Things for Toddlers to Do on an Airplane

by Nicole Schmoll
Arm yourself with new books and toys before taking your toddler on an airplane.

Arm yourself with new books and toys before taking your toddler on an airplane.

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Taking a toddler on an airplane doesn't have to be an unpleasant experience for you and the other passengers on the plane. Whether a summer vacation, holiday trip or family event takes you across the country or to another state on a plane trip, you can turn it into an enjoyable ride by keeping your toddler busy with new toys, quiet activities, games and movies.

Seat Position

Request a window seat for your toddler. If the plane flight isn't too full, ask the flight attendant if you can have the entire row of three seats so that your toddler can sit by the window. You can sit in the aisle and use the seat in between for books and toys or a DVD player. Prepare for your trip by purchasing a few new, quiet toys for your toddler that you think he will enjoy. Wait until you board the plane to unveil the toys. Look for quiet toys that will keep your toddler entertained without making noise, such as magnetic drawing pads, puzzles or coloring pads with markers that won't mark anything but the paper.

Read New Books

Buy a box of board books with a carrying handle in characters that your toddler enjoys such as selections from "Thomas the Tank Engine" series, "Sesame Street," "Dr. Seuss" or "Curious George." Like with the toys, wait until you board the plane or halfway during the flight to show your toddler the new books. Read the books to your toddler quietly and let him explore the new books, which should keep him busy for awhile.

Watch Short Movies

Invest in a portable DVD player with a good battery. Charge the DVD fully before you go on your trip and bring a few short movies that your child enjoys. Bring a mixture of movies your child has seen before and movies that he has not but which feature characters he is familiar with and enjoys watching. After takeoff and when the pilot has indicated that it is acceptable to use portable electronic devices, pull down the seat tray from the back of the seat in front of you and place the DVD player on it, in front of your toddler. Let him watch a movie or two to help pass the time. Manufacturers design headphones specifically for toddlers; take along a pair so the other passengers won't have to listen, too.

Visual Games

Play an airplane version of a game that engages your older toddler by challenging him to find a list of items. Make up the list the night before you leave. Include objects like "pilot," "seat belt," "magazine" and "suitcase" that you will be able to help your toddler locate aboard the plane. Include outdoor objects as well that your toddler will be able to see out the window of the plane such as "lake," "airplane," "mountains" or "clouds." Think of as many items as you can. Broaden your list to things commonly found in airports if you have a long layover and are looking for a way to keep your toddler entertained while you wait for your flight.

Snacks and Tips

Keep your child content with a collection of snacks in pre-wrapped individual bags like crackers and fruit snacks that the Transportation Security Administration will allow on planes. Bring your toddler's empty milk or juice cup and fill it with milk, water or juice after passing through security to make sure your toddler has a drink on board the plane. Make going to the bathroom or changing diapers the last thing you do before boarding the plane. Try to take your toddler to the bathroom once during longer flights if he is potty trained.

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