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Need Quiet Toy Ideas for Traveling with One Year Old-3 Hour Flight

Hi Mamas,
I'll be traveling with my one year old in December. Fortunately, the flight is only 3 hours long but that's still 3 hours to fill. My girl is very curious and probably won't nap much (if at all) so I'd love to hear some suggestions of how I can distract her for those 3 hours. Do you know of small and quiet toys she might like to play with? Thanks, ladies!

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I'd have to agree, the portable DVD player would be my choice...for Baby Einstein videos etc. Too young to keep entertained that long with anything else (that is without packing TONS of things). Who has that space in their carry on for that??

Portable dvd player, books, coloring, snacks, look out the windows, headphones with kid music....just a few ideas. Happy Flying!

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Hi L.,

I took my son on a trip at about that age and he played with Measure Up Cups and looked at books the whole time. You can see the cups at cindystoybox.com as well as age-appropriate books. Frog's Friends is one of my favorites. The books all have textured animals. Let me know if I can help. Safe and happy traveling!


1 mom found this helpful

Get the Doodle Pro or Aqua Doodle, Travel Doodle. (Toys R Us) Good luck!

Portable dvd player, books, coloring, snacks, look out the windows, headphones with kid music....just a few ideas. Happy Flying!

My girls never wanted toys on the plane, They wanted everything and anything in my purse. It's got to be "different" or they lose interest.

I'm always bring a DVD player too BUT for a one year old, I don't know how well that will interest her.

Try to change up the schedule that day so she may nap during the flight. You don't want her too exhausted that she'll have a meltdown but a nap is a blessing during flights. The airport is a lot of excitement for a one year old--all the people, all the chaos and hustle/bustle at the holidays. It really can wear a little one out. The stimulation alone tires them which is a great thing.

I don't recall if a one yr. old is too young for Benadryl and I am NOT telling you to drug up your child. Many people use Benadryl to make sure the sinus airways are clear and dry so there is less of a chance of fluid build up in the ears for children which of course is painful for them. Ask your pediatrician.

Lastly, I bring sweets that I normally don't give my kids. I call it my "emergency stash". This is for meltdowns and when nothing else is working. It's amazing what power a lollipop has :) and it lasts a while. Bring lots of snacks.

And pack for unforeseen situations such as runways delays, etc. I'm not saying this to worry you but there are times when you are stuck on the runway or at the gate and your 3 hour flight turns into a much longer trip. Extra diapers, formula and food.

I did the same thing with my daughet when she was a year old. Just make sure you have a bottle or something for her when you take off. The pressure can build up in her ears and be very painful. Maybe a little doll or some books would be good for you to read. Maybe she will sleep if you get really lucky. Good luck and I hope this helps.

I found a toy which has multiple activities on it turned into quite a "life saver" (well sanity-saver!).

I had one that was a doll of Elmo where there was a zipper to zip up his jacket, a button on one pocket, a snap on the other pocket, a "wrist watch" that had a buckle to strap, and string to tie the hood of the jacket. I have also seen something like this on a blanket. The blanket also had a mirror and a nice teether that only made a crinkly sound.

Good luck!

My suggestion would be to get a traveling dvd player and some baby einstein dvd's.

When I flew with my DD at around the 1 year mark - I would bring a couple of pop-up / lift the flap books and a couple of toys - like stacking cups, farm animals (small plastic), and something good for chewing on (if teething!). And this is the important part - they should be books / toys that she has never seen before. Food and drink is also a very important distraction on the plane. If you can I would book the flight at a meal time - which kills alot of time too. Also you say quiet.. but I also brought her portable DVD player - and played her baby einstein DVD's. Trust me - people on the plane will not mind hearing some noise from the DVD player vs her crying. The final advice I would give is when in doubt walk her up and down the isle. We flew international about half a dozen times before she was one and I think we would probably walk half the time! But it kept her quiet and usually would eventually send her off to sleep. Good luck with the trip!

DVD player with movies is a must (make sure there are headphones) buy two new movies that are her favorite characters and she will be really happy- also aqua doodle has travel type cases with just water to draw with or color- books where she has to search for things in pictures are good if you are willing to work with her. Don't let her see what you are packing and don't get anything out until the plane starts to move just tell her you have a bag full of surprises - ooh playdoh is good too- don't forget to have things packed in the suitcase that are similar but a bit different for the trip back- a different movie more playdoh just in case the other is lost or colors are mixed. I have 4 kids and have flown lots with them- you will do great!

Three magical words: Portable DVD Player.

I'd have to agree, the portable DVD player would be my choice...for Baby Einstein videos etc. Too young to keep entertained that long with anything else (that is without packing TONS of things). Who has that space in their carry on for that??

