40 Toy Ideas for the Airplane

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Obviously we have our fair share of flights under our belt with the kiddos. I have lost track how many! We get asked a lot how we entertain on flights so thought I would share some toy ideas for the airplane, that we have used. Obviously we don’t bring all of these lol but we pick a few to order. We always wrap each activity/toy in tin foil and they open them up each hour. Sometimes toys last more than an hour and sometimes it just kills a good 30 minutes. Which I still consider a win! We like to wrap them in tin foil because it isn’t as messy and can be wadded up nice and small. Also takes time for them to unwrap and is exciting!

As far as storing the toys, we usually put them in A’s little roller suitcase that he loves to pull around. It is small but just big enough to hold all the activities! I have also done flights with only one or two toys – like when just the kids and I flew to Arizona the other day (David was in California) I only packed a couple little things and the they were fine. We generally pack a bunch when it’s a long flight (over 6 hours is long in my opinion – our Arizona flight was 5.5) and when we are going somewhere without toys. I always want to have activities to do with them in the hotel/airbnb. Here are some activities we have used in the past… we love all of these we just try to mix it up with each flight so I like to have a good list to resort to. Also remember that anything that comes in a box will probably travel better if you take it out and put it in a bag. Xo

  1. Window letters! These always get a little trashed since crumbs stick to them but they are a fun one time use thing.
  2. Bloonies – rubber bubbles! We love these. They are the fun bubbles we play with in Ireland in this video.
  3. Glow Sticks – these are fun for late afternoon/night flights and don’t take up a bunch of space.
  4. Dry Erase Books – we always have one of these with us because the kids always like to use them. We have this one and this one.
  5. Magic Marker Coloring Book – love anything that is mess free.
  6. Water Wow Books – another fun mess free activity! I actually love doing these too haha 😉
  7. Sticker Books – stickers are always good fun!! I always leave with a couple on my butt that I sat on somehow.
  8. Bubble Gum!!! – you guys my kids are obsessed with popping big bubbles that me and David blow haha! We never go on a flight without bubble gum.
  9. Slinky – I know this seems basic but this is good for a solid hour entertainment for us haha!
  10. Digging for Rocks – This is a really good one because it kills a lot of time. We always have a plastic grocery bag with us for trash so we just hang that under the tray to collect all of the dust. Just have to wipe up after. They have tons of different types of these and you can find anything from fossils to bugs.
  11. Aqua Doodle Boards – we love this one! Just don’t lose the little pen haha we always do somehow.
  12. Learn To Dress Boards – don’t take up too much space and keeps them busy.
  13. Play doh – messy but still fun! You can make sure they do it on top of paper so it doesn’t get everywhere but I prefer molding clay below.
  14. Molding Clay – this is less messy than play doh so I like this better and it doesn’t dry out really. If your kids are a little older then this book of animals to mold seems fun.
  15. Yarn + Cheerios – any snacks that double as an activity I am a fan of. Fun to bring yarn and have them make a little necklace first. You could also do this with fruit loops or something round 🙂 if you don’t have yarn just use floss.
  16. Colored Tape – this is fun to make shapes and letters or train tracks and roads with! Use them on the tray that folds down.
  17. Cars – What else is going to drive on your roads made of tape?
  18. Tape Activity Book – to go with your colored tape 😉 there are lots of these and they are fun! Another good one here.
  19. Scratch Art – we love anything flat like this that doesn’t take up too much space! This one looks fun too.
  20. Magnet Activity – takes up a little more space but fun if you have the room.
  21. Wiki Sticks – Another that doesn’t take up a bunch of space (I usually take them out of the container and put them in a ziplock bag.)
  22. Tissue Paper Activity – I would recommend take this out of the box and putting it in a big ziplock to take up less space but this is fun.
  23. Magnetic Tiles – if you already have these at home it is fun to take just 10 or so in a bag and use them on the plane.
  24. Cutting Activities – Atticus is really big into using his scissors right now so these cutting activities are really fun. Here is another fun one.
  25. Make Postcards/Letters – you wouldn’t bring the mailbox obviously but fun activity for the plane to make little postcards or cards for whoever you are going to visit. Have stickers and stamps for them to decorate with.
  26. Decorate Luggage Tag – we haven’t used this little set, we already had some and had them decorate those but this looks easy and fun too!
  27. Letter Swatter – fun little learning game for the plane! We just bring one of swatters.
  28. Postcard Airplane – like that this doesn’t take up as much space as bringing an actual airplane toy.
  29. Decorate Passport – the kids always want to hold their passports but it makes me nervous. So this is a fun solution and they get to do fun stamps. Here are passports that look a little nicer and here are some more stamps.
  30. Magnetic Drawing Board – I prefer the aqua drawing boards but this is good too if you prefer this over the water ones!
  31. Matching Games – always take these out of the box! But we love to bring these because they are fun to play at the hotel too.
  32. Koosh Ball – Rosie loves these 🙂
  33. Kaleidoscope – fun little quick activity that doesn’t take up too much space.
  34. Finger Puppets – always makes made up stories more fun!
  35. Origami Animals – waitresses kept giving these to the kids in Japan and they lovvved it!
  36. Learning Chopsticks – we got these for the kids in Japan and they were so fun to use to eat food or pick up toys or snacks.
  37. Buckle Toy – we don’t have this but the people next to us on the flight did and the kids kept wanting to borrow it ha!
  38. Noggin Bops – these always make them laugh haha someone next to us also had this and they were cracking up.
  39. Character Bandaids – my kids just really love bandaids haha
  40. IPAD – last but not least the absolute necessity on all flights. There are so many fun games for babies and toddlers. Plus lots of movies! I will do a post later on my favorite apps and movies.

