Carpe Diem OUR Way Family Travel Blog

Airplane Activities for Preschoolers and Toddlers (updated for 2018)

21 Airplane Activities for Preschoolers & Toddlers & Bonus Travel Games for Kids


Airplane Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers for your next flight


The thought of travelling with young children can be daunting! How is it possible to get toddlers to sit still for hours on end? Will my child scream the whole flight? How can we survive this? We are supposed to be going on vacation! I know the feeling, I have been there! That is why I have come up with this list of airplane activities for preschoolers and a list of travel activities for toddlers and babies as well as some ideas for kindergarteners and primary school aged children!

Below you will find 15 of my favourite airplane activities for toddlers and preschoolers that we have packed for my kids as well as some recommendations from other seasoned traveller moms! When I first wrote this post, my boys were 4 and 2. They are now 6 and 4 so I keep adding to the list as my oldest gets older! All of these activities for kids on a plane are also great for car trips, train trips, bus trips and just about any other time you need to keep kids sitting (relatively) still and quiet!


the Best Airplane Activities for Preschoolers.

Foam Dress up characters These are great airplane activities for kids 3 and up!

These are great airplane activities for kids 3 and up!

1. Foam Dress up Superheros and Princesses

We recently discovered these awesome foam dress up people (and animals) for girls and boys at our local Dollarama store in Canada! They had superhero, princess, dinosaur and animal options! I couldn’t find the exact same thing anywhere on Amazon, but they do have superhero masks, dolls, airplanes, dinosaurs, owls and some other options. My boys did these on our five hour layover in Frankfurt Airport while I half snoozed in the chair. Check out your local Dollarama in the craft section and see if you have foam figures! Otherwise you can click on the links above to see what amazon has. You can also get these great magnetic ones but they are not quite as portable for a flight, but would work good for a car trip! My kids have used these before, but honestly, the foam ones were cheap and perfect!


2. Pipe Cleaners and Beads

Be careful, these can be messy, but if you keep the beads in a ziplock or ask a flight attendant for an extra cup and let your child string them on one at a time, they will be thrilled with the bracelet that they have made when it is done! If you want to skip the beads, you can always get creative with shapes and pipe cleaner designs!

3. Wikki Stix

Wikki Stix are a great alternative to pipe cleaners! You can string beads on these and they stick together. I have only been able to find these on Amazon, but they are great for the creative kid and much less messy than play dough. They can create 3D characters or shapes or letters!

4. Travel-Friendly Puzzles

I have a puzzle fanatic at my house, so I always hit up the dollar store and grab a few new puzzles for our flights with toddlers and preschoolers. But check to make sure that the are not too big and will fit on the tray table before your flight! (Yup i have made that mistake too!).


AIrplane Snacks for Toddlers and Preschoolers

Airplane Activities for Toddlers – iPad and Fishy Crackers

5.Sticker Books

Sticker books are great to keep kids entertained. They also make great toddler plane activities but you might have to help them get the stickers off the pages. I often let them stick them all over themselves, or me, or a colouring book. There are dozens of options online. Check them out on Amazon.

6. Water Painting

My boys loves these water painting books when we travelled. A little bit of water goes inside the pen and they can paint the scene to life! Whether waiting at the airport, or while on the flight, these are a no-mess ideal travel activity for kids. When the pages dry, the picture will disappear and it can be painted all over again! This is recommended for kids aged 3 and up, but it makes a perfect addition to toddler airplane activities as well.


7. Triangular Crayons

Keep and eye out for the triangle shaped crayons so they don’t roll off the table. After you bonk your head for the 5th time trying to retrieve crayons that have rolled off the tray table, you will wish you had these!

8. Post it Notes

My 4 year old is just learning letters and loves using every single page of a post it note to practice his letters. My 6 year old loves pretending they are trading cards and loves to create each design and then trade them or create a card game as we travel. They are also fun to stick all over everything as a way to entertain a toddler on a plane. Do not cheap out and buy cheap ones. I suggest sticking to the“Post-it”brand. they are only a few dollars anyway, but when I have bought the cheap ones the glue us not good and they will not re-stick or half the glue ends up still on the next piece of paper!

