I happen to live on the opposite side of the country than my family, so since having a child, we have visited my family a number of times, meaning that my 2.5 year old has been on a plane 10 times already since being born. The first few times she was super small (4 months and 8ish months), and was still breastfeeding, so flying was pretty easy. She slept the majority of the time, and I could keep her busy with my boob, so pretty easy! But, then we flew a few times since she has become mobile, and now she is weaned and typically only sleeps or naps in her crib at home in her dark room. Soooo, flying has become increasingly harder each time.
The last time we flew, she was 2 years and a few months, and definitely the definition of a busy toddler. Now, I am all for like rules don’t apply when you fly. You enter into survival mode, and you do whatever you gotta do to stay sane and keep your child content. That includes as much damn screen time as needed! I am not against screen time, and I do allow my toddler to watch TV in moderation. I try not to depend on it, but we use it when needed. We do not however, own an iPad or tablet. SO when I do put a show on for her it is just on the TV, and she is not sitting there holding the tablet, and instead often playing at the same time. SO, we did attempt to use our phone’s to play shows on the plane, but my child just wasn’t into sitting still and putting all her focus into the show. It kept her busy for all of 10 minutes and then she was over it. I figured this going into the flight, which is why I packed a handy dandy travel kit full of fun!!! That is what this post is all about today.
So, let’s talk about some super easy plane activities that you can pack in your carry on, involve little prep, are small, and some can even be thrown away when completed. This travel kit saved us on our travels! For one of our trips we had a cancelled connecting flight and ended up stuck in an airport for FIVE hours. This travel kit helped SO MUCH. I can’t stress it enough how thankful I was that I had prepared.
10 EASY WAYS TO KEEP YOUR TODDLER BUSY WHILE TRAVELING
I included two photos below of everything I packed for our 10 hour travel day. I tried to include activities that were easy and compact enough to pack in our diaper bag or carry on. I think I ended up having about 11 activities plus some little animal figures.
1 | Wiffle Ball + Pipe Cleaners
Super easy fine motor skill activities. These mini wiffle balls were a dollar store find and then I just included some pipe cleaners that I cut in half! These kept my toddler busy for a while, and she actually will still play with them at home sometimes!
2 | Washi Tape + Rainbow Chips
Grab some rainbow washi tape and some rainbow bingo or magnetic chips and you have endless possibilities! You can make squares with the tape and have your child put the chips in the matching colored square. You can create lines with the tape and have your child line the chips up on the matching colored line, etc.
3 | Dot Stickers
This activity is super easy to throw in your bag but is great for fine motor skills AND keeping your little one focused and busy! I just drew some colored dots on a piece of paper and brought along some dot stickers. I had M peel the stickers and stick them to the matching colored dot. This is an activity that you can even toss once it’s been complete.
4 | Picture Match
For this activity I simply printed out some animal photos on card stock paper and cut them in half. The goal is to match the photos. They took up hardly any room when packing, which is an added bonus!
5 | Straw Drop
Such an easy activity to create and nice and compact for travel! I simply used an empty spice jar and some cut up straws to create this fine motor game. Take out all of the straws and have your toddler drop them in the holes.
6 | Bead Threading
All you need is a few pipe cleaners and a small jar filled with beads! Have your child thread the beads onto the pipe cleaners for some fun fine motor and bi lateral coordination development! This is such an easy activity to pack but definitely one that always keeps my toddler busy!
7 | Giant Nuts & Bolts
These fine motor nuts & bolts are a great travel toy! They pack nicely and always keep my toddler busy as she try’s to twist and turn them. You can also set them up as a matching game! You can shop these Giant Nuts & Bolts HERE.
8 | Puzzles
Puzzles are always great to keep toddlers busy, but most are quite large and not super easy to pack in a carry on bag! I found this awesome 6-in-1 wooden puzzle and it was perfect to bring along on our trip! Each side of the block has a different photo on it so you have 6 different puzzles in 1. My toddler also liked stacking and lining up the wooden blocks so that was a fun little activity in itself! Shop this awesome puzzle HERE.
10 | Play Dough Kit
I threw together this little play dough kit to take along as well. Basically I had a small container and I added some play dough, some small animal figures and other accessories, and a small rolling pin. We actually didn’t end up using this in travel, but we did play with it at our arrival destination!
So those are the 10 activities I packed in our travel kit for our 10 hour travel day! I also included a few “new” toys that she could open. They were cheap little figures from the dollar store that came in a plastic package. They seemed like a fun new gift so she loved them. I also packed a Water Wow coloring pad. They are awesome and we use ours even when we aren’t traveling.
I also highly recommend bringing a whole lot of snacks! I filled a whole other zippered case with a variety of different snacks! Eating keeps kids busy too!
What are your favorite travel hacks to keep your littles busy during a long trip? Leave a comment below!