In this article, you will find a carefully curated list of the best toys for toddlers on plane. All the toys for toddlers on airplane mentioned-below are travel-friendly. You can choose any of the items mentioned below to keep your toddler busy on an airplane.
When I became a mommy, so many people came to me and told me that I would have to take a bit of a break from traveling as traveling with a baby is quite a hassle. But as you would know, I wasn’t buying that advice! We at Couple of Journeys have firmly believed that traveling is fun, simple, and accessible to anyone who wants to travel.
Therefore within the first year of my baby’s life itself, we took her around on almost a dozen flights. Of course, at that time, she was mostly breastfed and was far less mobile. That meant that I didn’t have to worry too much about keeping her entertained and cheerful.
But come toddlerhood, we had to research how to entertain toddlers on a plane and look for activities for toddlers on a plane. But now, after a few trips to local and international destinations, we know what to do to enjoy a fuss-free time with a toddler on plane.
That’s precisely why I have now decided to share my experience with you all! In this article, you will find the perfect list of toys for toddlers on the plane!
Our top pick from the best plane toys for toddlers
I have decided to update this section after every flight journey with the toy that seems to work best for my daughter! So on our recent 5.5-hour daytime flight (pre-lockdown), here is what kept her the most occupied –
This beautiful product by Melissa and Doug is a must in every parent’s handbag while traveling. It is absolutely mess-free and super engaging. Read more about it in detail below.
Best toys for toddlers on a plane – A quick overview
If you are a busy parent with barely any time to read my detailed insights on the best toys for toddler on a plane, let me not keep you waiting.
Here is a quick overview of my top recommendations of the best plane toys for toddlers –
- Most favorite from the best toys for toddlers on a plane (Overall) – Water Wow / Tegu Blocks
- Best toys for older toddlers on a plane – Magnetic Puzzles
- Best toys for younger toddlers on a plane – Reusable stickers /
- Best interactive airplane toys for toddlers – Finger Puppets/Disney books
- The ultimate toy for kids on plane – Kindle Fire HD
Things to remember when buying the best airplane toys for toddlers
I know the heading makes it look as if buying toys to keep toddlers busy on a plane is a difficult long-drawn process. So let me assure you that it’s not!
I am sure you would already know what to look for in travel toys for toddlers on a plane. But just read the section below as a quick, handy checklist.
Traveling with toddlers usually involves carrying a stroller (read all about the best stroller here) and over and above your hand luggage. Therefore, to stay within the hand luggage limits and to also make the airport screenings easier, the best toys for toddlers on airplanes are those that can fit in a small handbag.
If your toddler is old enough to carry a small backpack, it is best if you put all of the best toys for the plane journey in the backpack itself instead of bringing them in your hand luggage.
When I say that you need to buy small toys for toddlers on a plane, I mean toys that aren’t usually longer than 7-8 inches (about 17-20 inches).
That is also why most of the toys mentioned below fit within those dimensions.
Toddlers, unlike babies, get bored quicker. They like to lay their hands on everything they can get a hold of, and therefore simple items like a small rattle or a soft toy don’t work well with toddlers.
Therefore, when looking for toys for toddlers on planes, you should look at engaging items. Ideally, toys with different textures, shapes, patterns, lots of pictures, attractive colors work well with toddlers.
Number of parts
A flight journey with a toddler can be quite challenging. The last thing you want to keep doing on your flight is to keep bending down to pick up the parts of the toys your toddler is playing with.
I remember how upset one of the toddlers on my last flight was when one of his puzzle pieces got stuck in his seat and broke when his parents tried to pull it out.
If you don’t want to run such risks, it is best to carry toys with fewer parts and a limited number of elements.
In fact, that’s exactly why I think that the best toys for kids on plane are busy boards or books!
The best toys for toddlers on airplanes should be ones that come with a super modest price tag! When flying with a toddler, you are often pulling things out from your handbag and putting stuff back in. That is also why accidentally leaving a toy behind or damaging one on the flight is quite common.
