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Airplane Activities For Kids: Jet-Set Creativity

Airplane Activities for kids - Feature Image

Flight and kids have extraordinary relationships!

The moment the flight is on a taxi, if it’s daytime, I will hear, “What’s there for snacks?” or, “Can I use the bathroom?” or, “I’m hungry!“.

I guess the motion of the taxi sets off Hungrysaurus and Boreosaurus.

So, when I start packing, the first things I include on the list are the items I will carry for my daughter to keep her engaged on a flight.

I have heard howls and “no”s and been kicked several times in flight by a kid, which shook me up from my meditation. (read deep sleep)

I never want to bother somebody deeply meditating in flight like me! I understand them, and at the same time, I can imagine what torture the tiny tots or even the young kids go through when tied with a belt and buckled to one seat during a four or six-hour flight.

So here is a list of airplane activities for kids that have helped my daughter to fly on a long-haul flight or a shorter one in various phases of her life.

Your kids might enjoy these airplane activities and be less fussy about sitting in one place forever (that’s how it is for them!)

Airplane activities for kids in different phases

You must buy age-appropriate activities to engage your kids in them.

Activities for babies (6 months – 1 yr)


Activities for babies - Toys

Favorite toys can sometimes keep a baby busy, or maybe a brand new one can help them spend time with it and not quickly get bored.

I always used a surprise toy on the plane for my daughter.

But before buying one for your baby, the thing that you should consider is,

  • It should not be very overwhelming.
  • It shouldn’t be large or heavy. If it is large, it takes up a lot of space in your luggage. If it is heavy, if thrown away, it might hurt them or other passengers.
  • Should not produce mechanical or musical sounds so that it annoys your co-passengers.
  • Also, if you buy tiny toys when thrown away (which definitely will be), they will be very hard to find, building up frustration in your kid.

So, if you find anything out, that’s great! Otherwise, you can consider this spinner and this sensory toy an option!

Plush toys

Activities for babies - Plush toys

A favorite plush toy, small to medium-sized (not the jumbo ones!), can help your baby calm down or fall asleep.

But, yes, bring a washable one so you can wash them squeaky clean after several throwaways in the bed of germs.

We have our favorite travel puppy who can be washed and reused.

We didn’t want our bedtime buddy to be carried everywhere, so we got a travel buddy instead whom we could wash and reuse every time.

Favorite books

Activities for babies - Books

We always carry our favorite books wherever we go. I have always carried two small board books that are usually our favorites.

That said, favorites can change all of a sudden!

So good luck with that!


Activities for babies - teethers

The new teeth can cause a nuisance anytime during the flight, especially with the fluctuation in air pressure. The pain and discomfort can double up for the teething babies.

Carrying a pair of teethers can help soothe the discomfort caused by teething in babies.

Airplane Activities for Toddlers (1-3)

Toddlers love to explore the world around them. It is difficult for them to remain seated and be quiet! They are not programmed to be well-behaved by adult standards nor understand the “seat belt on” sign.

To stop them from crying out loud because you are not letting them do what they should, you can bribe them with a few things, which could at least look like a consolation prize.

Boogie board

Activities For Toddlers - Boogie board

If your toddler has learned to scribble, this is the best thing you can carry in their backpack.

My daughter can remain glued to the boogie board without even uttering one word for at least twenty minutes to half an hour.

Now she has one boogie board at her home and one at Grandpa’s place, so she doesn’t have to carry it back and forth.

It’s a great thing to carry during a flight.

Wikki Stix

Activities For Toddlers - Wikki Stix

Wikki stix, as we know, has endless possibilities. They can be a toddler’s best friends for hours on the flight.

If an older sibling travels with them, they can engage with your toddler with Wikki Stix.

On some of my trips to SFO and LA, I carried Wikki Stix for my then toddler, and of the many shapes she created, I distinctly remember she made a tree, a bag, and an alien, which she claimed was a man!

But there’s also a downside to it. Wikki stix are so thin once they fall on the floor, it’s challenging to search for them and pick them up.


Activities For Toddlers - stickers

How can I say what great love my daughter has for stickers? Wherever she goes, she has one fixed on sticker sheets.

There’s a sticker on almost every corner of our home.

The sticker sheets, sticker activity pads, stickers, I don’t know what!

So, the sticker is a must-activity for my daughter on the flights! Even now. I can’t blame her. It’s in her genes.

It’s lightweight, and usually, store-bought stickers come out quickly wherever they are stuck.

We bought our daughter a world map sticker activity book for our 21-hour-long flight. She was super busy throughout the flight!

Toddler Busy Board

Activities For Toddlers - busy board

This toy can keep your baby-turned-toddler busy most of the time.

I have seen my niece busy in flight for one hour straight without being fussy.

Just a bit of help now and then can turn a boring flight into a fun journey for them.

This is one of the must-have toys for 18-month-olds to 2.5-year-olds.

Magnetic Puzzles

Activities For Toddlers - magnetic puzzles

If your toddler loves to solve puzzles, magnetic puzzles are no mess. The pieces will stick to the board, so no worries!

