Mary Poppins Bag of Tricks
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The first long plane ride I ever took with my baby was when she was six and a half weeks old. I was terrified but learned a lot in the process. What I didn’t realize at the time, was that traveling with a newborn is walk in the park compared to air travel with a toddler!
As we geared up for our first flight with our 18-month old, I made a few very critical mistakes in the planning process. Mistake #1, a large 18-month old does not make a good lap infant during a seven-hour flight! Babies and toddlers technically fly for free as lap infants before their second birthday, but If you happen to have big babies like me, it’s really worth considering springing for the extra seat if at all possible!
One thing I did not mess up, was packing the perfect Mary Poppins Magical bag of plane toys for toddlers to keep our little
maniac darling entertained from California to New York. To find the best travel toys for toddlers, I spent hours researching the best small toys and tips and tricks for entertaining baby on a plane, and came up with the following list:
Magnetic Blocks – These things keep kids entertained for a good amount of time. They also stick together, which can help avoid getting them dropped on the germy airplane floor. Tegu magnetic blocks also come in a travel size with a little pouch – perfect for the Poppins’ Bag.
A box of Band-Aids – I know it sounds weird, but this was an absolute lifesaver when traveling with both my kids. You can get the special character printed band-aids for less than three bucks. The excitement of opening each one to see which character is inside and sticking them all over and two each other makes for lots of time distracted.
Window clings – These ones work great if you have an aisle seat, but can also be used on tray tables and seatback TV’s. Window clings make a perfect plane toy for toddlers.
Coloring supplies. The concept of my toddler with a handful of real markers on a plane is absolutely terrifying, but they do great with the invisible markets. Or Melissa and Doug Water Wow pads are also awesome for both car and plane travel.
Toys that spin. The best plane toys for toddlers are ones that interact without making noise. My kids have a spinning light-up Elsa toy that we bought at Disney ages ago and it has gotten more use over the past 4 years than any other toy in our house. It never gets old. Something like this would also work.
Stuff to squeeze. Travel play-doh or Silly Putty are both awesome. They can be a tiny bit messy, but if you open the tray and play on top it, it does keep them entertained for quite a while. The color-changing putty has always been a big hit with my littles on long plane rides.
This FatBrain Dimpl toy was an awesome plane toy hit with my youngest daughter and fits easily into the Poppins bag.
Sensory objects. Like Water Wiggler Snakes with stars inside.
An old wallet with inactive/old credit cards, library cards. My kids will spend hours taking the cards out, inspecting them and putting them back in!
While all of these items are entertaining, some of them good pose choking hazards for little ones, so supervision is required (it’s not as if you wouldn’t be supervising your child on a plane anyway!)
While traveling with toddlers, I also learned that in addition to great plane toys, a good variety of snacks – both their favorites and novelty items that they are not used to eating – are critical when it comes to entertaining small fries on long flights.
When in a crunch, a few cups with ice and a few straws compliments of the flight crew have also saved me more than once!
What are your favorite plane toys for toddlers?