Therefore, don’t go overboard with your spending when looking for the best toys to bring on an airplane.
If you are heading out on really long flights, remember that every toy you pack in that bag must be new. I am not suggesting you spend exorbitantly on toys; you could even repurpose regular household items like old spoons or colorful papers as your travel toys.
But no matter what approach you take, if you have to spend many hours with an active toddler on a flight, you should only carry toys that your toddler has never seen before!
(Of course, you shouldn’t show all the new toys to your toddler at once. Keep pulling out one new toy at a time, and that too only when your toddler is bored and about to throw a tantrum!)
The best toys for toddlers on airplane should not be loud or squeaky and should definitely not be musical.
Please do not carry toys that will disturb fellow passengers. You could pack these toys with you for your final destination, but please do not use these toys on the plane.
Suggested read: Best backpacks for travel
The best toys for toddlers on plane – A complete list!
It’s time to dive straight into my list of the best toys for the plane.
Remember that I am not recommending toys for baby on plane here. The travel toys listed below are specifically for toddlers or more active kids.
I absolutely love this busy board. It is most definitely one of my all-time toppers among all the toys for the plane!
Even though it is a bit larger than the other toys on this list, the number of engaging elements this one board packs in it is enough to keep your little one busy for a couple of hours. The zips, buckles, belts, hooks, and the numbers and letters are all perfect for engaging a toddler annoyed with the never-ending flight journey!
(Quick insight – I usually pack away the letters and the numbers and only bring those out once we reach our final destination. Even without the letters and numbers, I have found that the busy board has enough elements to keep a 1-2 year old busy!)
The Water Wow books are essentially magic coloring books. But what makes them great is that they come in travel-friendly sizes and that the coloring brush sits in an appropriately dedicated slot in the book minimizing the risk of losing it or forgetting it.
Plus, the books come in many different prints and activity options. You can easily pick one that is most suited for your child.
(A quick tip: Fill the water in the brush after the security check to avoid running into trouble during scanning.)
Finger puppets are the best way of carrying soft toys effectively for travel. Yes, you can put the large, chunky soft toys in your checked baggage and choose cute finger puppets to keep your toddler entertained.
In my opinion, finger puppets are particularly useful for consoling younger toddlers throwing tantrums or being fussy. They come in a large number of varieties and attractive colors. If used wisely, they make for the best toys for any 1 year old on plane!
That’s precisely why this list of the best toys for toddler on plane will be incomplete without a mention of small colorful cars.
However, when choosing cars to carry on a plane, avoid pull back cars because they invariably go racing underneath seats and topple over on the laps of co-passengers. Similarly, avoid Hot Wheels. Why? Because they are expensive and you may lose a couple on the flight!
In fact, this set of 36 simple metal and plastic cars is just perfect.
For travel, I particularly love the reusable stickers by OOLY. The size of the sticker pad is perfect for slipping into your purse or a travel backpack. The material used is also excellent, given the affordable price of these stickers.
Carrying these reusable stickers and creating lovely scenes using them can be one of the most entertaining activities for toddlers on plane.
For toddlers that get bored quickly, carrying these stickers is an absolute-must.
Crayons and notebook / Doodle board
If you do not have enough time to look for the best toys for plane, the one hack you can safely rely on is that of packing a few crayons and a small notepad in your handbag.
A quick tip: Attach the stylus to the board while using to protect the stylus from falling down or getting lost. But that said, you could even use the Board with a finger should the stylus get lost.
You need not carry a traditional puzzle set if you fear you will lose a piece and your toddler will get upset.
Instead one of the best puzzle ideas for toddlers on plane is to carry a puzzle book. A puzzle book is a book to which toddlers can attach various shapes and make many different figures and designs. It is engaging and collaborative.
Note that this airplane toy is suitable for older toddlers.
Disney books / Board books
When my little one was just about a year old, I relied upon books to keep my toddler busy on books. Books always seemed to work much better than the other supposed ‘best toys for 1 year old on plane.’
