Flying with kids is definitely an undertaking. Waking up early, getting through TSA, and installing your car seats on the plane is only half the hassle! The biggest hurdle you’ll probably face when flying as a family is keeping the kids entertained on the plane ride. Whether it’s 2 hours or 12 hours, keeping kids content and occupied in the cramped confines of an airplane seat or car seat is not easy! 

How to install a car seat on an airplane

However, we can make these trips much easier with some activities (and the wisdom in the Wheels Up course)! New and intentional toys will be exciting to your kiddo and help hold their attention through the whole flight. Since we know it’s safest for all kids to be in their own seats and in a child restraint system (if they’re under 40 lbs), each child will be allowed their own carry-on or personal bag. That means you can stock a kid’s backpack full of our top toys and grab a travel tray for the most peaceful family flight ever!

Wheels Up
Wheels Up

Here are the tops toys and activities for air travel:

30+ Activities For Kids On Plane Rides 

Best Airplane Activities for Babies 

Babies can be unpredictable, but luckily almost all their needs can be met with food, sleep, and entertainment! You can cover the other two using our baby travel checklist, but we have some ideas for the best engaging toys for babies on airplanes. 

Silicone Spinners

These silicone spinners are so much fun for babies! Just suction them to the airplane wall or to a tray table and let your little one have fun manipulating the little spinners. Fidget toys make great travel activities, because they never really get boring!

Wheel Activity Center

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This toy is similar to the silicone spinners, but it has a few more interaction zones! The high contrast colors and variety of sensory opportunities make this another great pick for keeping babies entertained. It also has a suction feature for the airplane wall or a tray table! 

Quiet Busy Books

Busy books can be played with in many different ways whether you’re reading them the cute story or they’re manipulating (and chewing on) the textures on each page. These are also good for airplane travel, because they don’t take up much space and can fit easily into carry-on luggage. 

Palm Teether

This classic teether is a favorite for a reason! Babies love it and you’ll love that it’ll keep them both entertained and soothed, even when teething. To prevent the teether from falling on the dirty airport or airplane floor, we recommend using a pacifier clip to attach it to your baby’s clothes. (Do not attach it to the car seat.) 

Sensory Firefly Toy

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Here’s another high contrast toy your littles with love! There are all sorts of textures, colors, and features of this little firefly toy that makes it a blast for kids under two. We also like that it has a clip, so it can be attached to luggage, strollers, or anything else handy!

Best Airplane Activities for Toddlers

Toddlers love to be challenged. Finding toys that not only stimulate their senses, but engage them intellectually or socially, is a smart way to keep them occupied. You can learn more about how to entertain a toddler on a plane here

Busy Board

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This busy board is compact, but super engaging with satisfying switches, buttons, and lights that’ll stimulate your child’s imagination. Are they a conductor of a train or an astronaut flying to the moon? Are they in the plane’s cockpit themselves? Your toddler will love to pretend, learn, and fidget on this busy board. 

Lacing Boards

Lacing boards help develop your child’s fine motor skills while also engaging their imagination. They’re a simple toy that can provide lots of entertainment and fit easily into your child’s backpack or carry-on!

Water Wow! Activity Books

These are one of our favorite toys for toddler travel! It’s a mess-free coloring activity set that doesn’t require anything but one water pen. Just fill up the pen, and let them do their thing! The color will reveal itself, and that’ll be super exciting to your little artist! Moreover, the best part? These are totally reusable, providing endless entertainment and creativity without any mess. The colors will fade and your kids can do it all over again (like on the trip back home.) 

Window Clings

It’s already pretty amazing to look out an airplane window. Your toddlers will love it! However, to make it even more exciting, add some window clings for them to enjoy!

Pop-Up Shape Sorter

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Shape sorters usually have a lot of pieces and are pretty bulk, neither feature is ideal for airplane travel. However, this simple sorter only has just four shapes and is collapsible! Plus, there are multiple ways to play, because your toddler can also take apart the shapes for a fun matching or puzzle game. Multi-purpose toys are great for air travel! 

Travel Hacks for Flying with Kids

Best Airplane Activities for Preschoolers and Kindergarteners

Like toddlers, preschoolers and kindergarteners like to be challenged! However, at this age they can handle multi-step directions and more complex toys that foster development and also keep them entertained for hours. Here are some toys for preschoolers and kindergarteners on planes:

Shape Puzzles

This shape puzzle can be played with in lots of ways! It comes in a small tin carrying case that includes all the shapes and various cards that show your 3-6 year-old how to create all sorts of things from cars to bugs! Your child can follow the idea cards or come up with their own shape creation!

My First Search & Find Books

Best Airplane Activities for Preschoolers and Kindergarteners
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No, they’re probably not quite ready for “Where’s Waldo,” but “My First” search and find books are a great introduction to the “I Spy” concept we all know and love. Your preschooler or kindergartener will love the challenge of finding all the items on each vibrant page!

Color Wonder Markers and Activity Books

Like the Water Wow books, Color Wonder is a mess-free coloring option! However, Color Wonder still allows your child to choose colors and draw designs. Basically, they allow for a little more creative freedom without any more mess, since Color Wonder markers only show up on the special paper provided in the activity set!

Pocket Magnetic Blocks

Best Airplane Activities for Preschoolers and Kindergarteners
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Open-ended toys like blocks are perfect for keeping kids busy for long periods of time. Blocks on a plane may seem like a bad idea, but these are magnetic and there are only 8 pieces, so no giant towers tumbling down with dozens of blocks to pick up. These are sleek and simple, but will still provide plenty of entertainment. 

