40 answers

Toys for the Airplane

Hi Ladies,

I am wondering what would be some good toys to use on the airplane with my 21 month old. We are going back east in June and it is a 3 hour plane ride. I'm sort of hoping since we have to get up early that he will take a bit of a nap but I won't hold my breath. ;-)


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Featured Answers

In addition to all the other great suggestions, Colorforms cling to the plane window. You can buy them at dollar stores or Michaels. Take them out of their original box and carry them in a ziplock.


Bring a new toy or one that's been put away for awhile. I bring those quiet books like pad the bunny. Aslo a snack, they ALWAYS get hungery. Good luck with the nap thing. We have taking my 18month old many times and he falls asleep just after take off. He get's really excited at the airport with so much to look at. Also dress him in something comfy.


Portable DVD player. You can find a cheap on (under $100) and his/her favorite movie...the plane ride is totally FINE!

More Answers

The Crayola, no mess markers and color books would be a good idea. There are also things called Wiki Sticks (they are wax coated yarn that can be shaped), I am not sure where to find them, if someone knows where please let me know. My kids got them at a restaurant once and all five of them kept busy the whole time we were there. Bring some new books w/ you. Maybe one of those write and erase magnetic boards too. Have fun! Oh, and maybe some little snacks like goldfish crackers.

In addition to all the other great suggestions, Colorforms cling to the plane window. You can buy them at dollar stores or Michaels. Take them out of their original box and carry them in a ziplock.

WOW. Traveling with small children is never easy. We travel a lot with our 2 children. Sometimes 12x a year. Being prepared is the best thing you can do. The plane ride is not the worst part. Its getting thru security. Things move fast. Little ones dont. Buy your juices etc after you pass security. We never arrived to early. You are on their clock. Once on the plane feed them. A DVD is a savior. We always gave the kids their own carry-on suitcase. The ones with wheels. All of their stuff went in their own case. They like that. If you have to set 5 mins around the 2 1/2 hr mark to let him walk to the bathroom or stand in his seat. Sitting for 3 hrs is a long time for some. All in all weve had successful flights. Good Luck

I am a pretty frequent traveler with my boys 2 1/2 & 9 months. I highly recommend getting a portable dvd player. They are pretty affordable. I think they start out at about $40 and go up from there. Bring baby einstien dvds or dvds of shows your son may like. Also, I recommend getting the big earphones, not the earbuds. Try testing some out on your son if you can to see which he is most comfortable with.

Also, my doctor recommended giving my sons benadryl prior to the flight. It helps them sleep. Check with your doctor to see if that is something he suggests.

back East is only 3 hours??? my plane ride to MA is longer than that! and my daughter will be 13 mos. I like the dvd player idea. I'm hoping she sleeps! :0)

My kids loved playdough, magnets, cars, snacks and coloring
Hope that this helps.


Hi there, we just took a 5 hour plane ride and no toy held his interest for very long. He is 22 months and I had him as a lap baby (free seat). Fortuanly for part of the ride there was an empty seat that he curled up in and fell asleep. I would say take some Bendaryl to go thing - they are messy or sticky and Humphrys teething tablets to keep him calm. The thing that worked the longest was headphones (over the ear) and my Ipod with his favorite movies. I also had a sling that could act like his blanket so when we didn't have an extra seat he really couldn't get off my lap. Good luck!

Hi A.,
Does your son watch anything on TV? A portable DVD player may be a good investment with some videos. Also, they sell an easel at Target that has a blackboard, a white board to draw on with markers, magnetic shapes and I think that is it but it is very compact and takes up very little room. These things kept my son entertained when we went back east last year. My son was a little oler than yours but I think they will still be good. Good luck.

I haven't flown with my toddler yet, we're flying in June, but we have taken several long car rides. A couple of his favorites make noise, but it's better than crying right? He likes his "little laptop" from walmart - it was about $10 and has some animals, shapes, numbers, and musical instruments. He also likes a little steering wheel toy, can't remember what it's called, but it may be too noisy for a plane anyway. Does your little one color? A sketch pad is great. My little boy likes to scribble with pens and pencils longer than he will with crayons. We also always take some wood puzzles. We've gotten several at walmart and similar stores for about $3 each with animals, cars, food, bugs, etc... He also likes his mini magna-doodle, the one we have was an .88 toy at walmart. (The only store in my little town.) Lastly, I found a small wooden bead toy - the kind with thick colored wire they slide the beads along. I know it has an actual name, but it's escaping me. It's small enough to sit on his lap while he uses both hands to move the beads. I think all kids love those. That one I also found at walmart, but I'm sure you can find these kinds of toys anywhere. Stacking toys are great as long as the pieces aren't too big or too small to play with in a little lap. (And probably yours) And, of course, books are excellent. We have several counting books like ten little ladybugs that have 3d objects in them and he loves those, plus you're helping him count. Good luck! All of our travel toys fit in one tote bag - used to be a diaper bag and has kept us sane for hours in the car. Hopefully you'll have a great time traveling with your little one.
A note about all the benadryl recommendations - great if you know it works for you, but my little guy has super sensitive skin and breaks out in hives from all kinds of things. Unfortunately, I have to give him benadryl. It has never made him tired or helped him sleep - in fact it does the opposite. He'll be super tired and can't sleep. Plus who really wants to give their children unnecessary medication. I know he's not the only child that responds this way, so if you haven't given it to yours before, I wouldn't try it the first time on the plane.

