This post may contain affiliate links. Read my whole disclosure here.
Limited time: The 5-step strategy to setting effective limits with your child
Download the strategy that will help you set limits with calm and empathy, and encourage kids to follow your guidance without threats or punishments!
Click here to download the free guide!
If you are preparing for a flight with a young child, here are 5 great airplane activities for young kids that can make your trip more enjoyable!
Spending several hours in an airplane with a young child can be challenging. Toddlers and preschoolers don't have a lot of patience and a long flight can easily become unpleasant if they get bored and upset.
Luckily, there are some activities that can keep kids busy for a long time and help us "survive" (and even enjoy) the flight! We traveled several times by plane with our son ever since he was a baby, so we had the chance to discover some nice activities that are perfect for making the trip easier and more joyful for everyone!
Here are some of our favorite activities that I think your kids would like too!
1. Playing "on the go" games
This is a great activity because you will not need any materials or preparations. So these games are a free and fun way to keep kids entertained.
If you need some inspiration, I've created a list of our favorite road trip games for young kids with 12 ideas that we use during car trips. Most of them can also be played during flights, so you'll find there some nice ideas to try. (check out numbers 1, 2, 4, 7, 9, and 10 on the list)
2. Activities from a travel binder
If you never used a travel binder before, you should totally try it! Basically it is a binder with printed activities that can be easily packed und used anywhere. You can find a lot of printable activities on Pinterest depending on your child's age so you can prepare the binder at home. The good thing about this is that you can reuse the printable activities anytime you need. And they will keep your kids busy over and over again!
If you want to try this, you can check out and download our activity sheets from here: Travel binder for young kids: a great way to have fun (and quiet moments) on the road.
One of our favorite activities that we always make sure to include in our binder is a scavenger hunt. Young kids like scavenger hunts and this activity can keep them engaged for a long time!
If you want to plan a scavenger hunt on the airport or in the plane, you can download our printable file at the end of the article.
photo credit: Sunny Studio / shutterstock.com
3. Activities using wipe-clean activity books
When it comes to wipe-clean books, there are a lot of different books to choose from. Some of them are more focused on educational activities, others are more playful. We like the Usborne books a lot and we use them often. We also discovered the activity books from Scholastic and they are also great, especially for preschoolers.
These are the books that we like:
You will find plenty of options on book stores or online and you can choose a theme that your child really enjoys. The best thing about these activity books is that you can use them over and over again, so they are a good resource to add to your luggage.
4. Playing with stickers
We always take some sticker books with us during the flight. They are easy to pack and can keep us busy for a long time.
These are some of our favorite sticker books:
- First Sticker Books from Usborne
- National Geographic sticker activity book (they have a lot of themes to choose from and they combine playing with stickers with learning new things)
- The World of Eric Carle - My First Sticker Treasury (and other sticker books from the Eric Carle's collection).
For toddlers, you can replace the sticker books with gel window clings. They can use the gel clings on the airplane window and stick them over and over again. It's really surprising how such a simple thing can keep kids busy for a long time!
photo credit: D13 / shutterstock.com
5. Mess-free coloring
I don't like to bring a lot of crayons or markers in the airplane because they always fall from the table or create some mess and the whole activity become frustrating for both of us. So I was really happy to discover the mess-free coloring books from Melissa & Doug.
We don't use them at home but they are perfect for traveling! Bogdan uses them during road trips and they are great for flight too. Each activity book has a "magic" pen and the pictures appear as the child colors the pages.
After coloring the picture, the child also has to find some items in it and this makes the activity more engaging!
These are the "On the Go" activity books that we have:
Here are some additional ideas that you can try during airplane trips.
Activities with tape
This is a recent discovery and I'm glad to share it with you! Playing with washi tape is easy and fun! And you'll certainly enjoy some quiet moments while the child is busy with it.
Here is a nice activity book from Melissa & Doug that includes 20 reusable scenes and 4 colored tapes. The activities are only suitable for preschoolers.
Making snack time special
This is trick that we use every time. We pack some of Bogdan's favorite snacks in our hand luggage. This way I always have some delicious treats at hand during the flight.
Snacks keep him busy for a while and, most of all, they help him maintain a good mood during the trip!
Preparing some playful gifts
This is a very simple and nice idea that worked great for us! I take some very lightweight presents on the plane. They are usually cheap toys, sticker books, magnetic games, but they are very nice wrapped. When my child starts to get in a bad mood, I offer him a present and his mood immediately changes.
This tip is really easy to put into practice and has amazing effects!
I hope that these ideas will make your flights easier to manage and more enjoyable for the kids! At the end, I can only wish you a pleasant flight and a wonderful time at your destination!
Download the printable scavenger hunt
You can download the printable scavenger hunt using the form in this article: Airplane scavenger hunt for young kids. The form is at the end of the article.
The printable file contains 3 pages with different scavenger hunts that are great for keeping kids busy during airplane trips.
photo credit preview image: Sunny Studio / shutterstock.com