Animal Pop Tubes

Every toddler loves a good fidget toy! However, these have the added benefit of hosting the likeness of various animals. That means not only will they keep your child’s sense engaged, but they can also be a great tool for imaginative play! 

Best Airplane Activities for Kids

Elementary-aged kids are ready for games and activities with a long-term goal. You can play plenty of classic road trip type games with them and give them plenty of activities that don’t take up a lot of space, but provide plenty of entertainment. Below are some of the products in our long list of airplane toy ideas for kids:

Classic Card Games

Unlike a road trip, you’ll actually be able to hang out with your kids on the plane. This makes for the perfect opportunity to play some classic card games like Old Maid and Crazy Eights! This set of six classic card games will keep the fun going for hours. 

Wikki Stix

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Wikki Stix are open-ended craft sticks that your child can mold into whatever they want! They can create anything from a simple stick figure to a whole city skyline. And, with a long flight, your kid will have plenty of time to create whatever they want!

Robot Fidget Toys

For imagination-based play lovers, these fidget robot toys are a lot of fun! They’re inexpensive, don’t take up a lot of room in your carry-on, and promote lots of storytelling opportunities for your child!


Yes, Play-Doh can be a bit messy, but by the time your child is in elementary school, it becomes much less messy. As long as you keep it confined to the tray table you bring along, Play-Doh can become one of your family’s favorite plane activities. Whether you want to create together or play Play-Doh pictionary

Magnetic Jigsaw Puzzle

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Puzzles aren’t usually something that’s very travel-friendly, but this Melissa & Doug Take-Along puzzle set solves the main pain-points of bringing puzzles on flights! First of all, it all comes in a cute book-style carrying case. Second of all, it’s magnetic and the pieces fit within the book. That means you always have space for the puzzles and the pieces won’t go flying everywhere. We love it and so will your child! 

Best Airplane Activities for Tweens 

Tweens can be a challenge period, but especially when buying things to entertain them. They’re out of the age where they like toys, but not quite old enough to know exactly how to keep themselves busy all the time. But, here are some activities that might keep your tweens entertained the whole flight!

Scratch-Art Kits

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Many tweens love arts and crafts. Scratch-art is a unique creative experience that allows your tweens to express themselves using only two tools: the scratch paper and the scratch tool. That makes it a very travel-friendly craft choice!

Kanoodle Brain Teaser Game

This brain teaser game has been trendy among tweens for a while now! It’s a single-player game where you simply try to fit various shapes into the case provided. There are thousands of ways to do it and 200 additional games to play using the items, so this brain teaser can keep your child entertained for a long time! 


Here’s another craft that doesn’t take much supplies or space! This origami set includes 54 different origami projects that can easily be completed on a tray table during a flight!  

ThinkFun Fifteen Puzzle Games

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This numerical puzzle game is a classic! Create some cool memories with your tween by showing him or her all your favorite travel games that are possible with this set! 

Spot It! Card Game

Spot-It! Is a favorite card game in many households! If you already have it, consider getting a new edition that includes one of your tween’s favorite things, like Marvel Superheroes or Squishmallows. It’ll add some new interest to this classic game! 

Best Airplane Activities for Any Age

There are some activities that are great for kids of any age. These are smart to pack if you have multiple kids with various age gaps, because everyone can enjoy these activities! 

Yoto Mini, Carrying Case, and Headphones

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The Yoto Mini is a recent favorite travel activity for us at Safe in the Seat! It’s a screen-free audio player that can play music, podcasts, short stories, and whole audiobooks. They have audio selections for any age group whether your toddler wants to jam to their favorite Super Simple Songs, your third grader is obsessed with dinosaurs, or your tweens want to binge the entire Chronicles of Narnia series, Yoto has something for everyone in your family!

*Sometimes they struggle to keep the Yoto Mini in stock. But the bigger Gen 3 Yoto Palyer is still great for travel if you have an upcoming trip! 

iPad, Case and Headphones

If you’re not afraid of some screen time in exchange for peace and quiet on the plan, bring an iPad! Download lots of kid-friendly entertainment from games to movies to keep kids of any age content on the trip. Just don’t forget headphones and a heavy-duty case! 

Gobe Snack Spinners

Flying with kids is going to involve a lot of snacks, and that’s okay. Make snack time both satisfying and entertaining by packing their treats in a Gobe Snack Spinner. It’ll prevent messes and provide a stimulating activity for snack time! 


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Squigz are another one of our favorite toys for all ages. Toddlers, tweens, adults, and everyone in between can enjoy these fun, open-ended suction construction toys! 

Magnetic Blocks

Magnetic blocks, like Squigz, offer hours of play for anyone. Just make sure that you keep it contained to the tray table to avoid little blocks getting lost on the airplane floor. 

LED Doodle Pad or Dry-Erase Board

Kids love to doodle, no matter their age. Bringing a long and LED doodle pad or dry erase board will give them hours of fun, without bringing heavy sketch pads and lots of loose supplies like markers, pencils, and erasers. Plus, since they’re flat, it’s easy to slide them into any luggage or bag!

Keep kids of all ages entertained on your next flight with these airplane activities!

Ready to take off? Don’t forget your airplane toys and activities! We hope this post helped you add some key tools to your packing list that’ll help make the journey more enjoyable for everyone.

5 tips for flying with car seats

For more on air travel with kids, take our Wheels Up: Airplane Travel Course and check out these other blog posts on air travel:

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