9. Small Animals

I usually grab a pack of plastic animals or figures before our trup and wrap it up. Whether it be farm animals, dinosaurs or bugs, it is something new and fun for the kids to use their imagination. You can get them in a handy tube like the photo above, or check out the local dollar store.

10. Imaginetics Magnet Board

I have never seen anything quite like these Imaginetics Magnet Boards. The board opens up and creates a scene with a bunch of characters and accessories that stick to the board! The photo above shows mermaids, but there is also dinosaurs, pirates, ballet, construction sites and lots of other choices for boys and girls. I love that they are less than $10 for airplane activities for kids that can be used again and again! You can check them out here. This is probably my favourite airplane toys for kids and often a gift that I buy for anyone that I know is going on an upcoming trip! There are two sizes of these. The smaller one is more square, where the larger one is more rectangular. Both are fine, but I would recommend the smaller one for a plane or car activity. These are also great road trip activities for toddlers and preschoolers as long as your toddler is not putting them in their mouth as there are small pieces!

15 Airplane Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers including Tava Adventures Passports

Tava Adventures – Seattle Passport

11. Travel Passport 

We love the Travel Passports from Tava Adventures. The Passport comes with 10 4×6 travel cards hi lighting your chosen destination in a kid-friendly way! We have the London and the Seattle ones and when we travelled there, I read them to my kids! These can also be for older kids to teach them fun facts about the places they are going!

12. Kids Tablet

YES we pack the technology! A mum has gotta go what a mum has gotta do! We picked up a $100 tablet and loaded it up with movies that the kids are into and that gives me a break if there is not a seat-back TV. More and more we have come across flights without TV’s (like visiting Oahu from Vancouver) so we always come prepared. I was recently on an overseas flight with a screen that would not work, so I always like to have a backup. My 6 year old now plays minecraft on the tablet that we have had for a few years. So it at least has some longevity and you do not end up handing over your phone to occupy them!

13. Kids Headphones

Get headphones that fit kids. We made this mistake on one of our first trips and bought what looked like kids headphones. While they say fits ages three and up, they ended up being way to big. Now we look for headphones designed specifically for toddlers and preschoolers.

Yes we pack the iPods for some quiet time on the flight!

Travel Activities for Toddlers: Yes we pack the iPods and tablets!

14. A package of Band-Aids. Lets face it, kids LOVE them! And will love playing doctor and fixing your owes! These are inexpensive travel toys for toddlers on airplanes and if they happen to have a scrape or fall, you have them handy! Check outAmazonfor their favourite characters!

15.  Crayola Color Wonder Invisible Markers and Pads

These are one of the popular toddler plane activities that avoids the mess of markers getting on the tray tables! If you have not seen these, they only produce colour on the paper. It Means no marks are left on the tray tables! I have even seen sparkly ones lately! Click here if you want to see what I am talking about! If you have a little one that is into colouring, this is a great travel toy for a 2 year old, when you can’t keep your eye on them for every second, like in the car! They are also great for restaurants and airplanes! My 4 year old happily uses these, as does my 6 year old, even though my 6 year old is a pretty proficient colorer!

16. Skoolzy Travel Peg Board

This is another new one that I recently came across as car activities for toddlers and preschoolers. For those looking for montessori type toys, this one is great for fine motor skills! You can get more infohere

17. Paint by Sticker Books

These Books allow children to create a picture one sticker at a time. They require fine motor skills so they are not really a great toddler travel activity, but would be better for kindergarten aged children and older. It would probably be one of the popular airplane activities for 8 year old who is into art, or crafts or creating things! It is a good price point at less than $10 for an activity for your child on your next flight!

18. Take Along Shape Sorter

Melissa and Doug is well known for its great toys and good quality items! So many of them make great toddler plane activities! This is one that came up on a recent search that I did and I think it makes a great idea!

19. Neon FX Coloring Board

This one is something I would recommend as one of the road trip travel toys for toddlers that I would pack because it is a bit bulky. Kids love drawing on it and then changing the lights and the neon felts come to life! You ca check it out here or watch the video below! It really is pretty cool and something that kids can use at home as well! It does say for kids 6 and up, but any kids that are doodling can easily use this! If your road trip occurs in the dark, this is something the kids would have fun with as well.


