10 Things for Traveling with a Toddler on a Plane - Big A Bigger World

Just as a soldier going off to war carefully analyzes each item placed into his pack, this is how I prepare my “Kid Pack” for a carry-on. I overthink and overanalyze everything I place in my “Kid Pack.” I need these items to be useful, light, easy to access, and mostly I need them to work.

Let’s face it taking two small kiddos on an airplane can make the most composed person worry. One of my biggest requirements is more than one use. I pack items that can be used while on the plane as well as on the trip. Another tip I have learned is I no longer let my kids have their own carry on bags. It never fails, my kids are always excited to have their own bags and five minutes into the airport I end up carrying both of their bags.

I do suggest if your child responds well to deep pressure then having them carry their items in a backpack before the flight would help calm them and decrease sensory overload. These are my tried and true items that make a recurring appearance in my carry on and have proven successful with our family.

Planning a road trip instead? I’ve got you covered! Check out my road trip guide.

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1. Tablet

We try to limit electronics time with our kids. However… Flights get to be the exception to the rule. We try to use them only when absolutely necessary and have them pre-programmed with our kids favorite apps and movies. I keep this quickly accessible because I carry that fear in the back of my mind that Logan will meltdown. Since electronics are limited at our house this is an easy motivator and meltdown deterrent.

There are many different tablets that can be purchased. I am a huge Amazon Prime mom, hey taking kids out to the store is rough, Amazon is heaven sent. I got both kids an Amazon Kindle Fire tablet. They have held up many trips and I have been happy with this purchase. I also got these shockproof cases with easy kid handles. There are a couple different colors but both my kids have dropped their Kindles in the airport, on the plane, and on the street while in these cases and they were perfectly ok afterward. They have a couple different fun colors to pick from. I like the double handles which make it easier for both kids to hold their tablets securely.

Its worth a mention that we got a 1-month free trial of Amazon FreeTime Unlimited for the kid’s Kindle tablets. It came in handy when we were trying to fill the tablets with content for those periods without access to the internet. There are tons of videos, games, etc. on FreeTime, so you’ll never run out of content.

2. Lots Of Their Favorite Snacks

Liv loves a good snack or two. Logan, on the other hand, tends to be a lot pickier.  Making sure I have something that he will eat prevents us from running around the terminal before our flight trying to find something. Apples, grapes, fruit loops, and goldfish can go a long way. Plus I have found that my kids fly better with happy tummies.

3. Window Clings For Plane Windows

Window clings can easily found at Target in the dollar section as well as the dollar store. Generally, around holiday times, you can find holiday-specific ones. These can keep our kids entertained for some time also while looking out the window. They are light, easily packed, and easy to clean up. If you have a hard time finding some at your local stores there are some fun educational ones available on Amazon that are educational and can promote some learning and interaction.

4. Small Playdoh Containers

Liv loves play-doh and can entertain herself for a good hour. Once in the air and the tray table down we can roll out the doh and practice our letters or a sizzling snake. I buy the smaller size ones and we only take two.

5. Melissa and Doug Paint Books

little boy in carseat eating a chocolate chip cookie and painting in Melissa and Doug Water Wow coloring book

Logan loves these books. They come with a paintbrush that fills with water. He paints the page and the picture changes from white to a colorful scene. Reusable, no mess, no cleanup, and worth every penny. I got the double package. We also throw these in our day pack while we travel, this is just one of the simple books Logan likes and can entertain him if we are at a restaurant and he is a little overwhelmed.

6. Change of Clothes and Warm Socks

Let’s face it kids are messy. An extra change of clothes is always necessary. Logan doesn’t tolerate messes so well so having that change of clothes can come in handy if something were to spill or occur. During the flight, I dress my kiddos in layers of comfy clothes and warm socks. Logan loves to sit back and kick his shoe off whenever he gets seated. Little sister always follows suit. Flights tend to be cold and warms sock are a must for their little piggies.

7. Lovey Or Blanket

I usually use a lightweight blanket. Liv is a blanket kid and depending on our flight time she may still be clingy or sleepy. Her blanket gives her a little extra comfort and can be used if she naps on the flight. Logan’s lovey is 4 small Super Jet planes. I can also use the blanket to place over the top of the front and back seat to create a safe area for Logan to decompress if needed.

8. Gum and Lollipops

mother with son and daughter eating lollipops on tour bus

Gum and lollipops can help with ear pressure while landing and taking off. Once we get on the plane I give my kids a lollipop while my husband and I get everything loaded in the overhead compartments and get everyone situated. I give both my kids a piece of gum as we are about to take off to help combat air pressure.

9. Headphones

Headphones are great especially if your kid is sensitive to sounds, it also can help with changes in the cabin pressure. In addition, there is something about Peppa Pig’s voice that just gets to me. I love soft headband style headphones as the kids enjoyed picking out their favorite animals. They are soft, comfortable, easily adjustable, and super cute.

10. Workbooks And Coloring Books

I love the dry erase workbooks. I get a lot of use out of them while at home and while traveling. It also gives Logan the chance to work on some fine motor skills and a little education while having fun. Olivia is able to work on letter recognition, fine motor skills, and it is reusable! I have been able to find this in-store at Walmart and Costco, but they were cheaper on Amazon. I bring along a small coloring book and twistable crayons. Logan peels the paper off his crayons and makes a mess with them. Twistable crayons prevent the mess and do not break as easily and from Liv chewing on them.

a boy and a girl coloring in books on a plane

You know your child more than anyone else, my list may be different from yours. This is a great place to start and personalize for your family. I suggest utilizing items that your child enjoys and brings them comfort. I try to have many different items so I if something doesn’t work I can pull out something else. Sometimes we use only one item, sometimes a couple of items, and sometimes only one item.

What are some of your successful flight items? Comment below and share your ideas and strategies to get through those sometimes grueling flights.