Have an upcoming flight with your kids? Then you must check out this detailed list of must haves, for how to keep your kids entertained on flights as well as airplane activities for preschoolers and kids of all ages.
Aiden at 4 years old, had already been on so many flights, both domestic and international flights; 26 states and 16 countries to be accurate.
After being on so many flights with a toddler, I have pretty much gotten it all down, especially what to pack in his backpack. If I left it up to Aiden, he’d try to fit his train table in his backpack.
This list pretty much sums up things to keep kids occupied during short or long flights. Sometimes he is so busy with what he packs that he doesn’t even use is tablet or watch in flight TV.
I also love this list below because it’s great for when you need down time at your destination.
Before I talk about what goes in his backpack, I want to mention the most important thing – Backpack !!
- Kids Travel Backpack
- What To Pack To Keep Kids Entertained On Flights
- Reading, Activity & Sticker Books
- Toys To Keep Kids Entertained On Flights
- Arts & Crafts Activities To Keep Kids Entertained On Flights
- Electronics To Keep Kids Entertained On Flights
- Other Must Have Items To Have When Traveling With Kids
Kids Travel Backpack
Over the years, Aiden has had several backpacks and luggage. When he was younger, a small kids suitcase with wheels was perfect. We’d fill it up with his essentials and he’d pull it through the airport.
As he got a bit older, we switched to a backpack. We’ve used a few different types but our ultimate favorite is the Osprey Youth Jet 12 Backpack.
What To Pack To Keep Kids Entertained On Flights
We have plenty of toys, books, etc that we save in our travel box. Prior to our trip, Aiden gets to pick a few things to take with him. Sometimes I’ll add a few or take out a few depending on how long our trip is.
If I left the decision solely up to Aiden, he’d put each one of them in his bag. I don’t generally let him play with the toys in his travel box at home because I want him to be excited about these items.
It’s easier to keep him occupied this way. He has plenty of other toys at home which are not travel friendly, so the travel friendly, lightweight and portable ones, I save it for when we travel.
“Below is a long list of awesome items guarantee to keep any kid busy on flights”
Reading, Activity & Sticker Books
Toys To Keep Kids Entertained On Flights
These are mini figurines and there are all sorts of them. Aiden loves playing with these especially the Safari Ltd TOOB – People which has everyday Heroes such as a policeman, firefighter etc.
2. Magnetic Fun
Small and easy to carry these come in different varieties. There are 3 sheets of magnets in each and it comes with a carry case for easy storage and clean up. Aiden’s favorite is the Magnetic Cars, Planes and Trains and the Silly Faces Magnetic Fun.
I can’t sing enough praises about Play-Doh. We take it everywhere, even when we are not travelling. It is perfect for little hands ans fine motor skills and perfect for the plane as well.
We purchased this Play-Soh 10 Pack Set which is perfect. We just grab and go. Make sure you close the containers well so they don’t get dry.
We also have several Play Doh Tool Sets at home, so we grab a few from our stash. Play-Doh is fun, but it is even more fun with tools. Some good tool sets are Melissa & Doug Shape Model Mold, Melissa & Doug Cut Sculpt Roll, Kare & Kind 16 Piece Set, Dough Tools 5 Piece, Strokes Art Durable Clay and Dough, CaryKon Dough Extruders, Strokes Arts Education Shapes and Kare & Kind 20 Piece Set.
Playfoam is very similar to play-doh, like twin sisters, but not identical. Aiden loves play foam. It has a completely different feel from play-soh, but works the same way. This Playfoam 8 Pack Combo is great and convenient for travel.
5. Wind Ups
Aiden can wind these and laugh at them moving for what seems like forever. His favorite is the Z WindUps – Skully Skeleton. He loves these, and I’m sure other kids will too.
What kid doesn’t love legos? Aiden loves Legos and LegoLand. He has the LEGO Classic Creative Supplement.
We don’t take the whole box when we travel, but we do take a few in a zip lock back. I found a much better way to carry these around other than in a zip lock bag and will share as soon as I done making it.
Brickyard Building Bricks are awesome, so much cheaper than Legos, and work just as good. Our favorite set is the Brickyard Duplo Block Toys which are similar to Lego Duplo; these are my favorite because they come Building idea cards.
These Lego Minifigures which are also not Lego brand, much cheaper, but go perfect with any Lego set. If you want the actual Lego brand mini figurines, then the Community Minifigure Set for Role Play by Lego is perfect.