It’s always better to buy mini-puzzles so they don’t take up much space.

water wow or crayons

Activities For Toddlers - Crayons

Melissa and Doug Water Wow are fantastic for a journey coloring activity. If you haven’t tried it, you should definitely try it!

It’s an absolute no-mess thing! No crayons, no crawling under the seat and stretching out your hand while your hips are aching like a thousand devils from sitting in one position for hours together!

If you don’t want to spend any more, crayons are your go-to.

Pack crayons and a coloring pad; you can sip on your coffee for 15 minutes to half an hour.


Activities For Toddlers - books

If your toddler likes books, ensure you carry a couple of new or favorite books in their backpack.

I always carried books where I couldn’t make space for other activities.

Since my daughter loves to read, I carry books everywhere.

Some of her favorites were Little Blue Truck’s Springtime, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, Grumpy Monkey, The Night Before Christmas, Where Do Diggers Sleep at Night, If You Happen to Have a Dinosaur, and many more.

Activity pads

Activities For Toddlers - Activity pads

Activity pads come in all shapes and sizes.

Being a parent or the primary caregiver, you must know what intrigues that little brain by now. Either buy it from a dollar store or order online. It should be on your premium packing list.

Activity books can keep that little brain and hands busy for hours when properly rested.

Airplane activity for Pre-schoolers(3-5)

Since Pre-schoolers can communicate better than toddlers, your anxiety should be reduced substantially.

You can ask them what they would like to carry with them as an entertaining option on the flight.


Activity For Pre-Schoolers - screen time

Since my pre-schooler has little to no screen time at home, I go easy on the in-flight screen time.

It isn’t easy to carry everything, including endless snacking options for a long-haul flight.

It is utterly impractical to think that a kid will not want to spend more time on screen when they do not even have the freedom of mobility.

They have no friends, cannot sing or talk loudly, cannot wiggle jiggle, and do not even have the liberty to poke around, which they usually do; what would they do?

After spending an hour or two being bored, now what?

My child spent 13 hours on the flight and 13+ hours in transit before that. What could I expect an almost 5-year-old girl to do?

She had spent time reading books, napping, eating, behaving, and doing activities; she asked for screen time, and without even thinking, I said yes. She deserved it!

Kids glued to the screen for hours would surely need other engagement.

You can think of bringing some stuff along with you that might help.

Activity book

Activity For Pre-Schoolers - Activity book

Buy a new activity book or pad that fits into your or their backpack.

Also, do not forget to bring washable crayons along with them so they can color, and you can wipe off the streaks and scribbles here and there that were scribbled out of monotony.

I got her a book, Gigantosaurus: The Roarsome Colouring & Activity Book, from Dollarama. I hid it and revealed it to her only at Montreal airport!

She loves dinosaurs. She just loved the book! The book became inseparable; she carried it everywhere on our trip.

Find something intriguing.


Activity For Pre-Schoolers - books

Kids who love reading will always want to read wherever they are!

Surprise them with a new book or bring something along which is their favorite.

I bought two books for her during her last trip. She read the books thrice before finally deciding to watch a movie.


Activity For Pre-Schoolers - snacks

This is the most essential thing to pack to shoo away the monotony that will hit your pre-schooler.

Pack a variety of dry snacks for your flight.

Buy mini packs because they are not hungry but bored. So, if you buy large quantities of the same variety, it will not work.

Buy snacks in small portions, but give them at least 5/8 options.

I had granola bars, rice crispies, savory muffins, fruits, nuts, and many more.

If you opt for the kid’s meal option when booking a long-haul flight, they’ll provide the kids with a few options for snacks, which you can safely pack if not used at all for later on.

Snacks are the most essential part of the journey.


Activity For Pre-Schoolers - Notebooks

If they know how to write, you can hand them a notebook and ask them to note whatever they like throughout the journey.

They can later include them in their journal or other writings.

Kids can grow an affection for writing when they start it early.

This journaling will help them keep busy and will help you to take time off from

Traveling with kids on a flight can be overwhelming when it isn’t planned.

To travel worry-free and create memories, we all must plan it much before we start packing.

Hiccups can pop up occasionally, even when you are geared up with all airplane activities for your kid. But do not stress. Just remember you are not the only parent having a hard time.

Plenty of them in the crowd face tantrums and meltdowns and have been in a downright embarrassing situation, including me!

So straighten that frown and stick that beautiful smile on your face!

Now you are ready.

Bon voyage!

Welcome To ShuffledMind

Sayani Routh At West Rocky Mountain

I’m absolutely thrilled to embark on this blogging journey and connect with all of you. Hi, I’m Sayani, the voice behind the words you’ll find here. Through my experiences as a human being and a mom living in India, Canada, and the USA, I’ve cultivated a unique perspective that I’m excited to share with you.

Love, Sayani


Sayani Routh
Sayani Routh
A Mom, passionate reader & writer, child advocate: I share my parenting journey, inspired by my real-life experiences.


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