These items will help keep your toddler occupied during a long plane ride.
The first thing you’ll need to do when choosing items for your toddler on a long flight is to figure out what will keep them occupied. There are a variety of things that you can bring to keep your toddler busy, including:
- An iPad or Kindle with preloaded videos and/or games (make sure to bring headphones too)
- Books–you can go with traditional children’s books or even choose graphic novels, depending on their interest level
- A coloring book and crayons–this one may be a bit messy, so choose wisely!
In addition to keeping busy, toddlers also need to stay comfortable during long flights. Here are some items you’ll want to bring along:
Kindle Fire (with kid-proof case!)
A Kindle Fire with headphones is really a win-win for everyone, as it will keep your kiddo entertained and quiet and keep the other passengers happy. The Kindle Fire is such a great option because you can pre-load it with apps, games and videos that you know your child loves! You may even want to download some new ones too, but just make sure you do this before going to the airport so that you don’t use up all of your storage.
Be prepared! Bring lots of games and videos but also be sure to pack headphones and a charger + extension cord just in case!
Stickers and sticker books! Bring stickers that are new to your child so you can use them to create a puzzle or shape on the airplane tray table if needed.
- Stickers and sticker books! Bring stickers that are new to your child so you can use them to create a puzzle or shape on the airplane tray table if needed. If you have books that go with the stickers, it makes for another great activity.
- Gel window clings! These make a nice change of pace from regular stickers. Kids love mixing and matching gel clings to make fun pictures on the plane window.
Crayons, coloring books and activity books. Tip #1: Choose ones that are new so you can pull them out during the flight if your child is getting restless. Tip #2: Bring along an extra shirt or two in case of marker mishaps!
Crayons, coloring books and activity books.
Let’s face it: Toddlers are going to get restless at some point during the flight. That’s why we love having crayons and coloring or activity books on hand. It’s a good idea to choose ones that are new so you can pull them out during the flight if your child is getting restless. Don’t forget to pack an extra shirt or two in case of marker mishaps!
Tip: Pack a pouch for crayons and markers. We like to use one that’s designed for travel art supplies so we can safely store everything in our carry-on bag without worrying about items rolling around—and we don’t have to dig through our bag when our toddler asks for something. The last thing you want is for pens or markers to leak onto other items in your carry-on bag (or worse, on your clothes).
When choosing coloring books, look for ones with tearaway pages so you can easily discard finished masterpieces without lugging an entire coloring book back home with you.
Snacks, snacks and more snacks… and a spill-resistant drink container!
When it comes to food on a plane, the basic rules apply: pack healthy snacks that are easy to eat, and bring more than you think you will need. For non-dairy milk alternatives, I recommend bringing either a lightweight pouch or an insulated drinking cup with a straw. Your little one might enjoy using the straw while sitting in their airplane seat, but once they start falling asleep mid-flight, it’s better to have something spill-resistant with a lid (like ZoLi’s Bot Straw Tumbler) on hand for less mess.
As far as quantity of snacks goes, try to plan for your child to snack continuously throughout the flight. This can be tricky because unlike at home, you probably won’t know how long your child will fuel up for before he or she is ready for another round of nibbles. It’s also important to consider delays and any other unexpected hiccups that could lead you to be stuck inside the airport or on the airplane longer than expected with no food available in sight! To compensate for this uncertainty, I’d recommend packing enough food in your carry-on bag so that if absolutely needed, your child could snack every 30 minutes without running out of options—and add even more snacks just in case!
Keeping comfortable on the flight
It’s crucial to pack items that will keep your toddler comfortable on the flight so that they can have a more relaxing experience. There are many ways you, as their parent or guardian, can help them feel at ease, from packing calming toys and treats to keeping them actively engaged with games and activities. You may want to carry all necessary comfort items in one small bag, such as a backpack or purse; this way, everything is accessible whenever it might be needed.
As you’re putting together what you’ll need for your trip, don’t forget about:
- Pacifier or security blanket (or both). Having familiar objects available on the flight can make toddlers feel more secure and relaxed. This is especially true if these objects help them fall asleep; they’re likely to stay asleep longer while using pacifiers than they would without them. If your toddler doesn’t use a pacifier but has sworn allegiance to their stuffed animal of choice, consider bringing along some kind of soft toy instead—so long as it’s not too large!
