Between the long wait times before even getting on board, and keeping them happy, seated and well-behaved throughout the flight, there’s no questioning why parents are often left feeling exhausted by the very thought of flying with toddlers. But hear me out, because it isn’t all bad!
Traveling with toddlers creates lots of unique learning opportunities, helps them be more adaptable and creates tons of precious memories that last a lifetime. But how do you make the challenging parts of traveling with toddlers more manageable, and even more enjoyable? Well, a little planning can go a long way, and so can the right toddler travel essentials and expertly selected toddler travel toys for airplanes.
Anyone who has spent any time with a toddler knows that one thing they do not do is sit still, and there’s no amount of convincing (read: pleading) that can get them to. This is actually precisely what makes this age group so challenging to handle on flights and other confined spaces for prolonged periods of time, over others.
However, all this really means is that the toys you choose for them have to be especially engaging. They should also be small, so you can pack a few and rotate between them.
Plus, if you think about it, this is a wonderful opportunity for some one-on-one time with your toddler. One of the greatest advantages of traveling by plane is that you get to sit next to your tot the whole time; nothing and nobody can ever be as entertaining to your little one as their favorite playmate! And after all that playing, who knows, you might just get your toddler to sleep on the plane!
When choosing the toddler travel toys themselves, just remember that they need to be light and compact enough to fit in your carry-on or your toddlers travel backpack. They should also be easy to carry, take out and put away quickly, and durable enough to handle the rigors of travel. Bonus points, of course, if they have an educational aspect to them!
We know, it’s a tall order. But don’t fret, because we have a specially curated list of our favorite airplane travel toys for toddlers to simplify all of this into just a handful of must-haves. We also have a ton more options in our toddler airplane activities and our screen-free toddler travel toys.
Pull back toys are great toys for plane travel with toddlers. They're cute, travel-sized, easy-to-use and require no batteries to operate. I'm sure you even remember playing with a few yourself as a child! The Yeonha "Pull Back & Go" car toys are an assortment of 12 mini construction vehicles and race car toys that take this classic a step further!
These fun travel toys for airplane travel are made of colorful plastic and are easy to operate, allowing little ones to race them with a simple pull and release mechanism. Watch your kid’s delight as the little cars zoom across the floor (or airplane tray table) noiselessly and far more effectively than any other toy this size.
The best part is that the vehicles are made with realistic details like joints that actually move and swing, so your child can play with them however they please, even when they aren't in the mood to race. While they are great for keeping kids occupied on a plane, they are also perfect for taking to the playground or the beach, due to their size and portability. Just drop these toddler travel toys for airplane travel in your carry-on luggage and you're ready to go!
If your toddler is more into planes, then consider these toy planes for your travel toys for toddlers on airplane!
Gel Clings might just be one of the best toddler toys for airplane travel. These cute dog shaped gels are well suited for learning, entertainment, as well as decoration. Just peel them off and stick them onto any surface you wish, like airplane or car windows, fridges, bathtubs, walls and more.
Little fingers love the thickness of these vibrant stickers, and they're also easy to reuse, remove and replace over and over again, without leaving behind any residue or mess.
There are plenty of options like these for those that prefer insects gel clings.
For toddlers that love to draw (or scribble) a boogie board is an easy, lightweight air travel toy for toddlers. Your toddler will probably love the rainbow colors and erasing the pictures with a push of a button the best!
Don't be afraid to share toddler travel toys between siblings! Older kids will love tracing the fun Disney templates!
Is this your toddlers first long haul flight? Maybe it's been a while since you've been on an airplane with your toddler.
While we love toddler coloring books that have large, simple pictures for toddlers to color, this My Plane Trip coloring book is the perfect opportunity to talk through the flight with your toddler.
Don't worry if your toddler seems too young to understand, focus on repetition instead. Go through the book and color some pages before your flight. Talk about all the aspects (taking off, wearing seat belts, etc). You'll be amazed how much your toddler retains.
Then you can pull out this familiar book on the plane and do some more coloring together!
We love the Melissa & Doug Reusable Sticker Books, but they are just too big for the airplane tray table. Instead, these puffy sticker activity books are the ideal size for airplane. Your toddler will love creating and recreating the scenes.
The best part is that there are so many fun options, that you are guaranteed to find something that your toddler will love.
These waterproof sticker books feature over 100 reusable stickers across 3 different scenes and multiple themes, making them ideal air travel toys for toddlers. Kids will have a blast peeling and pasting stickers of animals, dinosaurs, vehicles; farm animals, seasons, insects; and ocean animals, my body and space on the different backgrounds provided.
When they’re done setting up a scene, starting over is as simple as peeling them off and using them again, wherever they like! The vivid imagery paired with the corresponding words in the sticker books help to build vocabulary, while encouraging the use of their creativity and imagination. Plus, the books even come with carrying handles, making them easy for kids to handle on their own.
Toddlers will also enjoy using them to express their big personalities on surfaces like mirrors, windows, glass and more. And the best part? They leave no mess or residue behind, making them some of the most ideal travel toys for toddlers on planes and other locations while on the go!
Coloring books are an excellent toddler activity for the airplane. You can spend time talking about the pictures and coloring with your toddler. Or your toddler might prefer to work on it all on their own.
Either way, coloring books make easy travel toys for toddlers on airplanes that are easy to pack.
You won't want to be picking up your toddlers crayons from the floor the entire time. To keep from constantly picking things up, travel with one of these toddler airplane beds and some triangular crayons. It's the little things that count sometimes!
Another great options is these super jumbo crayons from Melissa and Doug which are totally non-toxic and made of break-resistant plastic, not wax. The triangular shape of the crayons makes them easier for little hands to hold, and they are the perfect kind to carry during travel because they don’t roll away and keep ending up on the ground!
