowns!
Let’s not forget to make sure they stay hydrated as well! Not sure if you guys are like this, but if I’m not hydrated, it’s hard for me to stay calm. It’s weird. Anyway, my son takes after me. So keep a water bottle handy!
If your kids love books, they will love stories! Telling them stories from classic fairytales to made-up ones will keep them entertained and are great airplane activities for toddlers! If you’re not too comfortable with storytelling, here are some tips!
- Keep it simple – keep your story simple and easy to follow!
- Use props – having props helps keep your toddler’s short attention span!
- Personalize it – try telling stories from your childhood! Or try adding your toddler’s name to the story!
- Fairy tales
- Stories about animals
- Stories with their favorite characters or stuffed animals
- Recount your toddler’s favorite movies or shows
Telling stories is also great for the imagination! Stories allow kids to think about what you are saying and fill in the visual aspect in their minds. They are also a great way to calm a toddler during a flight so don’t undermine the power of telling stories when coming up with airplane activities for toddlers.
I left technology for last because this is usually what we resort to last. Not because it’s bad! Just because it is a little bit more addictive and harder to come out of. You know what I’m talking about! As far as airplane activities for toddlers go, technology can be hit or miss! Either screen time will go really well, or it will be really addictive and create a little monster who just wants more! You know your child best though!
Now, most airlines offer in-flight entertainment, whether accessed on your phone or the TVs in front of your seat. There are also some great educational apps and games that you can download! There are really a ton of options here.
Although this is a form of technology, it’s not a screen, which I love and it makes for great airplane activities for toddlers! If you haven’t heard of a Toniebox, it is a kid-friendly way to play audiobooks! You can buy Tonies separately that come with prerecorded stories or you can buy Tonies that you can record your own stories onto. Ollie loves audiobooks and his Toniebox has been a favorite when traveling! You can also buy a carrying case that makes transporting it really easy!
To get $15 off your first order of $25 or more, use this link!
Another great airplane activity for toddlers is to download some children’s audiobooks from Spotify! We love listening to Mommy and Philip. They have a good variety of books that they read.
We love educational apps for traveling. Our favorite by far though is ABC Mouse! It does require wifi though, but they do have other apps that can be used offline.
Children’s TV Shows/Movies
Although most airlines offer kids’ shows and movies in their in-flight entertainment, you never know if they will have your toddler’s current favorite show, right? To be safe, it’s always a good idea to download a couple from Netflix, Amazon, or Disney Plus to make sure that you have the shows that your child likes.
When coming up with airplane activities for toddlers, technology doesn’t have to feel like a cop-out! There are a lot of great options to keep your toddler entertained on a flight that will provide diversity and allow them to stay calm and relaxed.
That’s a wrap on our list of airplane activities for toddlers! I hope this gave you some good ideas on things you can do to keep your toddler entertained on the airplane. It is definitely something that you have to be prepared for, but it can be a blast!
Just remember that traveling with a toddler can be unpredictable at times. Your toddler may even just decide to nap the entire time and leave you with a full bag of activities! Or your toddler may decide to have a two-minute attention span and you may have to use everything. One can never really know with toddlers! As long as you are prepared and remember to stay calm, flexible, and patient, you will do great!