Can't wait to see the answers you get. I am also taking a trip this summer w/ my son who is about the same age and am scared about the plane ride as he is a VERY active little boy. I would also appreciate all the adive I can get on dealing with these curcumstances!!

Hi! The saving grace for traveling with my 2 kids has been to take their car seats in the plane. Now, I don't purchase a ticket yet for the little one but I always have the seat with. If there is no room (which has never happened in umpteeen trips) they can just check it at the gate. Yes, people look at me funny when I'm racing with 2 huge Britax Decathlon car seats piled in a jogging stroller, BUT- my kids are used to them from the car. They know they can't get out if they are buckled (since that's obviously the rule in the car) and they behave perfectly. The airline employees have never given me any trouble when I say "You know my kids are perfect as long as they can remain buckled in their own comfy car seat" I've never had to ask for special accomodations for seating- they gate agents have just done the arranging so that we are 2 paid seats next to one empty (which gets used for the baby's seat). This also saves us the pain of renting seats which are expensive, and often very abused and uncomfortable. Good Luck!

HI, i have been flying with my children since they were babies.... when i flew with my daughter last summer, she was 17 month old. we had to fly all the way to Massachussetts. i found that a portable dvd player with the wiggles worked well and also the magna-doodle and coloring.

:o) good luck!

Toys on a "leash" a good, so that when your child throws them, you can reel them back in!

Hi A.,
when we travel, I used to take coloring books for my children, but i realized that my son got bored really quickly. Now I take things like play-doh, small cars and other small things that he likes at home. I also take several reading books. I hope you have a great time!

Does he like books?? I say bring plenty of books, also if you have a portable dvd player you could bring that nd put on his favorite video. You may even be surprised and he may not need any of those things. We just flew with my toddler a couple month agao and all he wated to do was look out the window :) Good luck!!

take some favorite books, coloring supplies if he likes to color/draw, some flash or playing cards (concentration, old maid or go fish are easy games for little kids), and an age-appropriate book of games or puzzles (dot to dot, mazes, etc.) or a parent/child game book for both of you - also bring some snacks he likes as plane food is expensive and yucky - and ask him what toy(s) he wants to take along also so he has a favorite thing (spiderman action figure or whatever) - and be prepared to be entertaining (don't bring your own book out unless he's dozing) - have him sit by the window so he can check out the take off, clouds, landing, etc. and don't try to make him sit still all the time (let him stand up and look around sometimes) but stress that there are times he will have to be buckled up for safety - three hours on a plane isn't too bad if he isn't crying or whining - have fun!

I just flew with my 22 MO. We brought a couple little wooden puzzles (with knobs on the pieces). I put the pieces in baggies. Finger puppets, tiny books, a lift-the-flaps book filled with magazine cut-outs and tons of flaps ( i made this with card stock). We also brought a set of huge wooden beads to string on a rope. Oh! and don't forget a book of family pictures. Inna just loves seeing pictures of her daddy and dogs, and of course herself.
When I packed my carry-on I chose a bag with many pockets and thought small about toys to fill it. Little activities that will keep your little one entertained. you can even maybe find little plastic puzzles with shapes that fit into holes at the dollar store or maybe the Target dollar zone. I bought a couple packages of curious george puffy stickers, and my daughter just loved peeling them off and sticking them to the back of one of her puzzles. She also loves to draw, so we brought some crayons and a little note pad.
And sleeping.....don't count on it. I was getting onto a plane with my sleeping child and someone came up behind me talking very loudly and that was it. I hope you have better luck.
If you can choose your seat, remember that people with kids tend to sit in the front. So it may be quieter elsewhere.

