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How to entertain toddlers on a plane or road trip, the best tips and products for keeping kids entertained on flight

Travelling with children can prove difficult at the best of times, never mind on a long-haul flight. We have had some challenging flights in the past including our flight from the Seychelles back to Abu Dhabi. It was one of the worst experiences we have ever had as Brody was kicking, screaming and throwing his toys in the aisle. How embarrassing!

The flight was 5 hours but seemed like an eternity and it was all down to a little treat of sweeties at the airport, made him extremely hyper. Looking back, I think one of the main reasons for the more difficult flights was that we were simply not prepared enough. We had no colouring books, the battery on the iPad was low and a whole host of other things.

Over the years and with lots of frequent flying we have put together some of our best tips on how to entertain toddlers on a plane based on our own experiences.

This includes some great products too, you may not be surprised that you will find an iPad and other tech gadgets on the list. We don’t like our son to use electronic gadgets too much at home, they are for treats now and again but this rule goes out the window when you are on a flight! Gadgets are your new best friend!

Now that we are more prepared and organised, flying has been great. Yes, there are times during the flight he wants to climb about or winged, but we are prepared and can deal with it better by distracting.

Top tips for how to entertain toddlers on a plane

So, if your planning on takings your kids on a flight don’t panic, do it! Here are our tried and tested tips and recommended products to help ensure a stress-free flight to keep your children entertained during a flight or long journey:

1. Fully charge all your gadgets

Make sure all your gadgets are fully charged, there is nothing worse than forgetting this and the battery running out early in the flight. We always make sure we take our iPhones, Kids Amazon Fire and Nintendo Switch, these are guaranteed to keep toddlers entertained a plane or any other form of transport for that matter!

2. Download lots of cartoons and movies

Make sure your gadgets and laptops are full stocked with a variety of cartoons and your toddlers favourite shows. In our case Paw Partrol, Blaze, PJ Masks and Peppa Pig.

3. Pack lots of colouring, sticker and reading books

We bought Brody a wide variety of books ranging from stories, colouring in books, sticker books and reading books. We again tried to relate the books to his favourite shows. We bought most of ours from Amazon as they have a wide range of books for kids. However you can also get these at the airport.

4. Have a surprise up your sleeve

It’s a good idea of have a surprise up your sleeve when flying with toddlers, just in case everything else fails. In our case it comes in the form of a Kinder Egg or a selection of small toy like these, if he promises to be a good boy.

5. Get snacks for the flight

Kids get hungry and when they do they let everyone know about it. So it’s a good idea to have a snack box lined up until the in-flight meal is served. If possible try to keep it healthy ranging from fruit, rasins, cheese and biscuits etc. However we always have a selection of sweets ready too.

6. Pack their favourite small toys and teddy

Bringing their favourite toy on holiday can be risky as something always gets lost. However we have found that it helps comfort them on the long flight, especially a teddy or doll they can cuddle into. On our last trip he brought ‘Doris’ which was a doll everywhere with him and it made him so happy.

7. Bottle on take off and landing help with pressure

Depending on the age of your child, we used to give them a bottle of milk just before take off and on landing to help with the pressure. We found this worked really well and he didn’t complain about his ears at all. You can check out the best baby bottles here.

8. Take them for a walk around the plane

It’s always good to take them on a little walk around the plane to aid circulation and health reasons, but also for a change of scenery. Toddlers can become bored very quickly. Be sure to wear something comfortable on their feet such as slippers, you can find a large selection of kids slippers here. You can choose from your favourite disney character such as Minnie Mouse, Disney Cars and many more.

9. Download kids apps on your phone or tablet

Keep your iPhone and tablets packed with apps for kids. Try to get some educational games and puzzles on there. His favourite game is called Kids Doodle for the Kids Amazon Fire tablet, there are a whole host of other great games too. Guaranteed to keep toddlers entertained on long haul flights.

10. Give them their own backpack

Providing your toddler with their on backpack gives them a sense of ownership that they are carrying their own bag. They can carry their own books, crayons and toys for the flight. Check out the best kids cartoon character backpacks on Amazon.

11. Pick snacks that take forever to eat

Try giving your child healthy food that takes longer to eat, this will occupy them for longer. Such as rasins, grapes and strawberries are a great selection and are full of natural sugars. It can be tempting to offer sweets, however try to resist as they are high in sugar and containing a sugar fueled child on a plane could be tricky! You can order a wide range of healthy snacks such as these organic snack selections.

