Helpful Tips

How to Entertain Your Toddler On a Plane

triplets in the airplane

Air travel with the kids can be a real challenge. In fact, it’s one of the main reasons most families choose to put off family vacations, waiting until the kids are a little older instead. However, if you know how to entertain a toddler on a plane, there’s no reason you have to put off the annual family trip. It’s true that toddlers tend to get bored prettily easily. Throw in the fact that they have to sit down for several hours at a time, in an enclosed space, and you have a recipe for disaster. But with the following tips, you can be prepared for even the worst tantrum and learn how to keep the kids happy and entertained for the duration of the plane ride.

If you’re desperate to entertain a toddler on a plane, first make sure you dress them comfortably, based on the weather and the time of day. Next, bring along their iPads and make sure they’re loaded with apps, movies, and even their favorite books. Snacks will also be important. Bringing along the perfect comfort food, combined with the right toys, a tablet, and some comfortable clothing, you and the kids can sit back, enjoy the flight and get started on your first family adventure.

Preparing for the Worst

Most parents think about a five to eight-hour flight with their toddlers and immediately reconsider whether or not a family vacation is really worth it.

Like most things in life, preparation is key. If you have twins, you’ve definitely got your hands full. But by following my tips on how to keep your little ones entertained, everyone can enjoy a fun, quiet plane ride that won’t end with the kids crying and mom and dad wishing they would’ve just stayed home.

First, make sure the kids have dressed appropriately. The clothes and shoes are comfortable. Bringing along a favorite pillow and blanket, and a couple of soft stuffed animals can also help and will make your toddlers feel more at home and secure.


Books are always a good idea, no matter where you’re taking the kids. But if you’re flying, an armful of books can be a real lifesaver. However, one downside is the amount of space they can take up, which brings me to the next solution.

Tablets to the Rescue

Little boy using tablet

Tablet use may be frowned upon by some parents, but when you’re stuck on a plane with restless toddlers, you’ll quickly reconsider the way you feel about them. Not only can your kids watch movies, listen to music, and play games, but you can also download their favorite books. This will obviously help to save on precious carry-on space. Just don’t forget the charger and the headphones.

Getting Crafty

Take plenty of coloring books, paper, stickers, and crayons. If your kids love to color, then they’ll enjoy some new coloring books and any other easy to clean up crafts you can think of. Of course, if you have a tablet, you can also download a coloring book app.

Snack Time

Whatever you do, don’t forget snacks for the kids. This can be a real challenge with all the restrictions that come along with what you can and can’t bring on a plane, so you may need to purchase snacks for the kids at the airport. This can be pretty pricey. However, you don’t want to end up stuck on a plane with a couple of hungry toddlers. Eating before you go and enjoying a snack on the way to the airport can help, but if you’re on a longer flight, you’ll need to come up with a plan B. Make sure you contact the airline ahead of time and ask if you can bring packaged food and drinks along for the flight. If not, make a list and be prepared to pay a little extra for snacks at the airport.

Related Questions

How Do I Get the Kids and All Their Gear on the Plane Quickly and Painlessly?

If you’ve never flown with your kids before, then your biggest fear is running through the airport, dragging two tired and screaming toddlers behind you as you watch the airline staff close the gates. But if you have the best double umbrella stroller, missing a flight shouldn’t be a concern. Most airlines will allow you to take your stroller right up to the gate. The stroller will be checked and stored under the plane. Once the plane arrives, the airline staff will have the stroller ready and waiting for you. How great is that? If you’re looking for a travel-friendly model, I recommend the ZOE XL2 best double stroller. It’s durable, easy to use, and features a fast-fold design, which is something every parent can appreciate.

What Types of Snacks Should I Take on the Plane?

If you’re allowed to bring food from home, then the possibilities really are endless. Make sure the snacks you bring are easy for the kids to handle, not messy, and are made to be eaten on the go. Turkey and cheese wraps, fresh-cut fruits and veggies, or even homemade trail mix are all great, healthy options that are easy for toddlers to manage on their own. If you’d like to learn more about plane friendly snacks for the kids, click here to read my article on easy toddler meal ideas.

Do I Have to Bring A Car Seat for My Toddler?

No. Car seats are typically not required to fly. In most cases, your toddler should fit well into a standard airline seat, however, they aren’t quite as secure as your child’s car seat. Some airlines will allow you to bring a car seat on board and use it to secure your child during take-off and landing. If you’re not sure whether or not a car seat is needed, or if you can bring it on the plane, contact the airline a week prior to your flight for more information.

Final Thoughts

Learning how to entertain a toddler on a plane may seem challenging and even a little scary, but it’s possible. With the right gear, snacks, clothing, and a back-up plan or two, you should have everything you need to keep your toddler happy, satisfied, and quiet for the duration of your flight. Just remember to bring plenty of options, dress the kids in comfortable clothes, and make a big deal about the adventure you’re all about to embark on.