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Toddlers and Long-Distance Flights: How to Keep Kids Entertained

Traveling with kids

Flying with a toddler, especially for long haul flights can be exasperating and stressful for both the mom and the child, but with a little creativity, you can make flying a great experience for you. Here are a few ways you can make the journey tolerable and even fun for the little one.

All moms that have experienced the adventure of traveling with kids will advise that flying with a newborn is so much easier. At this point in their life, the little one wants to do more than sleep or sit in your lap and smile. Their energy levels are now through the roof, and their attention span is fickle.

If you would like to find feasible travel tips to keep your toddler entertained during a long haul flight, then read on:

Talk and Play with Them

Mom and daughter at the airport

Talking to your kids during your travel and leisure adventures together is one of the most effective ways of keeping toddlers in a great place. Talk about where you are going, who you are going to see how much fun you will have, and wearing your sunglasses and baby sun hat, and so much more. Turn off your Smartphone and use this time to bond with your child.

Befriend the Cabin Crew

Often, the crew may request assistance to serve ice cream or sweets on the plane, and who better to assist than your little ones? Also, ask them to drop by occasionally to congratulate them for being well-behaved on the trip. This will boost their self-esteem and help them look forward to the flight home.

You can also take them to the flight attendants to ask questions about the plane, something your toddler will enjoy if they love talking to new people.

What to Bring on Board for the Flight

on board kid

You definitely want to bring with you items that will fit into your carry-on bag that will not break airport security rules, or ruin the flight for other passengers. Add some coloring pens and pencils to your travel checklist, with which you can make some puppets or figurines out of the waste bags inside the plane. You can also pack some post-it sticky notes or themed band-aids for them to play with on the back of the seat, and then remove.

Also, consider bringing an old wallet with pretend notes or low-value coins for them to play with.

Also Read: Harms of the Latest Technology Every Parent Should Know

Snacks For the Plane Ride

Snacks are a great way to placate an irritable child or help with passing time. Any time you travel with kids you are allowed to carry excess snacks, so long as there is no liquid in them.

Examples of snacks that will be great for a flight include:

  • Cheerios: in addition to eating them, your toddler can learn to thread them on a sweetie lace, which is a fine motor skill and a perfect activity for flying.
  • Mini sausages
  • Rice cakes
  • Cheese crackers
  • Bananas
  • Breadsticks
  • Granola bars

Before alighting with any fresh food, read through travel blogs to ensure the country you are flying into allows its entry. For instance, New Zealand and Australia do not allow the entry of fresh food, and you must leave any leftover on the plane. Pack your food in zip locks and avoid cool packs as some countries’ security regulations do not allow for the entry of these either.

You also realize that sweets, chocolate, and any kind of sugary snacks are not on this list, as a hyper child can make for a nightmarish flight. Also, avoid foods that may have a particularly strong smell to avoid irritating other passengers.

Technology for Toddlers

Today, you can simply download some apps for your little one to enjoy playing with on the flight. These include Peekaboo Barn, Duplo, Mouse maze, ABC Toddler, and Duck Duck Moose.

Other games like My Town Series allow your toddler to immerse themselves into various situations and role play, for instance, onboard a plane or at a farm.

Another alternative would be to download a few episodes of their favorite Netflix show.

Toys for Toddlers

Kids Travel Toys

What better way to keep your toddler occupied that with safe travel games for kids? Examples of toys safe enough for a toddler on a flight include:

  • My Busy Books: a box filled with figurines, stories, and activities for your toddler to role play and mimic. The mat they come with for role play may be too big for the plane, but they can still have a good time with the figurines.
  • Farm In a Tin: Another great classic for toddlers in a plane. You want to be careful with this one, however, as it has smaller pieces like the three ducks. Moms love it as it is the more compact type that you can whip out in the plane or even at the airport in case there is a delay, and the toddler is starting to get fussy.
  • Crayola Color Wonder: This set is especially wonderful for its magic pens that do not color the seats, clothes, or anything else that is not the special coloring book they come with.

If possible, get one of these or any other toys for them as a new pick, then stash it away in the bag and present it to them as a gift. They will spend more time with a new toy that is a surprise gift than one they have already interacted with.


Your toddler does not have to ruin your trip after months of staking out the best travel deals. You can still have a memorable, fun flight with your child. If anything, the flight can make for some excellent quality time for you both.

Have you had any memorable experiences with your toddler while flying? Do you have any more suggestions for entertaining a toddler on a long flight? Please share them in the comments.

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About the Author: Betti Wilson is a writer that encourages parents to use what looks like random experiences to spend time with their kids; to bond and get to know them better. After all, it is only a matter of time before they are grown and gone!

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