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When British Airways did that study last month about the best toys to take on a plane, we took it to heart, buying a party pack of play-doh for our upcoming flight.
But as all traveling parents sadly know, there isn't a magic toy that will keep your child in his or her seat, happily entertained but also, quiet and patient. It just doesn't exist, especially not for toddlers, the most boisterous travelers of all. And what works for one of your kids, may not work for the other kid. That's when you need to reach deep down...into your carry-on and pull out the next toy in your bag of tricks.
Here are 6 Toys for Keeping Toddlers Entertained on The Plane. Some advice? Buy your plane toys before you get to the airport and then break them out slowly throughout the flight.
You may also want to peep our 2017 List of Summer Travel Essentials for Babies and Newborns!
1. A Small Bag of Small Stuff: Ok, so the first toy here is actually a small bag of little toys. Think of it like a goodie bag for the plane. Items can range from stickers to papers and crayons, toy cars, and little dolls. If it's tiny and you don't care about it getting lost, or falling under the seat, stuff it in the small bag. Kids will love pulling out all the items in the bag. The best way to do this is hit up the Dollar Spot at Target or a general dollar store, grab a little bag and stuff it with whatever fun items your child likes.
2. Water Wow Color Books: These $5 water color books from Melissa & Doug are so great because once your kid has colored the scene, it will dry up and go back to black and white, making it ideal to re-use on the plane flight home or any time in between. You'll have to fill up the pen with a little water, which you can easily do when the flight attendant comes around.
3. Magna Tiles: These things are expensive, around $50 for a 32-piece set but kids can get hooked on snapping the tiles together. We don't recommend bringing the entire set on the plane. Instead, only take about half the tiles with you.
4. Gel Window Clings: We spied this trick on the excellent Wandering Pod blog. Those gel window clings you use for seasonal window decorations totally works on airplane windows. The novelty may wear off quick, much like stickers, so be sure to pack a couple of sets.
5. Magnetic Fun Tins: Older toddlers will have more of an attention span for these Magnetic Fun Tins, which feature a variety of kids characters from Dora to SpongeBob, Marvel Super Heros, Disney Princesses and more generic scenes. The tins that hold the magnets and the various scenes are what make the magnets stick. But there are small parts involved. So you may have to be vigilant about these.
6. A Tablet: You may not believe in letting your kids play with an iPad or other tablet types. But these do work in keeping them preoccupied and quiet, whether it's by watching a movie or playing a variety of apps. And don't worry too much. Your toddler will tire of this regardless. That's why you need to bring toys #1-5 above.
**BONUS MOM TRICK**
A mom of two swears by this trick to keep kids self-absorbed on the plane.
Ziplock bag full of medium size pompoms, rainbow colored preferably. Plastic clear water bottle (we buy after security and drink during boarding/fill empty hydration and good for ears during take off). Hand bottle to kid. Hold bag, shove one pompom in bottle. Do it twice if your kid is a little slow to catch on). Ours did this for 30-45min. You do have to jam your finger in the bottle to pull out the Pom poms when they reach the top but it's not too hard.
There's also this fun "game" to play.
Share your own toys for toddlers on a muthafunking plane in comments below!
THE MORE YOU KNOW...