12. In-Flight entertainment

Make use of the in flight entertainment, a different variety and something new can often keep them entertained for longer periods as they are not bored. There is usually a wide selection of animation movies, games and tv shows on long haul flights. If your airline doesn’t have in flight entertainment I would highly recommend getting an Amazon Fire for kids, they are great value for money and are specifically for kids.

13. Pre order your baby milk from the airport

We reserved our baby milk from Boots at the airport as we were not such how much we could get through security. Best to do this than run the risk of them being taken off you then Boots not having any in stock. Better safe than sorry.

14. Have medicine on hand just in case

If in the unfortunate event your child is ill on the flight, it’s always a good idea to have Calpol and Ashtons teething sachets on hand. We purchased 3 packs of 15 sachets making sure we had more than enough for the flights but the holiday as well.

15. Keep them comfortable

Why not bring their favourite travel blanket and a flight pillow for toddlers. Keeping them comfortable is very important to keeping them happy on a plane. If they are comfortable, relaxed and happy they may even have a little sleep for you. Check out the best flight pillows for toddlers here.

16. Invest in a Trunki

A ride along case which your child can sit on, these are a life saver at times in the airport, you can literally let them sit on it and pull them along. Kids love them too as they come in all sorts of colours and characters. Check them out here!

how to entertain toddlers on a plane - give them a window seat for the flight

17. Book a window seat

Flying is a spectacular thing for children, so embrace this with your child. Try to get a window seat and show them the clouds, sea and houses. As you get closer to landing try playing a game with the like i-spy.

18. Get a Power Bank Charger

These can be a life saver on holiday especially on long haul flights, as your battery can go dead. With the amazing piece of kit you can charge 3 devices at the same time so your gadgets always stay fully charged on the go. An essential travel accessory and highly recommended, check it out.

19. Pack spare clothes

Accidents can happen so always bring spare clothes in your baby bag or hand luggage. Pack some spare pajama’s for the flight as they are comfortable and snuggly for them. You can get some really cool patterns and designs of all sorts of character which they will love, check these out.

20. Consider a night flight if doing long haul

If we are travelling long haul, we try to do a night flight, as he is a good sleeper. It does help to make sure they are comfortable and snuggly, so we purcahsed the travel pillow and blanket set from Snoozihedz. He loved it, they do different characters and they are super soft and warm. When we went to Dubai, he literally went to sleep on take off and woke up when we landed.

Don’t worry…

If all else fails, just remember you are never going to see anyone on the flight again. So just do the best you can, everyone has been there and most people do understand.

So that was our tips on how to entertain toddlers on a plane, now its time for our best travel gadgets that will also help make flying with kids a breeze.

Best products to entertain toddlers on a plane

Here is our list of the best products to entertain toddlers on a plane. Click on the product to view more information and check the prices.

Product detailsImage

Nintendo Switch

  • Play anytime, anywhere with anyone
  • TV mode, tablet and hand held
  • Perfect for flights and on holiday

Super Mario Odyssey

  • Huge selection of new 3D worlds
  • New friends, new moves & worlds
  • The perfect game for kids
  • Ideal for long haul flights

Mario Kart Deluxe

  • New revamped battle mode
  • Wireless multiplayer
  • Not just for kids, play with the family
  • Another amazing Mario addition

Zelda breath of the wild

  • Discover more than 100 puzzles
  • Stunning graphics and landscapes
  • A great addition to your collection

Amazon Fire 8 HD for kids

  • Kid proof case in blue and pink
  • Vibrant HD screen
  • Up to 12 hours of battery
  • Over 5,000 games, app and books

Portable Battery Charger

  • Charger up to 4 devices at the same time
  • Charge an iPhone7 times faster
  • Portable charging on the move
  • Great for long haul flights

Trunki Ride on Suitcase

  • Ride on, tow along carry on suitcase for kids
  • hard wearing and light weight
  • Wide range of colours and characters

Kids travel backpack

  • Ideal for snacks, small toys and books
  • Choose from different sizes
  • Selection of zoo characters

Kids sticker books

  • Help develop their vocabulary & literacy skills
  • Over 100 first words
  • Perfect educational sticker book for kids
  • Hours of fun, great for long haul flights & road trips

Kids travel pillow

  • Super comfy travel pillow for children
  • Chin, neck and entire head support
  • Very soft and flexible travel pillow
  • Ensures they get a good sleep on the plane

Snack boxes for the flight

  • Reusable containers
  • Great for healthy snacks on the plane
  • Easy and quick clean up

These products are sure to make your next flight a breeze, they have certainly helped us over the years. So know you know the best products and tips on how to entertain toddlers on a plane, sit back, relax and enjoy your next plane journey! 🙂

Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you,
we earn a small commission if you make a purchase.

Kelly Bullock