Will you be traveling by airplane with your little ones some time in the near future? Does the thought of being confined to a 3×3 foot space with your 3 year old bring on the cold, sweaty palms? Feel the back of your throat closing in just a little? I get it.
I see you momma. You’ve got that look of 75 different snacks, a tablet and headphones in your eyes.
Whether you’re going on a road trip in your car or flying to a far-off destination, traveling with kids is challenging. No doubt about it! However, when traveling by car you can stop, get out and stretch legs. Your child can have a complete meltdown and no one is the wiser except the passengers in your vehicle. Leg room and window views are ample (depending on how tightly you’ve packed). You get my point ;).
Traveling by plane can take a bit more…creativity…or just a lot of electronics time. But, if you’re looking to mix it up a bit and would prefer they’re not glued to their pads/phones for the entire duration of the flight, you’re going to want to check out the list I’ve compiled below! These ideas are sure to keep your kiddos entertained even with limited space, opportunities for physical movement, and inhibited noise making, plus bring more peace of mind to mom, dad or accompanying adult! There are a total of 35 activities categorized into age groups, but I repeated some of the items that could be appropriate for multiple age groups!
P.S. since electronic devices are already a no-brainer, I stuck with non-electronic ideas in the list below! I also tried to steer clear of activities that have many small pieces because…well…the less opportunity for frustration, the better!!
Best Non Electronic Airplane Activities for Toddlers
- Montessori Busy Book
- Melissa & Doug Make A Face Reusable Sticker Books
- Melissa & Doug Water Wow Books
- Melissa & Doug ColorBlast Books
- Melissa & Doug Reusable Sticker Flip Flap Pad
- Melissa & Doug Puffy Sticker Books
- Melissa & Doug Color By Number Book
- The Purple Cow Magnetic Activity Boxes
- Crayola Travel Coloring Kit
- Crayola Mess Free Activity Pads
- Airplane Coloring Book
- Tangram Magnetic Puzzle Book
- Highlights Jumbo Pad of My First PuzzlesLCD Writing Tablet/Sketch Pad
- Erasable Doodle Book
- 52 Fun Things to Do on the Plane
Best Non Electronic Airplane Activities for Kids Ages 6 and Up
- Magnetic Bingo Set
- Paint By Sticker Books
- Melissa & Doug Wipe-Off Activity Books
- Highlights Hidden Pictures Books
- Highlights Jumbo Pad of Brain Teasers
- Highlights Jumbo Pad of Word Puzzles
- Highlights Jumbo Pad of Puzzling Fun
- The Highlights Book of Things to Draw
- The Highlights Book of Things to Write
- Melissa & Doug Color By Number Books
- The “Mom, I’m Bored” Activity Book
- LCD Writing Tablet/Sketch Pad
- Erasable Doodle Book
- On The Go Games
- Game Pad
- Book of Mazes
- Card Games like Uno, Crazy 8’s, Old Maid, Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza, etc…
Also, these or these are amazing card holder aids for little hands!
- Travel Spirograph Art
- Mental Blox Go!
- Super Dinky Doodles Book
- On the Plane Activity Book
- 50 Fun Things to do on the Plane
- Scratch Art Books
- Tangram Magnetic Puzzle Book
- Fun and Facts Airplane Coloring Book
Other Random Tips for Flying with Kids
Remember…you’re not the first person to fly with young children! I mean that sarcastically but also seriously. Sometimes I have to remind myself of this when doing something for the first time. While this doesn’t completely eradicate the fear of the unknown because it’s still something new to YOU, it’s also kind of reassuring that you aren’t pioneering something brand new for all of mankind (although we can build it up to something that size in our minds). Hundreds of thousands of parents have gone before you and hundreds of thousands will go ahead of you. Some had quieter and more peaceful flights than others, but nonetheless, it has been done. It can be done. It will be done!
For kiddos ages 4 and up (or generally speaking, kids who are capable of wearing their own backpack without complaining), have them wear a book bag filled with their own flight activities, snacks, drink and even plastic bag for garbage. This way they can access their own stuff without having to ask you every 7 seconds for something new. If you want to pack a couple “special snacks”, check out this post for some clean ingredient sweet treat ideas. PS, what’s with the garbage? Do I look like a human garbage can? What can I do with your plastic wrapper that you yourself could not do with it? I think my kids think that snack wrappers magically disintegrate once my hands are holding them. Hence, my personal recommendation to include a bag for trash in their book bags.
Set realistic expectations. Remember, if it’s your child’s first time flying, they have no idea what’s truly about to happen. This could add to the excitement of it all once they’re on board, or it could frustrate them once the limited space and freedom to move sets in. You have done all you can to prepare yourself and your family, plus you have your arsenal of fun games, activities and trinkets…but if playing Bingo on repeat is the only thing that keeps him/her happy…run with it! If playing games or watching a show on the tablet is the only activity that will bring peace…done. Foster your sanity!
Finally, take a deep breath and enjoy the moments! Whatever your destination, I hope it’s filled with joy, peaceful journeys and magical memories.
*A little sidenote, friend, these lists contain affiliate links for which I may earn a tiny commission should you choose to shop through them. It is at no extra cost to you, but means a great deal to me that you would choose to support my little blog. It brings me great joy to share these thoughts with you!