The time has arrived. You can no longer put it off. Grandma and grandpa want to see your toddler. That is all hunky-dory EXCEPT that they live across the other side of the world. It will take almost a whole day’s worth of travel for you to get there.

You are not looking forward to it. You have heard horror stories of parents who have suffered through excruciating plane flights while their toddlers ran up and down the plane aisle, disturbing everyone on board.

You don’t know how you will survive but you swear that you will do everything in your power to be prepared in advance.

You know that you have to find a way to keep your toddler happy and engaged on the flight so that you can get at least 15 minutes to yourself and close your eyes. Of course, you may be lucky enough to be on a flight that has individual seat screens but you only want to use that as a last option. You also prefer to keep your iPad hidden and only pull it out if you really have to. You suddenly have a brainwave…what about NEW TOYS that he or she has never had before?

Below are our top recommended travel toys for toddlers on airplanes. To qualify for our recommended list below, the toy was considered along the following factors:

  • Portable

The toy has to be easy to take along. No point getting a toy that weighs a ton and uses up all your hand carry luggage weight allowance, or is so bulky that it won’t fit in a hand carry bag.

  • Quiet

You won’t be able to tell if your toddler will decide to go on a speed-jabbering spree but at the very least, the toy should be quiet! Or at least have a switch off sound function.

  • Multiple play options

It’s going to be a long plane flight so you want to maximize the number of ways that your toddler can play with this toy.

  • Immobile

We received very good advice from another travel-weather-beaten mom, “Don’t ever get your toddler a ball on the plane. You will find yourself getting up countless times from your seat to chase the ball down the aisle.”

  • Independent play

This might be a dream requirement as your toddler is more likely to be engaged with the toy for longer if you are also engaged in the play but we can at least try to find toys that promote independent play, right?

  • Value for money

The toy may not necessarily be cheap but it should provide value for what you are spending on it. Actually come to think of it…what is a less stressful and relaxing flight worth to you? Probably a lot!

Well, here are our top 7 recommended travel toys for toddlers on airplanes that met our requirements.

Play-Doh

This is a great Amazon Exclusive deal and especially suitable for travel. The tubs are a little smaller than the retail ones but this also means that you won’t have to carry extra weight to have multiple colored Play-Doh choices for your toddler.

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The great thing about Play-Doh is that it is great as a sensory toy and has so many varied uses too. It is so effective as an airplane toy in fact, that British Airways named it as their top toy to keep young kids happy on flights (better than an iPad. WHATT???)

You don’t have to bring all 10 tubs with you- just choose a few tubs to take along if you wish. You can reuse the same tubs for the flight to and back or vary the colors.

And it’s cheap enough so that if you lose some on the plane, no big deal!

  • Portable: Each tub is about 2 ounces.
  • Quiet: One of the best toys around for a flight as it won’t even make any noise if dropped!
  • Multiple play options: Besides molding and shaping, you can stack the Play-Doh tubs or use the tubs as containers for other things.
  • Immobile: This Play-Doh won’t be going anywhere (unless your toddler decides to throw it, in which case, you will have more to worry about than just having to get up from your seat. Think HITTING ANOTHER PERSON! Acckk!)
  • Independent play: If your toddler can be trusted not to eat a whole lump of Play-Doh, this is probably one of the safer toys around to allow your toddler to play on his or her own unsupervised.
  • Value for money: Unless you have time to make your own, these are great value for money.

Melissa Clay Activity Set

If you have a more advanced toddler, get him or her the Melissa Clay Activity Set. This is similar to Play-Doh but it also comes with a craft kit filled with sculpting tools.

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The kit contains 5 stamp cubes, 3 rolling pins, 1 wheel press and 4 tubs of dough. Every tub lid has a mold on it (so clever!). Let your toddler get creative and do some serious shaping and molding.

If you love this kit so much, you may want to get a slightly different kit for the flight back! The Melissa & Doug Cut and Sculpt is a great choice too but this kit does contain 2 scissors (one straight and one zig zag). You will need to check with your local airport to find out whether it will be allowed on board the plane but in the US, scissors below 4 inches are fine while in the UK, they need to be below 6cm. However, if you don’t want to worry about this stress of getting the scissors through scanning, just stick with the Melissa-Clay-Activity-Set.

  1. Portable: 10 x 10 x 1.5 inches, 1.3 pounds.
  2. Quiet: Your toddler may potentially knock the rolling pins together or use the tools to drum on the snack tray but otherwise, not a peep from this toy!
  3. Multiple play options: You can stack the stamps like blocks, or use them as dice and like mentioned before, use the rolling pins like drumsticks!
  4. Immobile: The rolling pins could potentially roll away if dropped but they won’t get as far as a ball.
  5. Independent play: Your toddler could mostly play on his or her own with this set as long as he or she won’t eat the clay or throw the craft tools at other passengers.
  6. Value for money: Pretty good value for the quality, potential play opportunities and engagement strength.

Melissa & Doug On the Go Water Wow

Coloring is a very engaging activity for toddlers but the problem is when the coloring gets on furniture! The last thing you want to have to do is watch like your toddler like a hawk because that would mean no relaxation time for you.

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The Melissa & Doug On the Go Water Wow has the perfect solution to this problem. The coloring pen is filled with ordinary water only but it can still magically make color appear on special Melissa & Doug On the Go Water Wow. Your toddler will find this toy amazing and the best part is that you don’t have to supervise your toddler every other micro second. Just make sure that you empty the pen before the baggage scan and you can fill the pen up while you are on the plane.