- Toys and books with calming themes. Young children tend to enjoy reading stories about their favorite characters before bedtime (or any time), so bring along some books that follow calm storylines to settle down before the flight or once entering the plane itself. Books with animals are also great choices—these can be used during story time before the flight begins as well.
- Headphones for kids (and adults). Noise-canceling headphones are a lifesaver for travelers who need peace and quiet during flights; even if your child doesn’t mind loud noises when playing games or reading books on an airplane seat tray tabletop.
Children’s travel blanket and pillow
If your little ones have outgrown their car seats but are still too young for the plane’s seatbelts, consider purchasing a portable travel pillow and blanket set to keep them comfortable during the flight. The important thing here is that it’s lightweight and small in size so you don’t waste valuable space in your luggage. But if you want something in a slightly larger size, make sure it’s made of fabric that can fold up easily into a compact form.
Several companies offer personal travel blankets with attached pillows as well as blankets that function like wearable sleeping bags with sleeves and zippers. These products may be especially useful if your child is prone to losing or dropping things mid-flight!
Children’s suckers for ear popping
While some adults may be able to handle air travel with ease, children do not have the same luck. The change in altitude can hurt their ears and make them uncomfortable, which can lead to painful ear popping for your little one. Lollipops and hard candy are a great way to help equalize the pressure in their ears, but it is important to avoid candy that is too sticky or chewy, as it could land on your child’s seatmate.
Checked luggage and carry-ons
You’ll want to pack your carry-on full of diapers, snacks, baby wipes (wet or dry), an extra shirt for you, a few toys/books/games, hand sanitizer, formula (if needed), and a change of clothes for your little one. You’ll also need to include a sippy cup with water in case there are any delays in take-off and your child needs something to drink right away. The carry-on should be small enough to fit under the seat in front of you.
When you think about what items will go into checked luggage and what will go into the carry-on bag(s) that you’re taking on board with you, remember that the goal is making traveling as easy as possible for everyone involved. Being prepared and ready for anything will help keep everyone calm and cool should problems arise.
Car seat travel bag
If you’re planning to fly with your child’s car seat, consider purchasing a travel bag. A car seat travel bag will protect your car seat from damage during air travel and make it easier to carry. You can store the car seat inside of it while in the terminal and use it to check the car seat at the gate if needed. If you choose not to bring a car seat on board, you can use a travel bag as an easy way to transport it through the airport and safely store it in an overhead bin or underneath your plane for easy access when you reach your destination.
Packing smart for airplane travel with a toddler is essential. Toddlers are difficult to entertain and can be difficult to keep supplied with snacks, and having items in the diaper bag just won’t cut it. A small backpack filled with toys and snacks is an easy way to provide entertainment throughout the flight.
Small backpacks are not only lightweight, but they also take up less space than a large bag or purse, leaving more room in your diaper bag for diapers, wipes, changes of clothes, etc. You should include in your child’s backpack any small toys that they can play with on their own (like coloring books or plush animals), as well as snacks that they can eat without help (crackers or pretzels). Water bottles and sip cups will also fit nicely in the main pocket of these backpacks. Not only will this help you stay organized during your trip, it will also be a great way for your toddler to have fun and feel independent!
Children’s luggage can make travel much easier on parents, but they also have to serve the children. Here are four things to consider when buying a child’s luggage:
- It needs to stand out so you can find it easily. If your child is pulling their own luggage and that bag looks like every other black suitcase on the conveyor belt, it could be very easy for you to lose track of their belongings. This could lead not only to an unnecessary scramble, but also to arguments or tantrums from the little ones. Instead, use a bold color that stands out from the crowd; this is especially important if you’re traveling with multiple children and need them all to have bags that are easy for you and your partner or spouse to find. You may even want one in each of your kids’ favorite colors so there isn’t any confusion as you exit the plane at your destination.
- It should also be small enough for them to carry themselves. Many airlines allow children over two years old who have their own seats (as opposed to sitting in your lap) to have one personal item—typically a backpack or diaper bag—to bring onto the plane with them aside from your carry-on baggage. Make sure whatever size you choose can fit comfortably under both the seat in front of yours and in any overhead storage bins available on smaller regional aircrafts if applicable; otherwise, put it directly underneath yours where there will always be room for it (and where it’ll still be within arm’s reach if needed).
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