The Best Airplane Toys for Toddlers – 2024 Travel Guide

Inside: Find the best travel day airplane toys for toddlers that won’t make a mess and are easy to transport around. All of these ideas are not only great for flights, but can easily transition into road trip toys, too. 

The Best Airplane Toys for Toddlers – 2024 Travel Guide

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If you’ve ever traveled with toddlers, you know it’s an adventure, to say the least. And listen, keeping our little bundles of energy entertained on a flight is not always easy but necessary.

Preparing to fly with a toddler or baby can be stressful for a parent. Plus, being in a new environment can cause stress for a child, too. That’s why choosing the right toys for airplane travel is crucial in helping with a smooth travel day.


What To Consider When Choosing Airplane Toys for Toddlers

Not only can a perfect toy turn a plane ride into enjoyable and entertaining, but it is also an opportunity for your toddler to develop fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination, all while exploring different activities.

The right toys can be a game changer, transforming a potentially stressful plane ride into a fun and educational experience.

Here is what to consider when looking for great travel toys:

  • Size and Portability: Your carry-on bag will most likely be pretty full, so choosing small toys that won’t take up much space is key. Think doodle boards or magnetic puzzles—compact yet endless fun for little hands. If you get a free carry-on, I strongly recommend packing a separate backpack for your toddler.
  • Mess-Free: Opt for mess-free options like reusable sticker books or LCD writing tablets. These are great toys for keeping everything tidy, even when turbulence hits.
  • Safety: Ensure the toys are made from non-toxic materials and are devoid of small parts to prevent any choking hazards for young children.
  • Engagement Level: Long flights demand toys that can keep toddlers hooked for more than just a few minutes. Busy boards or quiet books are fantastic for this, offering different designs and textures to explore.
  • Educational Value: Toys that double as learning tools are a win-win. Look for options that promote problem-solving skills, cognitive skills, and imaginative play. A simple magnetic drawing board can teach colors, shapes, and more.


List of The Best Airplane Toys for Toddlers

Alright, let’s get into that list of toys! I’ve curated a list of the top airplane toys for toddlers in 2024.

Each toy is handpicked not just for its fun factor but also for its ability to fit into your travel lifestyle—be it quiet play, educational value, or sensory engagement.

Here’s a quick toy guide of everything we will go through!


Doodle Board

Find it on Amazon

Description: A mess-free way for your toddler to draw, erase, and redraw. Perfect for unleashing creativity without the cleanup.

Key Features: Magnetic pen, colorful display, easy slide eraser.

Pros: Reusable, mess-free, enhances fine motor skills.

Cons: Screen can be less vibrant in low light.

Why It’s Great for Airplane Travel: This one is great because it’s super slim and compact, makes no noise, it fits on a tray table, offering endless entertainment without disturbing fellow passengers. Because it’s magnetic drawing, there is zero mess, too. Always a bonus in my book.

Paw Patrol Puffy Sticker Books

Find it on Amazon

Description: Let your child’s favorite rescue dogs inspire their storytelling with reusable stickers and scenes.

Key Features: Reusable puffy stickers, themed scenes.

Pros: Encourages imaginative play, fine motor skill development.
Cons: Stickers may lose stickiness over time.

Why It’s Great for Airplane Travel: This quiet activity is a must for our family on travel days. The stickers stics well to tray tables and books, keeping everything organized in one spot. Oh, and when you start to descend, you can easily peel off the stickers and add them back into the book, if you use them on the trays or plane windows.

Bluey Aqua Art

Find it on Amazon

Description: Water-reveal art pad featuring the beloved Bluey, offering no-mess painting.

Key Features: Refillable water pen, vibrant colors appear with water.

Pros: Mess-free, reusable, promotes color recognition.

Cons: Pages need drying out before repacking.

Why It’s Great for Airplane Travel: It’s like magic for toddlers, with no risk of staining clothes or seats. I love this one, but if the pages are wet, it can be a pain. A tip to help with this is tab the sheets with a napkin or just rip out the sheets and throw them away when a flight attendant walks by for garbage pickup.


Educational Plane Toy

Find it on Amazon

Description: A toy plane that teaches as it entertains, with buttons, sounds, and lights.

Key Features: Realistic sounds, music, and phrases; teaches numbers and letters.

Pros: Stimulates senses, educational.

Cons: Sound may be too loud for a plane. It’s also a little bulky.

Why It’s Great for Airplane Travel: This one offers a variety of engagements on a single toy, though best for when the cabin is noisy or while waiting at the gate. It also opens up from a plane to a pilot steering wheel.

Busy Board

Find it on Amazon

Description: A felt sensory book with zippers, buttons, and laces, designed to develop fine motor skills.