This one takes up a lot of space but I thought it was so cute and have been meaning to get it for the kids for our next flight! Or maybe to play with beforehand.

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  1. Hello!

    I am seriously so in love with that dress for spring…even though it’s off the shoulder I want to try and pull it off in my office. You look gorg girl!

  2. So good!! When are you posting your fav games/apps?!? Would love to hear some suggestions!!

  3. I think you just saved my life. I have a 12-hour flight to Japan (total 18 hours journey) with my 17 mo. We had a similar trip when she was 7 mo and it was perfect, but now that she is way more active I am scared, to say the least… Really great ideas. Thank you, Amber. Also, what were your favorite spots in Tokyo for kids? Was Harajuku too busy with kids?


  4. Our family of five (3 kids 5 and under) are traveling to Hawaii in a couple weeks so this list was perfectly timed! Thanks for the ideas! 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼

  5. Love the list. Will be showing this to my sister who has a 1 and 2 year old!! They like to go to Florida to visit their grandparents!

    Simply Lovebirds

  6. this is such a great and useful post. thank you thank you thank you!

  7. These are great ideas for my son as I travel often to visit family.

  8. So nice how you’ve put the time in to come up with this list! Definitely going to keep some of these in mind as my little one gets older. Also, super useful being able to shop directly from your blog – I love that, thanks!

  9. Super cute stuff! Now I just need kids to buy them for! 😀 haha
    But I can really just imagine how hard it is to fly with kids. Its super exhausting for adults as well, but for kids it must be even harder when they can’t walk around or sleep properly…

    Love from Germany!
    Xx Paulie


  10. This was an amazing post. We literally travel ALL around the world with our two little ones (3 and 1) (currently in Thailand). it’s always nice to have a go to list of activities/toys they haven’t seen before. Thanks for taking the time to write this. Love your blog!

  11. Yeah, just pinned this! We haven’t flown yet with our 20 month old, but we have done a lot of driving and this would also come in handy for long car rides! Thanks!

  12. Awesome ideas! We are Hawaii bound this summer with 4 kids, longest flight so far so definitely using these on my toddlers! For my older kids, all the surprise/blind bags toys out now are awesome. I get one for each hour to open and also make a little play habitat of where we are going (beach, snow, mountain, etc) before we go so they can act out little stories with all their new characters. We LOVE Water Wow books! And the Hello Kitty airplane is an awesome toy, all of mine love it!

  13. I think I clicked on every link! 🙂 hehe, needed this post desperately last month when we had our first flight with our 15-month-old who is a busy bee!
    Thank you!


  14. Thank you so much for this post! We are flying across the country next month for a 2 week RV trip with our 4 children. Great ideas for a long plane ride and for while driving in the RV! I really appreciate your travel tips! Great timing! Blessings, Dawn

  15. Such a good blog post!! So many great ideas!! Love it!

  16. Thank you for this post! I am pregnant and traveling to Europe soon with my three little ones and was searching for some good activities for the planes. Perfect timing!

  17. Amazing! I literally just commented on your flying with babies post and asked for tips on how to entertain a toddler! Perfect timing! We are traveling to Costa Rica in three weeks and I will be browsing this selection for sure! Many thanks from one mom to another ☺️

    Flutter Nursing Clip

  18. Although a lot of these sound are probably every flight attendant’s nightmare 🙂 (particularly #10, 13, 14, and 19), I am sooo excited to get a few of these things for my two-year old for our upcoming flight to Miami!!! Thanks so much for the tips, Amber. Also I wanted to mention that I really appreciate you putting the iPad last – as the last resort (although necessary). In my opinion, it is oh so easy to just put a tablet in front of your toddler rather than taking your time and really PLAY with your toddler using any of these above…

  19. Sooooo thankfull for this Amber !!!! Next july I m travelling and… I was looking for this ! I will let you know how it goes !!!! Valeria

  20. Thank you for great post! We usually play with water doodles

  21. I love this list!! Im going to Europe this summer with my two little kids without my husband and this list is a life saver! So many great ideas!

  22. I like the window stickers but if you have 2 kids it would be hard because usually only one can be by the window. The other one will get jealous! Also, on behalf of plane riders without kids, please no to #8 and other things that are obnoxious to the peace and quiet of riders. I am not familiar with all of these on your list but seems most are just fine for keeping them quiet in their seats otherwise.

    -Kirsten // http://www.porkandcookies.com

    1. We usually have a different activity for the other so they don’t get jealous but yeah sometimes they end up swapping 5 times in an hour because they want what the other has haha! I don’t feel that blowing bubble gums has ever disturbed anyone! It’s not a loud activity by any means – none of these have been loud or disturbing from our experience.