Small board books fit in most handbags, do not come with complicated, delicate parts. Also, books are not noisy. Books are great for bonding with your little one. Books are comforting.
A quick tip: Carry a book your baby has never seen before for best engagement.
(A picture of my favorite book – the Hello World is put up above, and a link to it is below!)
On a recent flight, I also saw how much kids love this simple threading block. It is one of the best travel activities for toddlers on a plane.
The small apple block with its big holes beautifully stimulates the young mind. It takes the toddler’s mind away from the challenges of travel.
It is an excellent way of making a toddler stay in place. If you have an older toddler, this threading block should be your numero uno choice.
These simple sticky threads in rainbow shades that do not feel sticky when used and do not leave stains on surfaces are capable of endlessly promoting a toddler’s imagination.
These do not come with a manual, and how your toddler can use them depends entirely on him.
But what your toddler creates using Wikkistix is not important. What is important is that Wikkistix scores super high among toys to entertain toddler on plane.
Using flash cards is a great way to entertain toddlers on plane. The attractive images on the cards instantly draw the attention of toddlers. Plus, the small size means that toddlers can also handle the flash cards easily in the restricted seat-space on flights.
The only rule that I swear by is that of pulling out only a few flash cards at a time. This way, you can ensure that you have enough material to keep your toddler busy throughout the journey.
But I am making an exception and adding it here because of how incredibly engaging, educational, and entertaining Geoboards are for young and old toddlers alike.
First of all, Geoboards are small and extremely portable, and secondly, to make use of Geoboards, you only need a bunch of little rubber bands and no other fancy expensive parts.
This means that carrying a Geoboard on the flight will provide an excellent sit-down activity for your toddler.
Although quiet books are usually a bit more expensive than busy boards, parents prefer quiet books because they are more travel-friendly. Moreover, the book format usually appeals more to the curious minds of toddlers.
I particularly love this pack of quiet books, and I like to carry the smaller ones from the pack with me on flights and the larger ones in my check-in luggage.
These small 8-piece magnetic wooden blocks are so entertaining and instantly bring out the creativity of your toddler.
They are super small and fit perfectly in a toddler’s hand. Carrying these blocks is also convenient since they come in a cute pocket pouch.
Moreover, these blocks can engage a toddler of any age. Thus Tegu blocks qualify for the title of the best toys for a 2-year-old on a plane as well as for the best toys for a 1-year-old on a plane as well as a perfect travel partner for older toddlers and kids.
I was really unsure about including a tablet in the list of airplane toys for toddlers. But after a lot of back and forth, I decided to go forward and include it on this list.
The primary reason why I am including a tablet on this list is that it works the best at keeping a toddler engaged. Of course, allowing screen-time is definitely not recommended or commendable.
But we need to take into consideration the fact that when we head out on long journeys, we are greatly inconveniencing an active toddler. A great way to keep a toddler happy in this scenario is by making an exception to the ‘no screen’ rule.
If you already an iPad you could always allow your toddler to use it. But if you are looking for a tablet specifically for your child, the one I love is the Kindle Fire HD. It is much cheaper than the iPad but guarantees as much fun. Make sure you download the best free apps for toddlers on a plane before your journey though!
As difficult as traveling with a toddler may seem, you should remember that ultimately it is just a question of a few hours. If you plan your way in advance, you will be better prepared to handle your on-flight toddler.
You will feel confident to take him around with you to all the wonderful places every kid should travel to, no matter how close or far they are from your hometown!
In fact, I am sure that the toys mentioned above will help you tremendously in keeping your toddler busy on a plane. If you are confused about which toy to opt for, here are my top recommendations based on age –
Best toys for one year old on plane – Finger Puppets
Best toys for 2 year old on plane – Esjay Busy Board
Best toys for 3 year old on plane – Wikkistix
Best toy for any age – Tegu Blocks
The ultimate toy to keep a toddler on plane busy – Kindle Fire HD
Let me know which toy keeps your toddler busy on planes. Also, if you have any more travel tips for toddlers on plane, do share with us in the comments below.