Key Features: Portable, durable, multiple activities.

Pros: Educational, improves dexterity.

Cons: Some parts may be too challenging for younger toddlers.

Why It’s Great for Airplane Travel: Especially with a younger toddler, these are great practice! They keep little hands busy and minds focused, all on a flat surface perfect for lap play or to lay across a tray. I love these because they fold up, can bend without breaking, and don’t take up much room at all.

Dot It Game

Find it on Amazon

Description: This is a simple yet captivating game that encourages pattern recognition and strategic thinking.

Key Features: Easy to learn, compact design.

Pros: Develops cognitive skills, engaging for older toddlers.

Cons: Pieces are small, risk of getting lost.

Why It’s Great for Airplane Travel: A quiet game that’s easy to pack and can be played on the tray table or in the hotel room. Toddlers love this game, and it’s always so fun to see what their creative minds come up with.


Lacing Toy

Find it on Amazon

Description: Improve hand-eye coordination with this fun, tactile toy.

Key Features: Durable wooden pieces, colorful laces.

Pros: Enhances fine motor skills, portable.

Cons: Requires closer supervision due to long laces.

Why It’s Great for Airplane Travel: This apple and worm lacing toy is super fun! It offers a calm, focusing activity for little fingers, with no setup. Just hand them the worm on the string, and let them get weaving.

Quiet Book

Find it on Amazon

Description: A soft, tactile book filled with activities for busy toddlers.

Key Features: Zip, button, and tie activities; fabric pages.

Pros: Durable, educational, encourages imaginative play.

Cons: Bulkier than some travel toys.

Why It’s Great for Airplane Travel: This one engages toddlers in quiet play, perfect for keeping them settled in their window seat.

Pop It Toys

Find it on Amazon

Description: The ever-popular silicone popping toy that delights children and adults alike with its simple, satisfying feel.

Key Features: Durable silicone, endless “pop” and “unpop” capabilities.

Pros: Stress-relieving, promotes calmness, endless reuse.

Cons: Can become repetitive for adults.

Why It’s Great for Airplane Travel: Perfect for soothing pre-flight jitters or as a distraction during takeoff and landing. This one comes in a two-pack, so you can grab one to calm your nerves, too lol. For some added fun, you can also play games to see who can pop rows the quickest. Its quiet nature makes it ideal for close quarters, and the tactile engagement can help focus and calm younger travelers.


Wikki Stix

Find it on Amazon

Description: Bendable, sticky wax sticks that can be twisted into any shape or form, offering a creative outlet for imaginative minds.
Key Features: Non-toxic, reusable, no preparation or clean-up required.

Pros: Fosters creativity, enhances fine motor skills, lightweight and compact.
Cons: Can become tangled if not stored properly.

Why It’s Great for Airplane Travel: Wikki Stix are the ultimate in creative, quiet play. They stick to themselves and not to other surfaces, making them ideal for crafting figures, letters, and shapes right on the tray table or plane window. Their versatility and mess-free nature make them a favorite among parents and child development experts alike for in-flight entertainment. Plus, they offer a tactile, engaging experience that can keep little hands busy and minds active for hours, turning a long flight into a time of artistic expression and imaginative play.


Find it on Amazon

Description: A window to countless apps, games, and videos that can entertain or educate for hours.

Key Features: Portable, customizable content, long battery life.

Pros: Versatile entertainment options, can be loaded with educational content.

Cons: Screen time needs to be managed, risk of overuse.

Why It’s Great for Airplane Travel: With the right content, a tablet can be a lifesaver on long flights. It’s a great way to include a variety of entertainment forms, from interactive games to favorite shows, catering to different ages and interests. Plus, with headphones, it’s an in-flight entertainment system right at your tray table. I know a lot of parents are against tablets, but in the right setting, and with the right apps, it can be a really great tool. We like to download shows from Netflix like Blippie, along with other educational options. My son also has lots of fun, engaging, and educational games on his tablet that keep him occupied for a really long time!

Why This List of Airplane Toys?

The consensus is clear: toys that are interactive, educational, and sensory-based not only make travel more enjoyable for little ones but also support their development even on the go.

Each of these toys has been selected for its ability to fit into the unique environment of air travel—compact, quiet (with the exception of the educational plane toy, which is recommended for gate play), and capable of keeping toddlers entertained for the long haul.

Remember, the best toy is one that your child is interested in and can safely enjoy.

Mixing and matching toys from different categories can provide your toddler with a range of activities that cater to their changing moods and interests throughout the journey. 

Tips for Traveling with Toddlers

Now that you’ve got the toy list, I’ve got some tried-and-tested tips to keep those little adventurers happy and busy to make your next flight easy breezy.