The second best part is that these pads are reusable. Once the water has dried, your toddler can recolor them again!

The third best part is that if you still have a toddler who mouths everything, you won’t have to worry about your toddler eating a mouthful of paint!

This set comes with two coloring pads- perfect if you want to save one for the flight to your destination and the other for your flight back. Each coloring pad has about 4 pages.

  • Portable: 10 x 6 x 10 inches, 13.1 ounces.
  • Quiet: Not a peep from this toy!
  • Multiple play options: You can really only color with these pads but you can color over and over again! If you don’t intend to reuse the pages and don’t mind destroying the pad, you could potentially use other media like crayons on them, cut them up with scissors or use tracing paper on it to draw.
  • Immobile: These pads won’t be going anywhere.
  • Independent play: Your toddler could definitely play on his or her own with these pads once you have filled the pen up with water.
  • Value for money: Pretty good value for the quality, especially because these are reusable.

Crayola Fingerpaint and Paper

This is another amazing creation but by Crayola this time! This one is designed for toddlers who are not yet ready to hold a pen but still love painting.

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Your toddler dips his or her finger into the clear gel and applies it to special Crayola paper and boom, color appears on the paper. This will not work anywhere else, so you don’t have to worry about color-staining other things around you. There are a few downsides to this kit though. If you have a toddler that still eats everything on his or her fingers, this will probably not be a suitable toy to get. Secondly, the gel is limited in quantity so once it has been used up, that’s it, you can’t reuse it again.

But if you have a toddler who loves painting with bare fingers, this may the best kit to bring along.

  • Portable: 1.8 x 9.1 x 12.6 inches, 12 ounces.
  • Quiet: Not a peep from this toy!
  • Multiple play options: You can’t really use the gel for anything else but you could fold the Crayola paper, make a card or do some other type of origami.
  • Immobile: This won’t be going anywhere.
  • Independent play: This toy will probably require some supervision. If the gel gets on other things, you probably should wipe it up even though it is clear gel or it may leave clear clumps on things. Also, your toddler needs to be trusted not to eat the gel. Apart from these concerns, the toy is safe for independent play.
  • Value for money: It’s not expensive but this is a one-play only set.

Wikki Stix Art and Craft

So many toys to love for toddlers on an airplane because we love this one too! Wikki Stix are made of non-toxic wax and yarn that you can mold and shape into amazing creations.

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They can be neon or primary-colored but we love the neon because they are so eye-catching. It can also stick to paper if you want to design a picture with them or make a card. These don’t break or pull apart although they can be cut with scissors. They are super light to carry around and really don’t take up much space.

We are betting that you will have as much fun as your toddler with this toy!

  • Portable: 0.1 x 6 x 13 inches, 2.9 ounces.
  • Quiet: Not a peep from this toy!
  • Multiple play options: Craft something, mold something, shape something or simply make a card. Lots of play options for this toy.
  • Immobile: This won’t be going anywhere.
  • Independent play: This is mostly safe but since these Stix can be molded into tiny objects too, you want to make sure that your toddler doesn’t try to swallow them.
  • Value for money: Great value as they can last a long time, just try to keep them in a resealable bag to keep the Stix from drying out.

Portable Felt Board

This Portable Felt Board is fantastic for tactile development and fun on a flight at the same time!

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The set comes with 100+ felt shapes as well as some wiggly eyes that your toddler can use to create pictures. More importantly, it also comes with a handy board that your toddler can spread out to use to create his or her masterpiece. Some of the pieces (like the wiggly eyes) are on the tiny side which means that you probably need to remove them in advance or supervise the play.

  • Portable: 12.1 x 10.5 x 2 inches, 12.8 ounces.
  • Quiet: Not a peep from this toy!
  • Multiple play options: Create a cute picture, a Picasso or use the toy to create a story! The board also comes in handy as a hard backing for doing other things like coloring.
  • Immobile: This won’t be going anywhere.
  • Independent play: This is mostly safe but since some of the felt pieces and the wiggly eyes are small, you should either remove these or supervise the play to prevent risk of choking.
  • Value for money: Great value for creativity, fun play and the toy can be reused over and over again.

CozyPhones Kids Headphones

Okay, perhaps you need a heavyweight-contender backup just in case your toddler throws a tantrum on the plane. It’s pretty hard to compete with the engagement that comes from an iPad or screen but before you give up and give in, pop on a CozyPhones Kids Headphone on your toddler and play some of your toddler’s favorite songs!

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These are seriously the cutest headphones you will ever see. Not only do they come in several cute designs, but they are manufactured especially for toddlers. The sound decibel is limited to 90 dB so that you don’t have to worry about your toddlers curious fingers accidentally blasting the headphone volume too high. Due to its great design of a stretchy headband, you also don’t need to worry about these headphones falling off your toddler’s head or ear plugs being jammed into your toddler’s ears.

A MUST- BUY in general if your toddler loves music and listening to things!

  • Portable: 5 x 3.5 x 1 inches, 1.4 ounces.
  • Quiet: This toy WILL be making a lot of noise but only your toddler will hear it!
  • Multiple play options: You could also use this super cute headphones as a headpiece and play peekaboo or hide-and-seek on the plane?
  • Immobile: This won’t be going anywhere.
  • Independent play: This is mostly safe but if you have a curious toddler with itchy fingers, you may want to double-check the volume periodically.
  • Value for money: It’s a great price for such great design and convenience in our opinion!

Okay, so that was our list! We realize that even the best of toys will only be effective for a limited time so we advise you to get a bunch of options and pull them out at different times as your flight progresses.

Good luck!

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