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20 Ways to Entertain a Toddler on a Flight

In the last year Elah has been on 20 flights and traveled to 14 countries.

It was definitely challenging at times and sort of crazy but we learned a lot of tips and tricks for airplane travel with older infants and toddlers along the way, including many ways to keep them entertained.

Trying to keep a toddler or older infant who is full of energy entertained is challenging in your house full of toys, add a confined space 30,000 feet in the air and it’s a whole new challenge.

The key we have found is simplicity and being well prepared with small simple items because you do not have a lot of space in your carry-on for endless toys and there is not room to spread out ESPECIALLY if flying with a toddler on your lap. Here are 20 sure fire ways to keep your toddler entertained on your flight.

1. Dollar Store Toys

- Pick up a few dollar store toys. Usually a new toy for every hour of the flight. If you end up losing them or leaving them on the plane, who cares! They were only $1.

2. Wrapping Paper

- Wrap toys or even those cool new dollar store toys in wrapping paper. This will add a few extra minutes of entertainment as your little one will enjoy unwrapping the toy and will be fascinated by the wrapping paper.

3.Looking out the Window

- Let your toddler sit by the window so they can see the sky and clouds and land below, this will surely impress them and will give them something to look at and keep them interseted.

4.Window Clings

- Grab some cheap window clings. Your little one can put them on and off and decorate the window until their heart is content.

5. Make a Fake Wallet

- Grab some expired gift cards, monopoly money and plastic coins and make a fake wallet. Pulling the money and gift cards in and out can provide countless entertainment and keeps everything in your actual wallet from getting lost.

6.Felt Busy Bags

- Check out the dollar section at the best store ever Target. They have some great felt busy bags with various shapes. Check out these DIY felt busy bags here!

7. Ask for an extra cup

- Plastic cups on planes are the best entertainment of all time. Younger babies can chew on it and older babies can practice putting airplane snacks in and out of the cup.

8.Bubble wrap

- Toddlers love bubble wrap. Bubble wrap can be super annoying to fellow passengers but planes are pretty loud and most people wear headphones.

9. Snacks, Snacks and More Snacks

- Toddlers, snacks, enough said.

10.Reusable Sticker Books

- Melissa and Doug make amazing reuseable sticker books so your little one can play with it time and time again. You’d be surprised just how well stickers can entertain a tot.

11. Photo Book

- This great photo book is Elah’s favorite flight book. You can fill it with photos of family you are visiting or even photos of various tourist attractions you may see in your upcomping trip.

12. Walking the Aisles

- Walking the aisles is always a great way to entertain a little one. Passengers typically love cute tots and tots love to watch people with hopes of getting a smile or a wave.

13.Nap Time

- Nap time is the best time. Take comfort items for nap time. If they have their own seat you can also look into these awesome items that will turn a seat into a full lie down bed like jet pack or this inflatable foot/head rest


- Elah loves to read and turn pages. Bring a few light weight paperback books or these mini travel board books.

15. In Flight Magazine and Flight Safety Cards

- For some reason Elah loves the flight safety cards and inflight magazine. Her favorite thing is to pull them in and out of the holder. You can look at items together in the inflight magazine and if they rip it, it’s not a big deal. If you’re a bit of a germ-a-phobe you can wipe off the safety card and magazine with a baby wipe.

16. Buckle fun

- Toddlers love to buckle and unbuckle things. You can either have them play with the seatbelt (just careful of those little fingers) or invest in one of these handy toys where they can buckle/unbuckle until their heart is content.

17. Finger Puppets

- You can buy tiny finger puppets on amazon which can provide hours of fun. If you’re feeling daring use the sick bags and some markers and make your own puppet.

18. Free Activity pages

- For older toddlers and preschoolers there are tons of free activity pages online.

19. Mess Free Coloring

- Water Wow Color Books: These $5 water color books from Melissa & Doug are so great because once your kid has colored the scene, it will dry up and go back to black and white, making it ideal to re-use on the plane flight home or any time in between. You'll have to fill up the pen with a little water, which you can easily do when the flight attendant comes around.

20.Consider Electronic Distractions

- Elah really doesn’t watch TV or videos yet but the plane is the one place where video watching is allowed. Pre-load the ipad with some toddler friendly videos and apps. A lot of long haul fights also have some great inflight entertainment these days. Just make sure you bring toddler appropriate headphones. I suggest using videos as a last resort because once you start the videos it’s hard to stop them without a tantrum.

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