I think electronic toys do not entertain kids for very long and they can get frustrated by them easily when cramped on a plane. So i would try to avoid noisy toys. Be prepared to sing songs, read books, bounce your kid on your knee. Let your little guy stand on the seat and flirt with passengers behind you. Good luck! Have a nice trip.

Any type of soft toys, or quiet toys. When my girls were 2 and 2 months we flew from N.C. to Cal. and I really regreted taking soft toys. When my 2 yr. old got tired and cross from not being able to get up, she threw her doll. Thank goodness the man she hit was VERY understanding. After that we only had soft toys on our flights.

Portable DVD player. I always brought my daughters favorite DVD and a new one. I would also have my girls pack their own carry on backpack. They filled it with a favorite stuffed toy, coloring books, crayons and snacks. I would also bring some suckers or candy that was a special treat.
Good luck.

Talk to your pediatrician about it, but I've always given my kids Benadryll on airplanes and they take a good nap.....easier on everyone!! If you're not comfortable with that, try toys like Aquadoodle, magnet boards, etch n sketch, and of course the easiest is a dvd player! 3 hours is not that long....good luck!

I read and used the idea of wrapping each toy and use it as a gift of good behavior given each hour. It really worked. I would wrap a book, small lego kits that can be completed in an hour, modeling clay with wax paper, game books etc. I really recommend it.

If you are concerned about his favorite toys being noisy, there was a really good idea in Parent's magazine a few months ago. Cover the speakers with that blue painters tape. You can still hear the sounds, but it muffles it so it won't disturb the other passengers on the plane. And never underestimate the power of a portable DVD player! Hope you have a great trip!

snacks are vital...a favorite stuffed animal or blanket vital as well...crayons, play dough, small puzzles, travel size etch a sketch or magna doodle ...books with colorful pictures, cars, my kids always liked rescue hero action figures, they're big for little hands..
have a good trip


Bring a new toy or one that's been put away for awhile. I bring those quiet books like pad the bunny. Aslo a snack, they ALWAYS get hungery. Good luck with the nap thing. We have taking my 18month old many times and he falls asleep just after take off. He get's really excited at the airport with so much to look at. Also dress him in something comfy.


Hi A.,
I've been traveling with my daughter since she was four months old, she is now 2 1/2 and has a four month old sister. The three of us took a trip last month.

I always get a little nervous too, but it always turns out it was for no reason. They are great on the plane. All I take with me is twistables (crayons), a new coloring book, a sippy cup and my oldest daughters favorite blanket. As far as snacks, she's always so excited about the snacks they provide! I try to make sure I sit by the window, they both enjoy looking out. My greatest advise would be to not worry if they fuss a little. Just stay relaxed. As we moms know, our kiddos can feel our anxiousness and frustration. Stay relaxed and your baby will too. Good luck and have fun!

PS. Don't worry about other people getting annoyed, if they don't like the fact that your baby is there, they should have drove to there destination.

For the sake of all those around you - NO "musical"/"computer voice" toys, unless he'll use headphones. Same with DVD players. The best things we found for our daughter (plane trips at age 8mos, 22mos, 2 1/2yrs, 4yrs, and 6 1/2yrs.) are magna doodle ('pen' is attached with a string, so she couldn't drop it); board books - esp. the kind with flaps and textures, she looked at those over and over again; stuffed animals; ziploc bags of finger foods for snack; as a baby the binky really helped her ears not to 'pop'; and a sippy cup for milk or juice once on board (they probably won't let you through security with liquid in the cup so you'll need to get it at the snack shop before boarding or once on board ask the stewardess). We also paid for her to have her own seat so we could bring her carseat on board, which made the ride much more comfortable for her (okay, I'll admit it helped me be comfortable too :) plus, we knew for sure we had it handy - even though luggage got 'misplaced' - when family came to pick us up at the airport.

Hope this helps,
Happy travels!


A friend of mine gave me a goldfish book and a bag of colored goldfish, that worked well. They also make a cherrio book. It won't work for an hour but it might buy you half hour if you really stretch it out. Just wait till they get really bored. Other wise just keep them busy before you break it out . That is the key. Have your bag of tricks ready.

We have flown to Alaska a couple of times now and are heading there again in 22 days :)
I swear by the portable DVD player, new/old toys, color wonder markers w/coloring books, snacks, spill proof cups and dum dums. I also have a 21 month old and he loves dum dums, so does my 5 year old. We use those for take off and landings, this way their ears adjust to the pressure change. I like them too. :)

I let my boys walk the isle when they need to, because it keeps them quite and they just need to get the wiggles out.

The biggest thing to suggest is that you as the "gate" person to see if there are any vacant seats that you can sit by; if you didn't buy him one. I usually say that I don't want to have someone stuck by us if there is any open seats.