7. Mini Balls
We usually pack one or 2 small balls as well when we travel. Great past time while waiting for our flight, layovers etc.
8. Magna Tiles
Aiden has been playing with these since he was 2 and he just doesn’t get tired of it. He has the Magformers 30 Piece Set. It’s perfect for travel and not as heavy as the others.
7. Gel Glings
Gel cling is awesome. I even like playing with these myself, especially sticking them on the airplane window. Some cool ones are ABC & 123 Gel Clings, School Of Fish Gel Clings and Car Theme Gel Clings. Remember to snag a window seat.
8. Fidget Toys
These are great, easy to pack and keep little hands busy.
9. Card Games
Aiden loves card games, so we usually take one that he pics. We have a variety so that we get a chance to play something new each time. These sets include some favorites such as Go Fish, old Maid, Crazy 8’s and Animal Rummy.
Melissa & Doug Classic Card Games Set, Classic Children’s Card Games Set of 4 (I like this set because it includes card holders which is perfect for kids) and Classic Children’s Card Game Set of 3. Looking for a value pack, this one has a set of 6 card games Classic Kid’s Card games 6 Pack.
10. Sand Timer
We love activities on the plane that involves time. I usually ask Aiden to do something, and start the timer to see how long it’ll take him to complete the task. He loves it.
Don’t forget to ask you kid to pick 2 or 3 of his favorite toys to take with him. Guarantee these toys aren’t huge/heavy/bulky.
Aiden’s go to toys are Tranformers, Thomas The Tank, Hot Wheels Race Cars, Blaze & The Monster Machines, Paw Patrol, Disney Planes and Super Wings. Because he doesn’t have all of the mini’s, once in a while I’ll surprise him with a new one especially depending on the length of the flight.
He’s been asking for this Chase Sea Patrol, and because we have an upcoming
LONG flight to Japan, I got it for him and will hide it in his backpack after it’s been packed so he’ll be extra excited when he opens it and sees it on the plane.
All these toys listed above have mini’s and are the perfect size for travel. I usually have him take 2 of each toy so that he can share with a friend.
He always makes friends everywhere we travel and it’s nice to share a toy and be able to play with them. This helps encourage him to share too because he knows he needs to pack 1 extra for a friends.
Arts & Crafts Activities To Keep Kids Entertained On Flights
We used to use the round ones, and then had to pick each up when Aiden dropped them. Plus you know how tight the seats are. Trying to pick things up is No Fun! So this is the way to go. We also like the Crayola Dry Erase Crayons, although not triangular, are pretty nice too.
Mini markers are easier to pack for travel as they take up less space. Our favorites are Crayola Color Wonder, Mini Monsters Scented Markers, Alex Toys Young Artist Studio Color Changing Markers.
I also like the Crayola Pip-Squeaks Washable Marker Kit because it’s like an all in one, marker and paper holder with a case.
Do A Dot Art Markers are also a great addition to every travel art kit.
This is one of our favorites, and it comes with reusable white pages and a chunky-size refillable water pen for an easy grip. You’re kids will definitely enjoy this. Melissa & Doug On The Go Water Wow.
AquaDoodle – Travel Doodle is very similar to the Melissa & Doug one above. It’s bigger and will take up more room in a backpack, but still very convenient and mess free.
Crayola Color Wonder Mess-Free Coloring also comes with a storage case and a 12 page color activity book.
There are several coloring books/pages. A few of the ones we like are Alex Toys Little Hands First Scribble, Melissa & Doug Jumbo Coloring Pad, My First Big Book Of Coloring, Disney Pixar Adventure Coloring Book and Here Come The Heroes.
Most of the time instead of taking the whole book with us, we just take out a few pages from the book and that works perfect.
We try to make sure that we get some learning in during our travels as well, and preschool workbooks do the trick. Some good ones are Early Learning Activity Workbook, Tracing Letters Preschool Workbook, Big Preschool Workbook, Preschool Scholar, Preschool Basics and Trace Letters.
Aiden prefers doing this over coloring most of the time, so we have several workbooks. We just rip the pages out that we need and put it in a folder in his backpack.
6. Wikki Stix
I love that you can create all sorts of things with Wikki Stix. There are a few pictures that come in each packet, and you can encourage your child to create one of them. For kids still learning the alphabet, they;ll love the Wikki Stix Alphabet Fun Cards.
If you have a kid like mine, then I’m pretty sure you know how much kids love tape. Aiden is constantly taping things. Well, this is perfect for plane rides. And they get to tape the activity book which is awesome.
