How to Entertain a Toddler on the Plane

I’m not gonna lie. Flying with a toddler isn’t fun. Especially when you haven’t bought a seat for her (Baby Brownie is 1.5 years old) and your husband isn’t with you. BUT(!) I am grateful that I thought ahead and prepared lots of activities for my daughter to go through to keep her entertained and out of trouble. If you’re planning a trip with an active toddler, here’s what I found worked best with my little girl.

1. Stickers!

Baby Brownie’s at the age where stickers are fascinating. I brought books full of stickers of all sorts. She loved peeling them off the paper, sticking them on herself and on me, as well as on everything else she could reach. We played a game where I would say a body part and she’d try to put a sticker on it.

drawing board

2. Magnetic Drawing Board

Baby Brownie loved it when I pulled out a magnetic drawing board for her to play with (the one I have is not in color, and it’s by Lakeshore, but you get the picture). She quickly grasped how to draw with the stylus and pull the tab to erase her scribbles. When she was bored of scribbling with it, I drew shapes, animals, and flowers for her, which kept her occupied for a while. My magnetic board was lightweight, so perfect for the plane.

felt board house

3. Felt Board

The DIY felt board I made before we left was a big hit! My girl loved the face side best — putting eyes, nose, and mouth on the face. She made some pretty interesting Picasso-esque faces =). When she was done playing, she had a blast putting every piece, one by one, back into the plastic zipper bag.

ikea finger puppets

4. Finger Puppets

The inexpensive finger puppets from IKEA are perfect for the plane — they’re small, lightweight, interesting, and cuddly. We sang “Old Macdonald” with them, and Baby Brownie practiced putting them on her fingers. They were also a fun item for her to take out of and put in a plastic bag while we practiced counting. When it was time to nap, I put Baby Brownie in the Ergo and rocked her while she clutched one of the little animals.

5. Books

A few light, thin, paper books occupied my toddler for a little while. Leave the board books at home; they’re too heavy!

mr potato head

6. Small Toys

We found a mini Mr. Potato Head(R) at Dollarama in Canada (although it was $3), and it was surprisingly fun for Baby Brownie. She loved concentrating on sticking the arms and legs into the right holes. If you have a little toy like this that your toddler hasn’t played with yet, save it to give to her on the plane so that it will be fresh and interesting.

my first songs

7. Iphone Apps

Yes, I resorted to the Iphone. Even though all the other toys occupied her for much of the ride, sometimes I just needed a break from the constant interaction and teary toddler meltdowns. Hello, electronic babysitter.

The best app I found for my 1.5 year old was this one called “My First Songs” by Ringzero. It has a bunch of catchy songs like “Old Macdonald”, “The Itsy-Bitsy Spider”, “B-I-N-G-O” with amazing 3D animations. The animations are really cute and the song arrangements are catchy. There’s even a little game where you tap to the rhythm of the music, so it would be great for older kids too. It’s $2.99, which is well worth it, but you can download the “lite” version for free. I also had a few free Fisher-Price apps on there but “My First Songs” definitely kept her entertained the longest.

8. Ice Cubes

My husband suggested that I add this as an update because it really did entertain my daughter for at least half an hour. We asked the flight attendant for a cup of ice cubes and my daughter had fun taking the ice cubes out of one cup and putting them into another. It’s the simple things…

Have you traveled with your toddler? What worked best to keep him/her occupied?

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