A. - Important! Wrap all the toys, books, etc. That you take in gift wrap and ribbons. This slows the whole toy thing down and provides as much,if not more entertainment than the actual toy. Also, wrap some tiny boxes of different candies, like Nerds. These kept my daughter entranced for the entire wait to get on the airplane. I dont normally give her candies like this, so she was thrilled. Of course, don't over do the sugar. A sugar high is to be avoided!

Also, a DVD player with videos, my daughter likes Baby Einstein, is a MUST HAVE!

You will do fine!

We took a trip to MN (3 hours+ one way) and my daughter was about the same age as yours. We bought her a travel sized Magnadoodle, some new colorwonder paper and Markers, and a bunch of SNACKS! Their attention spans are so short we had to just keep switching activities. The other thing we did was travel with her in Jammies with her favorite blankie. Even though it was day time, she had the warm cuddly feel of relaxing in her jammies.

I saw several people on the plane with portable DVD players, with their kids using these big headphones that covered the whole ear. One kids headset looked like stuffed elephants... maybe you could buy a new Barney Video or Wiggles *grin*

HAve a safe trip!

I would take snacks, a portable DVD player and some coloring books and crayons.

omg...i don't know what toys will work best...probably new ones that he's never seen before. that's what my sister and i always do with our children. make a new toy backpack for him and don't show him until the plane takes off. and don't give him the toys all at once. surprises are fun! and books are great too. prepare yourself though, flying with baby is no fun at all :(

What does he love to do? Having worked for an airline years ago and traveled with my children, I have found that something they love but don't do every day is a good choice. If it is something that is an extra special treat their short attention spans can be lenghened. Choose maybe two or three different special activities so that you can switch. Also have treats, lots of them. You may find that another parent was not quite so well prepared and you can save a small seat mate from a meltdown. One more thing have a sippy cup or somthing he can suck on during take off and landing because the pressure change could make his ears hurt. Swallowing will help the ear "bubbles".

If your child likes to color, bring some crayons and a coloring book. My son liked bringing his Doodlepro on the plane. It is the smaller or medium sized one. He still uses it the car. My son also liked to bring some cars. I found a couple of larger plastic ones at Target that I have brought on many of our plane and car trips. They are easier to pick up or not fall as easily on an airplane than the smaller matchbox sized ones. Don't forget to bring some snacks too and a sippy cup to help with popping the ears on take off and landing. . My son and I used to fly from Texas to Chicago and those little things helped before we moved here to ABQ.

Hope this helps. Enjoy your trip.

My son is 21 months, also, and LOVES the cars movie. I would definately get a portable DVD player to use - for sanity purposes. My sister travels with her 2 boys (3 and 1), and swears by using bubbles to entertain them.

-Any new books....especially the touch and feel kind or the peek-a-boo kind.
-A few duplos (big legos) (10 or less) and a place to put them.
-Take construction paper, cut it into little squares and make a "book", then get a bunch of stickers and let him have at it.
-Small magna doodle
-Any small new toy that you've been wanting to get him hold out for the plan ride.

We're also flying back East this summer so I feel your pain. I read some advise to have a different toy for every 5 minutes. Yes, that's 12 toys an hour! Recently my 16 month old daughter has been fascinated by Mardi Gra beads! They're super light and small. Also try small books, crackers, pipe cleaners, stickers, post-its, suckers, leis, hair clips, cell phones. Bring something to drink because the descent will hurt his ears.
You'll aslo find the flgiht attendants and other passangers are quite forgiving.
Good luck!

My friend gave me an "airplane" package the first time I flew with my son. It was great.

1.Thin paper books to read.
2.Small travel sized "aqua doodle" to draw.
3.Small bag of gold fish crackers.
4.Baby sized photo album so that I could put pix of the people we were going to see inside for him to look at (not sure I had time to make that happen, though.
5.A four pack of crayons and a small coloring book.

We also walked the isles when we could. People were a little annoyed, but I didn't care. The kid needed to get out of his seat! (5 hour flight)

Since then, I bought a travel DVD player. I know, screen time should be limited, but it has made traveling MUCH easier.

3 words to save you lots of mess - COLOR WONDER MARKERS! Whoever created these things is a genius! They will not mark anywhere unlike crayons that will still mark. My son loved driving his cars/trains on the fold down table. DVD player or at least headsets are good. Snacks kept him busy for a bit too.

Good luck.

Portable DVD player. You can find a cheap on (under $100) and his/her favorite movie...the plane ride is totally FINE!

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