Let’s talk about the elephant in the room. Every parent travelling with a toddler is terrified of a mid-flight tantrum. Have a range of books, activities you can switch up and, yes, bribes, to keep them occupied. It’s okay to let rules go out the window on a flight.
A little variety is good, but don’t weigh yourself down. Bring their favourites for guaranteed repeat reads; lift-the-flap books are a good way to keep little ones engaged; and a good ‘busy book’ or ‘quiet book’ that helps them practise new skills will have them mesmerised.
Toddler plane activities and airplane games for kids:
Lacing cards and colourful pipe cleaners they can twist into shapes are great for keeping them busy, while developing their fine motor skills. Finger puppets for wild storytelling are a fun and lightweight addition to your kit. But don’t forget classic games that don’t require anything but your imagination, such as Simon Says and I Eye Spy.
If your little one likes drawing, a small whiteboard and markers will allow for endless scribbling. Don’t forget a packet of wipes to clean it between artworks on the flight!
Entertainment and apps:
If you use a tablet, load it with favourite shows or movies to buy yourself some time to have a meal, or to watch a movie yourself. Don’t bring this out first thing though — this is your silver bullet!
Likewise, if you let your toddler use apps, add a new one for this trip. The Sago Mini Road Trip, which features a cat that goes on adventures in fun cars, is a winner. Parents like it too as it’s safe for young kids thanks to no third-party ads or purchases. Bloom, which wasn’t designed for kids but is surprisingly perfect for toddlers, is a music composition app created by Brian Eno, which generates soft tones and beautiful colours that appear as your child touches the screen.
Treat your kid to their first pair of fun headphones for the flight. They can enjoy the soundtrack of their favourite movie on permanent loop; and your fellow passengers don’t have to. Here’s our favourite toddler hack: if you use an iPad and want to keep the volume low, or even mute for the flight, but your kid knows how to change the volume, set it to the level you want and change the orientation of your protective case so the volume buttons are hidden.