Need some airplane activities for toddlers? Check out this list!
It’s hard enough keeping a toddler happy and occupied each day. Now trap that toddler in a metal tube. Add a dash of high stress and a sprinkle of strangers judging your parenting, and well…. airplane rides with a toddler can seem pretty daunting.
Airplane activities for toddlers follow the same rules as regular activities – simple is best. So what are the best activities for toddlers on an airplane? I’m so glad you asked!
How do you keep a toddler busy on a plane ride?
Planning is key.
You can’t wake up the morning of the flight and decide this is the time to come up with activities. But I’m guessing you know that because here you are – reading this post before your trip. Great first step!
Think about what your toddler likes.
Think about their preferences.
Think about what’s quiet, and simple, and easy to travel with.
First – manage your expectations…
I knew this wasn’t going to be a normal day for us. Travel days are survival mode.
Cut yourself a lot of slack. At home, my kids watch one TV show per day. On an airplane… I would have been THRILLED for them to watch TV the full flight.
Is that what I normally want? GOODNESS NO.
But on an airplane, it’s survival mode. I’m adjusting my expectations.
We had enough screens per child (either through iPads and phones or seat back TVs), but I know kids won’t just sit and watch TV that long.
They get antsy.
They need breaks.
They need something to do.
So I brought activity supplies with to help my kids have a fun, stress free plane ride.
Here’s what I brought for my three kids:
On this flight, my kids were 5, 3.5, and 26 months old. I brought one small fabric bag containing supplies to share between the three.
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- Construction paper
- Post-it notes
- Dot stickers
- Small bag of tiny animals
- Matchbox style cars
- 1 black marker
Why I brought each item…
Post-Its: These are awesome and kids love to draw on them, stick them around, hide stuff under them, and use them in games. Post-it notes are a little bit magical. You’d be surprised what all can be done with them
Tape: In case I needed to secure any pieces of paper to tray tables – no one likes a paper slipping out of place.
Animals: These are my daughter’s favorites and will occupy her for hours. She lines them up, feeds them, imagines worlds with them… Even beyond the airplane, these tiny animals were the only toys my three kids played with in the hotel room.
Crayons & Paper: Art is always an option. My youngest loves coloring on Post-It notes, my big two have fun coloring on large paper. This satisfies all art needs.
Matchbox Cars: Ooooh, we’ll get to that… I had some fun coming up with an activity using them. I always pack a few cars wherever we go.
Dot Stickers: My forever and always favorite activity supply. Not only did I bring some dot sticker activities, but I also brought a lot of extra sheets. Dot stickers provide countless modes of entertainment.
RELATED: Check out a list of my favorite dot sticker activities.
What activities can you do with a toddler?
In no particular order, here are some of the activities we did on the airplane to pass the time.
TINY ANIMAL LINE UP
Make line ups all over the plane – across the arm rest, the tray table, the seats… Tiny animals are perfect for building small worlds on the airplane and just the right size.
I made a sheet of equations and sticker answers. This was perfect for my oldest and a great break between movies.
I made this alphabet sheet for my daughter. I wrote capital letters on the paper and gave her a sheet of lower case letters. I also made another sheet of capital letters for her to go back over the lower case letters (yes, doubling up dot stickers!!).
Tracing with dot stickers has always been a hit here so I included a few sheets like this car one. My idea for my 26 month old was for him to cover the black lines with dots.
His idea was use two full sheets of stickers on just the tires… Oh well! It kept him busy!!
I brought along a black marker just in case I needed to draw up more of these types of sheets on the airplane and I did. Anything the kids could request – I loved making for them!
So much fun to make this one!! I taped together two sheets of paper and drew a road map onto it. I packed a few small cars just for this activity, knowing that all three of my kids would have a blast playing with this map.
They even added the little animals to it – those always come in handy!
My absolute favorite (and most used) kid app is STARFALL ABC. It’s free and doesn’t use Wifi or Data. It’s AMAZING.
I highly recommend this app for littles to age 8 on an airplane as a great way to keep them busy. Starfall is my favorite kind of screen time – slow moving, softly paced, and simple. It’s not the fast, flash, and wildness of YouTube. It’s perfect for times like these!
Looking for more airplane activities for toddlers?
Here’s a list of some other amazing ideas for toddlers on airplanes:
- 40 Toy Ideas for the Airplane – Barefoot Blonde
- Airplane Busy Bags for Toddlers – Crazy Joy
- Airplane Activities for Kids – Frugal Coupon Living
- Airplane Activities for a Three Year Old – Tales of a Teacher Mom
Good luck on your travels!!
Remember – cut yourself and your toddler some slack on your travels. This is survival mode, not the usual day-to-day parenting.
Airplane activities for toddlers can help so much on the journey – and don’t forget: it’ll all be worth it once you get there.
What are your favorite airplane activities for toddlers?