Aiden recently saw a few kids playing with and loved it. I thought it was pretty cool too. So it is definitely going on our travel must haves list. It kept him and him friends busy for a while and that’s a total win! Aiden likes robots so I got him the Sticky Mosaics Robots.
You can read more on our Homeschool Curriculum, as well as how we homeschool and worldschool on the go.
Looking for more information on homeschooling and worldschooling? Check out my other articles below:
Electronics To Keep Kids Entertained On Flights
Flying without headphone ?
noooo wayyyyyy !! We always pack headphones, perfect for when Aiden wants to watch in-flight TV, watch something on his tablet or even on my phone. This is a top must have. Aiden has used several pairs but out favorite is Beats By Dre Solo Wireless Headphones.
I prefer not to deal with wires if I don’t have to, that’s why we chose those for him. We all use Beats By Dre wireless headphones as well. Another less expensive bluetooth option that works just as well is the Mpow Bluetooth Headphone.
Aiden’s first pair of headphones was the Spiderman Over the Ear Headphone, he still uses it at home occasionally. Other really good pairs are Kidz Gear Wire Headphones, LilGadgets Connect Premium Volume Limited Headphones.
A really good one for younger kids or kids who don’t like headphones is the CozyPhones Kids Headphones with Ultra Thin Speaker (I love this one because it’s actually in the form of a head band and super comfy.
There are all sorts of tablets for kids out there. Aiden uses a Samsung Galaxy Tab 8inch. He has had this since he was 2 years old and we’ve never had any issues with it.
A good case such as the Supcase Unicorn Beetle is key because I can guarantee you that it’ll drop at least a million times. I highly recommend the Samsung tablet because it’s so easy to download movies and shows and kid friendly apps that don’t require any internet, especially because not all flights have internet.
Other good kids tablets are Apple Ipad Mini, Fire HD 8 Kids Edition, Fire HD 8 (cheaper than the kids), Orbo Jr. Android, Leap Frog Epic, Dragon Touch, and one just for babies Fisher Price Laugh & Learn Smart Stages.
3. Boogie Board
Sometimes you need something other than a tablet to keep kids busy. This comes with a pen and kids can write/draw and erase as many times as they want to. This is perfect to practice writing letters.
Nintendo and Playstation makes several good quality handheld games which is another good option as well. This is common with older kids mostly. Aiden has a Nintendo 2DS.
It’s small and handy and fits in his hands pretty well. His favorite games are Super Mario Bros (my ultimate favorite as I grew up playing it as a kid. I love it when he gets stuck and asks for help :D) and Lego Batman. Don’t forget a protective case or sleeve as well, we love the Lilyy Soft Silicone Rubber Gel Skin Case Cover.
Some other good handheld video games systems are Sony PlayStation Vita, PlayStation Portable 3000, Nintendo 3DS, Ninetendo 3DS XL, Nintendo DS Lite, Wolsen Portable Handheld and I’m Game (which comes with 120 pre-downloaded games) and JXD Retro.
Other Must Have Items To Have When Traveling With Kids
I have searched high and low and have yet to see anything as awesome as the TRAYblecloth Airplane Tray Activiy Cover.
You know how filthy some airplane tray tables can be. This is great as it has pockets to put things inside. You can also put up the tray table with ease while the cover is still on it.
Kids Sunglasses are a must have, and we take them on every single trip. Aiden own a pair of the Kids Junior Aviator Classic Sunglasses. Super cool sunshades and Aiden loves to be complimented when he wears it.
My favorite part is the carrying case; it is shaped like a car so it makes it even more fun. The Kids Soft Feel Matte Frame Sunglasses are awesome too.
3. Kids Hat
Aiden loves hats. He always has one on most of the time and we don’t travel without one, so this is always in his backpack.
You can’t forget this. Aiden gets his hands dirty all the time, so wet wipes are a must. Also sometimes we get on flights and the tray table doesn’t seem as clean so this comes in handy too. We use the Pampers Sensitives Travel Pack.
If you don’t have one, run and purchase one ASAP. We use the Leg Rest Travel Pillow on every trip over 4 hours and it is perfect. Aiden is usually very comfortable and sleeps like a baby.
I usually put this in my bag as it can be a bit heavy. I highly recommend this one! It is the original one and the others came after.
Pin For Later
- Find the best deals on Cruise Direct
- Purchase must have travel insurance through Allianz