Storytime with your kiddo just got a lot more fun with this delightful set of animal puppets! These make great toys for airplane travel with toddlers as they are designed to fit both your toddler's fingers as well as your own with ease. These tiny puppets are made from a soft velvet material, and ensure hours of comfortable and fun pretend-play.
This animal finger puppet set comes with 20 different animal puppets like the hippopotamus, elephant, rabbit, duck, cow, dog, panda, bear, frog, mouse, turtle, crab and more, your tiny tot will develop a curiosity for learning about the world around them in no time.
So, whip these little guys out and use them without any hassle anywhere you go; all you need is your hand and a little imagination!
One of the most popular and best toys for airplane travel with toddlers, the Water Wow! activity pads from Melissa and Doug provide your little one the joy of screen-free playtime with no mess! Watch as they delve into the world of art with this set of six pads that feature colorful illustrations across six different themes – Sports, Occupations, Adventure, Safari, Under the Sea, and Animals.
The books are great for promoting fine motor skills for toddlers aged two and up, but they're even better for endless fun times. Each pad comes with four reusable pages and a refillable water pen. The chunky pen is easy for kids to hold and store neatly in the front cover of the book. Kids love using it to color in the scenes, and revealing more details and vibrant colors with each stroke.
The Color Wonder Art Kit are one of the best toddler toys for plane travel as it encourages children to create colorful, mess-free art. The kit's art supplies are easy to use and don't stain hands, furniture, or fabric. The fact that they only work on the special Color Wonder Paper that comes included in the kit makes them super safe to use on-the-go no matter where you are.
With two 30-Page Color Wonder Pads, 10 Classic Color Wonder Mini Markers, and 10 Pastel Color Wonder Mini Markers, toddlers will have hours and hours of fun times to look forward to. Just know that the ink does take a little time to dry and show up on the paper, but most children love the results and feel it's part of the magic!
If your toddler is loving baby shark, then this is the Color Wonder kit for you!
These mini animals are a great choice for toddler travel toys for plane travel! Small, cute and incredibly detailed, this 54-piece Animal Play Set has everything from wild animals, farm animals, trees, fences and even grass for kids to get imaginative and creative with playtime. The small plastic animals are finished with non-toxic paint, feature no repeats, and are great for sensory play.
The set includes a cheetah, elephant, gazelle, giraffe, gnu, gorilla, hippo, lion, rhinoceros, tiger, zebra and more! Sit down with them and teach them about their animal friends through storytelling and role-play, and then let them take over. They won't even notice the time slip by and you'll get a little time to yourself!
Buckles toys are ideal toys for air travel with toddlers and Buster Square is one of the most popular. Not only does it feature 6 different colorful buckles in clasp style for “clicking” and “snapping” away, but is also geared to help them develop their fine motor skills like their pincer grasp and hand eye coordination.
Buckle toys like Buster Square come with brightly colored numbers and shapes embroidered on its side for additional learning, and a hidden easy-glide zipper pocket for storing whatever your little one wants.
If you're looking for a more compact version of the original, then the Mini Buster Square is the perfect choice. It has the same features minus three buckles and the hidden zipper, making it the ideal option for when you're trying to pack light.
Board books make ideal travel toys for toddlers on airplanes. You can use them to help your toddler get to sleep on the plane, or your toddler can spend time looking at the pictures. They are perfect for talking through, pointing out pictures, words and colors.
Democa makes toys that encourage kids to learn while having fun, and their "My Quiet Book" is no exception! With a belief in creating toys that educate and inspire children while positively impacting our environment, their toys often feature thoughtful designs and plenty of opportunity for quiet play. Making them some of the best travel toys for toddlers on airplanes.
This Montessori toy, for instance, features 9 different activities that children will love interacting with through touch and feel. This is fantastic news for parents, because sensory play otherwise tends to be quite the messy affair.
With lots of cute, attached elements like zippers, buttons and buckles, your kid will get to use this book to engage in activities like matching shapes and getting dressed, without even having to get out of their seat!
Parents will also love that this durable toy is machine washable, comes with a zippered washing bag, and retains its shape and quality even after multiple washes. Fun, practical for travel, and easy to maintain, this book has it all!
Wikki Stix is the ultimate craft toy that promotes creativity, building and imagination. Made of nothing more than yarn covered in food-grade, non-toxic wax, these colorful, soft and pliable sticks stick to each other with ease to allow for hours of 3-D creativity. With no right or wrong way to play with them; no mess, clean-up or prep involved; and even a convenient carrying tube that comes included, these simply are one of the best toddler travel toys for airplanes out there!
Any mistakes made are also easy to fix as the sticks can be peeled off and re-positioned without any trouble at all. These will be popular toys for airplane travel for toddlers!
We love this apple threading toy and it's easy to include in your toddler toys for air travel. This simple pocket-sized lacing toy is made from super durable and child-safe materials, and is guaranteed to keep your toddler entertained while you're on the go. See the curiosity in their eyes as you help them lace the caterpillar through the different holes in the apple block for the first time.
Before long, you'll find your children playing the simple game while pretending to be a caterpillar themselves! Watch them be impressed with themselves for their ability to make different patterns with the string, and let time slip away as they busy themselves carefully unwinding it to start over again.
The Montessori toy is great for developing hand-eye coordination, fine motor, cognitive and visual perception skills in young children. It's also a great starting point for learning essential skills and concepts like eating, shoe tying and buttoning, all while helping to improve their patience, imagination and concentration. Add this one to your travel toys for toddlers on a plane!
Plane rides with toddlers require plenty of snacks! They are a great way to occupy your toddler even for short spurts of time. We LOVE these snack catchers because it allows your toddler to be independent, without you having to deal with a mess on the floor of the airplane!