  • Pack Smart: Choose the best toddler travel toys that are compact but pack a punch in terms of entertainment. Think doodle boards, magnetic puzzles, and fidget toys. These can easily fit in your carry-on and don’t require constant supervision.
  • Accessibility: Keep a separate, small bag for your toddler’s toys within reach. This way, you can easily swap out toys when they get bored. A busy book or a coloring book with vibrant colors can work wonders during long trips.
  • Surprise Element: Kids love surprises. Pack a couple of new toys they haven’t seen before—something as simple as a set of wikki stix or a new LCD writing tablet can be a great way to capture their attention for hours.
  • Engagement Over Screen Time: While it’s tempting to hand over a tablet, try to balance screen time with other activities. Toys that encourage imaginative play, like a small set of farm animals or a Polly Pocket, can offer much more than just a distraction.
  • Hit up your local Dollar Store: Grab some cheap toys that your kids will enjoy, but you won’t be sad about if they get destroyed or lost. It’s a great way to not spend a lot of money, but still keep your kids happy with the toy choices.


FAQ for Toddler Airplane Toys 

Q: How many toys should I bring on a plane for my toddler?

A: Aim for a mix of 4-6 toys that offer variety—something for creative play, a puzzle, a favorite character, and maybe a sensory toy. It’s about quality, not quantity.

Q: How do I manage toy clutter on the plane?

A: Use a small bag with compartments or ziplock bags to organize toys. This way, you can easily store them under the seat in front of you or in the seat pocket.

Q: Can new toys really make a difference on flights?

A: Absolutely! New toys can spark curiosity and keep your toddler engaged much longer than their old favorites. The novelty factor is a powerful thing.

Q: What’s the best way to introduce educational content without it feeling like learning?
A: Look for toys that incorporate learning naturally. For instance, a shape sorter or a busy book with different textures and puzzles can teach without feeling like a classroom.

With the right preparation and a suitcase filled with engaging toys, your plane ride can turn into an enjoyable adventure.

Final Thoughts – Best Airplane Toys for Toddlers

Well, there you have it—the ultimate guide to traveling with toddlers and the best travel toys to make your journey as smooth as possible. Choosing the best plane toys for your toddler is an investment for a pleasant travel experience.

Whether it’s a short trip or long-haul flight, the perfect travel toy can make all the difference. Toys like doodle boards, sensory boards, and reusable sticker books are not just fun; they’re practical, engaging, and perfect for little hands and minds.

Choosing toys that are mess-free, easy to pack, and entertaining can turn a potentially stressful trip into an enjoyable adventure for both you and your child.

Brands like Melissa & Doug and options like magnetic puzzles and coloring books have been highlighted as great choices for young travelers.

Remember, the goal is to create a positive travel experience, fostering a love for adventure in your young kids while ensuring their safety and development.

So, next time you’re prepping for a journey, consider this guide to finding that perfect plane toy. Because let’s face it, a happy toddler equals happy travel, and that’s the best part of any adventure.

Now, I would love to hear from you! Whether you’re an experienced traveler with toddlers or planning your first trip, share your stories, tips, and toy recommendations in the comments below. Have you found a perfect plane toy that’s been a game-changer for your family? Or maybe you have some packing strategies that could help other parents navigate the challenges of traveling with little ones. Let’s hear it!

About the Author

Hey, I’m Morgan! As a mom who’s navigated the skies and roads with my toddler on well over two dozen adventures, I’ve gathered all of my insights on making travel with little ones not just bearable but joyful.

My background isn’t just in hitting the road or flying high; I hold a Master’s degree from DePaul University in Relational Communication with a focus on attachment theory. This means a lot of what I share is rooted in building those invaluable connections with our kids, even (and especially) when we’re on the move. Through trial and error and a lot of fun along the way, I’ve learned the ins and outs of what makes travel with kids a breeze.

So, whether you’re looking for the perfect toy to keep your child entertained on a long flight or tips for your next family road trip, I’m here to share what works, from my family to yours.

About Morgan Wender

I’m a boy mom, dog mom, bee mom, lover of all things Disney, and lover of making the best out of this chaotic life of mine. I created this platform to share my life, and help normalize “big topic” motherhood issues. I hope you enjoy my mix of life, love, levity, and everything in between.Now that you know a little about me, I would love to know more about you! Find me over on Instagram, and shoot me a DM if you would like to chat!the journey

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Hi, I’m Morgan! I created this platform to be able to share my life, help normalize big topic motherhood issues, and help simplify all the things I learned the complicated way. I hope you enjoy my mix of life, love, levity, and everything in between

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