20. Kids love wrapping up and giving gifts, bring some tissue paper and let them wrap up some small items that you have brought for them to play with and check out the thrill on your face when you open them up! We did this for almost an hour with my 2 year old on our first 6 hour flight! Sometimes, if you want to know how to entertain a toddler on a plane, it is the things we least expect that will be the best!

21. Don’t forget their special blanket or stuffy to keep them feeling safe. It also adds an extra person to take care of. When Mattias was four, he loved role playing and had fun on the plane being ”Bunny’s Daddy”

Travel Activities for Kids: School Aged Children

Our boys are pretty well travelled kids. Quite often our trips are two legs with multiple hour stopovers. They are often content with technology, but I like to include some travel games for kids as well. We all know that zombie tv-watching child, so at least they can use these while we wait at the airport AND on the airplane. While I do not bring ALL of these travel games on each trip, I pick a few. They are also great at our destination in the evening!

  1. Uno
  2. Skip Bo
  3. Yatzee
  4. Rushhour
  5. Boogie Board


Is your bag full yet?

Don’t forget the snacks when you pack for your kids activities on an airplane. You can read our updated list of list of snacks to pack for your next trip here.

Are you headed on a long-haul flight soon? Check out the Savvy Globetrotter’s Post on What to Pack for a Long Flight

Once you have packed up all of these items, check out Scary mommy for her hilarious take on what your flight will look like here!

Did I forget something you love to take on a flight with your children? let me know in the comments!

If you found this page helpful, i would love it if you would pin, share or tweet it on whatever social media platforms you use! Every little bit will help us fund our travels and continue to bring great content to our site!

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Airplane Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers

Editors Disclosure: this page contains affiliate links. If you click on a link and make a purchase from Amazon, we receive a small commission, at NO EXTRA Cost to you! 

Lindsay is the founder and editor of Carpe Diem OUR Way. She left her career in Canada to share her love of travel with her two young boys. She is passionate about sharing adventure travel activities for families and to encourage others to explore the world. She resides in the suburbs of Vancouver when not jet setting abroad.

17 thoughts on “Airplane Activities for Preschoolers and Toddlers (updated for 2018)

  1. Sheri

    When my kids were toddlers, before they were using iPods or iPads, I brought old cell phones that we were no longer using. They loved playing with those!

  2. Brenda Tolentino

    My daughter is 11 now and has been traveling since she was 3 months old, I remember the days when I had to entertain her. Those stixs were one of the things she loved. Colored pen and paper also kept her busy for a bit. As long as you take one you out a a time and then whip out technology at the end, the flights was always peaceful for all. Great tips here!

  3. mark wyld

    A few solid idea’s there for the kids. My youngest would crazy with the bandaids. We are lucky our girls are at the age where they are happy to watch the in-flight entertainment or sleep.

  4. LeAnna

    Baby #1 is on the way and people keep telling me that we won’t be traveling the way we do now. And they are right, it will have to be adjusted, but I can tell you, I do NOT want to STOP traveling just because we have children (in fact, I want them to see the world, too!) I’ve been reading lots about traveling and flying w/ kiddos.
    For the younger ones, I hear having things tethered down is essential so that pieces, cups, binkies, etc don’t fall into those hard to reach places on planes.

  5. Stefan

    Not one but TWO little bundles of high energy trouble and joy to cater for here! I have 2 nephews, one is 5 and the other 8. Going on holiday with my sister I quickly learnt to empathise with the poor mother with the crying baby. But OMG god BLESS technology. The ipad has been a god send!

  6. melody pittman

    It is so nice when parents actually consider bringing”anythin”g for their children to do so this list is a godsend. I get so mad when kids are just bored and acting up and the parents do nothing about it or get mad at them in return. Too bad they all can’t be like you.

  7. Priya

    Our kids a little older now but we have been travelling since they were 2 years and we used to coloring books and pencils now it is ipads and earphones 🙂

  8. Dariece

    Great ideas! I had no idea that triangle crayons existed….brilliant! Also, I really love the idea of wrapping some little things. Makes it all so much more exciting for children!

  9. TC

    That list is brilliant and the triangular crayons are pure genius! I didn’t even know those existed but will definitely be getting some now! Also like the pipe cleaner and bead idea – ideal for my daughter. Thanks for the great post.

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