I’ve spent many hours on airplanes with babies, small children, and more recently a teenager, and I’ve learned that sometimes the smallest and simplest things can provide hours of entertainment!
My requirements for these recommendations are based on lots of experience. Everything I recommend here is:
- makes no sound (or the sound can be turned off)
- small enough to be easily portable
- not made up of a lot of little pieces that can get lost on the go
This Oball Classic Ball was one of my favorites when my kids were babies. It’s light, easy to pack, and easy for little fingers to hold on to.
The Manhattan Toy Skwish Natural Rattle is another great packable toy that will keep babies occupied and happy, and you’ll likely find yourself squishing it, too!
I always tried to have a few plastic links in my bag for my babies to grab and chew on. They were a great distraction and fit so easily into little hands.
This silicone bubble baby toy wasn’t around when my babies needed it, but I think it looks like a perfect travel toy.
For Young Children
A Boogie Board writing tablet like this was one of my daughter’s favorite things when she was a toddler, and it came with us on many of our trips for entertainment on the airplane. It was so much easier to pack than paper and crayons that could got easily lost and broken.
For an even smaller option, this one looks and feels more like a smart phone, which might appeal to a lot of kids.
I’m planning to buy some of these Wikki Stix for my youngest before our next trip. I think she’ll really enjoy them, and I bet her older siblings will want a turn with them, too!
For Older Kids
This Origami puzzle pad entertained my kids (and my husband) on several flights until they were all used up. The pad is small and so easy to pack in a carry on bag, and the puzzles were a great way to engage their minds and pass the time.
My daughter and I both enjoy word games, and Scrabble Twist is a great one for traveling. We brought it along on some flights last year and it was a great way to pass the time. You can play solo or compete with 2-8 people.
This one is a little more pricey, but if your kids love to read and you plan to travel much, investing in a Kindle Paperwhite E-Reader is so much better than packing around heavy books. Your back with thank you.
And of course, I don’t want to leave out the classic Rubik’s Cube. This little cube can entertain a determined kid for hours.
For the Whole Family
We like to bring some games along on trips. These two are great for airports, airplanes (there is plenty of room on a tray table for either one), and during down times in your hotel.
Pass the Pigs has joined us for some fun on flights. It’s easy enough for young kids and still entertaining for adults.
We brought Quixx with us to Norway and Poland and it was the perfect way to relax after some sightseeing and a good break from screens on the long flights. It’s a simple but addicting dice game that even my 6 year old was able to enjoy.
For practical gift ideas for adults, check out this post about my favorite travel gear that I really use when I travel.
What other toys or gadgets do you recommend to make traveling with kids more fun? I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments!
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