I just took my child on her 1st flight back in June. It was a 3hr flight and I too was worried about her getting fussy and wanting to start to scream or something. I took her snacks had her bottle ready, and I also packed some toys and books she liked and some new ones, mostly soft just in case she got fussy and ended up throwing it. However, she ended up falling asleep. The noise and movement of plane rocked her to sleep. I was surprised. The same thing happened on the way back. I noticed that this happened to all the little kids and babies on the flight.

The first flight I took my dd on was about 2 hours (followed by a 2 hour drive) and I didn't have the dvd player. I was breast feeding at the time and timed it to take place during the flight. This helped a great deal. My dd actually napped on the way home. I brought small books (new ones for each flight along with an old favorite) and let her "look" at the magazines on the place. I brought the travel magna doodle, too. Keep in mind that at the beginning of the flight there is a lot going on that will keep them entertained.

I will say that we have taken the dvd or laptop computer on all the other trips we have taken. Baby Einstein videos (and others) were a lifesaver.

Arrive early to the flight and let your child walk around (if they are able to walk) and explore the area with you. They will get plenty of exercise at the airport and lots of attention. My dd took her first steps at the airport with lots of people in her "cheering" section. She wasn't bored at all.

We also chose flights based on "happy" times, like early in the morning. These flights are not usually full and we were able to get the front row with more leg room, so she could stand up once the "seat belt" light went out. Also, we weren't as worried about the noise she made. Another "happy" time was right around feeding time.

On another note, the best advice I was given about traveling with a child: relax! The likelihood of seeing the other adults on the plane again are slim to none. They should be adult enough to realize that a child does not have a clear understanding of what is going on and the adults need to deal with the occasional noise and tears. I took this to heart and was much calmer on the flight. Since I was more calm, my child was, too. I have even had people tell me they didn't even know there was a child behind them!

Good luck and have fun!

We travel frequently with our children - now 4 and 5. They have small backpacks they carry on flights, and before each trip I fill it with activities they have never seen before. Sticker/activity books work best for my daughter, snacks work best for my son:). I also put coloring books, blank spiral notebooks for drawing, those water-color books you do with just a wet paintbrush, wikki stix, small things of playdough. Then they can use those bags in the hotel, restaurants, etc. And they carry their own bag on their back thru the airport. The dollar spot at Target always has lots of stuff!

Start checking out the dollar spot at Target. I

We just recently traveled with our 21 month old and used crayons (the triangle kind, so they won't roll off the tray on the plane), a flip book (the kind you have to lift a flap to see stuff underneath) that we bought new & didn't show her until we were on the plane and my netbook ;) I found this site
and was able to save the games to my computer and play them without having to have internet connection. With the white noise on the airplane, having the computer make noise was nothing.
Good luck!

-Playdoh (put in baggies, leave container at home)
-Popsicle sticks (to hold or stick in playdoh)
-Pipe cleaners (to bend and twist)
-Cotton balls or small colored craft balls in a ziplock (to put in, take out, put in, take out, etc) (make sure she doesn't eat it)
-Cotton balls/craft balls and a strip of masking tape (stick the balls on a strip of tape)
-Post it notes - all sizes and colors (to stick on the tray, front seat, back seat, or piece of paper)
-Box of tissues (take out of box and put in ziplock, cut a small slit in the middle and have her pull out one by one)
-Qtips (to stick in playdoh, stick on tape)
-Travel size Aquadoodle or Magnadoodle
-Kid music w/headphones
-Washable markers and portable mirror (her her color mirror a look at herself and then clean off with wipes)...or have her color herself - washable markers wash right off...

These things are small enough and lightweight enough to pack alot of. Books are okay but they are so heavy and bulky. Don't bring glue - they may have you toss it, no matter the amount. Bring a grocery bag for garbage and keep out during the flight. As she finishes one activity, you can toss it instead of trying to repack. Prepack everything in a ziplock at home in a completely separate carry on. That way during the flight, after you toss one activity you can just pull a bag of another activity that is ready to go. That will save you from having to dig for something in that cramp space.

Also, keep snacks sugar free. You never know how the change in altitude will affect kids and giving your kid sugar rushes aren't a good mix.

My son took 2 DVD-less and drugless roadtrips from Texas to New England twice when he was less than 2 years old, and we had the best time both times. Plus, we were in the car 8 hours a day for 3 days. We didn't need or depend on the dvd. With my husband driving, I was already prepared to be the main source of entertainment and accepted the fact my son wasn't going to entertain himself in a closed space for a long period of time. I scheduled something every 1/2 hour, some being interactive with him, some quiet and down time. Trips with children of any age CAN be done and CAN be fun!

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