I’ve been doing solo flights between Austria and Malaysia since my eldest was 9 months old. And have been doing it every year, sometimes twice a year. It’s a 1 hour transit flight to Germany and then a 12 hour flight to Malaysia. Now, my eldest is 8 years and my toddler is 20 months old. After going through numerous flights with toys and activities, some was unnecessary and some not, and considering the extra carry-on, I’ve come up with the best airplane toys for toddlers.
Before I just grab whatever toys available or buying new ones, I had a few considerations in mind. They must be :
- Small / Portable – Keep in mind that travelling with a toddler means your carry-on will be filled with diapers, food/snacks, bottles, milk, change of clothes, etc.
- Entertaining – Time spent on each activity should be stretched as long as possible.
- The lap factor – There’s a possibility my little one (LO) will have to sit on my lap for 12 hours as she didn’t have her own seat.
- Accessible – Toys should be within arms-reach.
- Mess free – Anything sticky, crumbly, splatter or gooey, leave them at home.
- Noise free – Toys which sings and make noises; also, leave them at home. You already have an active toddler. You don’t want to annoy anymore passengers.
- Appropriate – Toys need to suit Little E’s age, development and what she likes.
So, first things first, the bag. It has to be able to fit all the toys and activities IN a compact bag or a kit. You don’t want to be rummaging through your big carry-on searching for a toy. And I’ve decided to use a toiletry bag to place all her entertainment.
What I like about this bag is, it’s spacious and has two clear compartments, which is good. I like to be able to spot the activities or toys easily without scrambling through the compartments.
The Toys & Activities
- 1×3 Rubiks – Which was perfect! Little E loves turning the cubes around. And besides, it is easy for little hands to handle and not bulky.
- Calculator – To substitute a noisy toy handphone.
- Magnetic blocks – Got a starter-pack for half a price and was one of Little E’s favorite. Don’t have to worry about them falling over and under your seat.
- Padlock & key – I thought this was an interesting activity, small and light. However, it was a little difficult for her to insert the key in the padlock, therefore it was not used so much.
- Washi tape – Was her favorite. Substituting it as band-aid and pasted all over ourselves playing, „Where are you hurt?“
- Bottle & cotton buds – A simple clear travel bottle and some cotton buds kept Little E busy; taking them out and putting back in.
- Peppa Pig books – Little E loves books and is obsessed with Peppa Pig. These are great as they are small, thin, light, and costs less than a Euro each.
- Hair brush – Somehow my toddler finds a hair brush interesting. So I got a portable one. She did not only brushed her hair but ours as well, which was great. At least I still looked presentable after a 12 hour flight.
- Jacob’s ladder – It is a toy made of wooden blocks and held together by ribbons. Little E’s hands are still small to be able to play this so I had to play with her. She was fascinated by the blocks flipping and changing colors as it cacades down.
- ABC book – A new book which she has not seen. Besides, it’s never too early to learn the alphabets.
- Doodle board – A mini version of the magnetic board makes it compact to bring it along.
- Coloring book – You can never go wrong with a coloring book and Little E is into coloring nowadays.
- Stickers – Good and fun activity for toddlers’ fine motor development.
- Rubber stamps – Another simple and fun activity for toddlers (with supervision). They just enjoy the process of making images on pages. I know mine did.
- Color pencils – A must have for all kids big and small. What I like about the Crayola Twistables is, I don’t have to worry about them getting blunt and having to sharpen them.
- Surprise toys – I wrapped some new toys which she has not seen and a few of her favorite ones (which I hid them 2-3 weeks before flying). However, it was only given to her in desperate times.
This is how it looks once I have packed everything inside the organizer. It was a life-saver for me as I did not have an extra seat for Little E. She was either on my lap, or on my seat, which meant I was curling my legs on the floor doing some kind of a yoga pose.