Airplane Activities for Toddlers 2023 - Best Tips for Flying With Kids

Jul 10, 2023
tips for flying with toddlers


Flying with kids is fun! It's magical for them. It's magical for us to watch them experience it all!


My first tip- make it magical by explaining things to your kids. Explain packing, explain suitcases, explain labeling suitcases, explain the airport, explain the different roles of people at the airport, explain.IT.ALL. Kids love learning! You can do it all while telling them to be quiet and still OR you can include them in the process and they will be hanging on every word and love learning AND they will be more quiet and still because you have their attention. Wins all around!

Carry-on luggage- plan to have the kids activities in a bag that does NOT go in the overhead bin. You need to be able to dig into the bag. Let each kid bring their own little backpack.

Bring a stroller to the airport and gate check it. It is so much easier to contain your young toddlers safely by putting them in the stroller in the airport. And it's easier to throw all the bags in the stroller instead of carrying them. 


Possibly the most important tip- snacks! Bring snacks! Lots of snacks! 

Containers to hold their snacks:

Snack ideas: 

  • cut-up fruit
  • pouches - apple sauce pouches 
  • Larabars 
  • freeze-dried fruit (strawberries are our fave!)

These suckers are our favorite. I don't give them to my kids at home but I only save them for special occasions when I want to keep their mouths quiet, like an airplane! (or dance recital, doctor's appointment, etc.)



Sticker books- Kids love stickers! We love these Melissa & Doug puffy sticker books because the puffy stickers are easy for little hands, don't get stuck to anything, and they come with a background to put the stickers on so you don't have to clean anything up either! We love this animal set and this princess set

Wikki Sticks- These wax sticks can be squished, bent, turned into designs. My kids love these. There are some restaurants in our area that hand these out to kids and it's a great idea!

Color Wonder or Imagine Ink or Water Wow

Coloring- triangle-shaped crayons don't roll when they fall down! 


  • Poke-A-Dot Books- if your child is 18m-3 they will probably love these books! Especially if they haven't played with them before. The longer books are kind of heavy FYI. But toddlers love popping the dots in the book! 
  • Lift-A-Flap Book- get a new one for the trip! 


NEW toys. They don't have to be expensive, but if it's new to your kid it will keep their attention for longer. Check dollar stores. I love Hobby Lobby for sticker books and coloring books- especially when they are 50% off! 

iPads & Headphones- you don't win a prize if you prevented your kids from watching screens the entire time. If you are against screens, that's fine! But if you aren't, just be prepared! IT.WORKS.

  • I bought a refurbished/renewed iPad on Amazon for my daughter and it actually has worked amazingly well for us! 
  • These toddler/kid headphones are our favorite. The cordless kind might be more trendy-looking, but you often have to charge them, AND you have to connect the bluetooth and for us, it didn't work too many times! We use the corded kind now. These are perfect for little heads. My kids have used them ages 18m-5+. ***Make sure these connect to your iPad. You may need this connector if you don't already have one. 
  • This iPad case/holder is our favorite. It is super protective, ours have dropped many times without ever damaging the iPad. And they are super easy to hold with the handle, AND they prop up in 2 different ways for easy watching. Make sure the one you pick fits the iPad you have. 
  • DOWNLOAD SHOWS BEFORE YOU LEAVE HOME. Netflix and Amazon Prime offer free downloads for so many shows and movies, but, download them at home the night before you leave and then CHARGE THE IPAD before you leave too! Bring the charger with you on the airplane! 


Favorite Lovey- I know this is risky! But my kids feel so comforted by their lovies/stuffed animals/ favorite blanket. I treated my kids' lovies like they were my extra children when we were traveling to make sure we did NOT leave them behind. I also have ours labeled with our first and last name using my favorite StickerKid labels. I also label our jackets, hats, shoes, anything that can be taken off. Not that a stranger could quickly find us with just our names, but I hope it would help. You can also buy some with your phone number on them as well! 


Good things to pack in your bag: 

  • Extra change of clothes for each family member
  • Bandaids (bandaids fix everything, including invisible boo-boos, right?)
  • Water bottles


Pack extra GRACE and patience. Your kid isn't giving you a hard time, they're having a hard time. Be kind. Give them grace. They are in a new environment, on a new schedule, with a stressed-out parent. Do your best to be flexible, relax and have fun! 


What about bothering people on the plane? Well, the only people who will be bothered are those who have never had young kids. I personally would smile at the people around me when boarding and say, this is my daughter! This is her first flight! She's so excited! It kind of humanizes the child to the neighboring people and other than that, I'd kind of forget about them! What matters more than the people next to you that you'll never see again is... your child. Be more concerned with being a good parent to your child and the rest will sort itself out. 


Before you leave... talk through airplane etiquette with your kids. We love role-play. Here are some ideas.

"If you're on an airplane and a kid is kicking the back of your chair over and over, do you think you'd like that? Probably not. It's important that we try to keep our feet still."

"What if a kid is talking SO loud and you're trying to read your favorite book or take a nap? That would be trick! We can help other passengers by keeping our mouths quiet."

You can also tell them what to expect. Talk about yawning to pop your ears if they feel pressure. You can talk to them about turbulence and how it's just like driving on a bumpy road. There are books you can buy that help kids understand what happens at airports. Kids LOVE learning! 


Flying with 2 Under Two? You usually don't have to purchase a seat for a "lap child" under age 2. However, some airlines have a rule- 4 passengers to every set of 3 seats (due to how many oxygen masks they have). My sister was flying with her 2 under 2 and the flight attendant made her hand off her baby to a family member on a different row right before takeoff because she was unaware of this rule! Thankfully there was another family member on another row. You've been warned! Check your airlines for guidelines. 


Good luck! You're making memories one way or another, YOU can set the mood for the entire family! Slow down and enjoy it! 


Until next time, let's Elevate Motherhood!



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