How to keep your Toddlers busy during Air Travel?

How to Keep Toddlers busy during Air Travel

Bilna Sandeep

Bilna Sandeep is the founder of this blog. She is a Civil Engineer by profession who is currently on a career break to enjoy the joys of motherhood with her almost 2 year old naughty little boy. During her free time, she loves to write, blog and speak up for the causes she care for in the society. Read More About Bilna Here

My boy had his first flight when he was 50 days old. And I was so much tensed then. Like every first-time mother, I was too tensed. But everything went well. Eversince, we have had lots of time traveling with our little boy. When he was born, I thought traveling with a baby was tough. Only now I know toddlers are tougher! It’s a nightmare at times. But traveling is also a part of our lives now. We love going to places as a family to experience the beauty of this world. I believe that kids learn more from their experiences than books or screens. And that is a gift we would love to give our son.

I know some believe traveling would be a better idea after the kids grow up a little. However, being Expats, travel is unavoidable to us. We take a trip to our home at least twice a year. That is one way we try our best to let our son learn more about our home and roots. We believe he needs to get close to his home, grandparents and our relatives. He needs to learn about our culture and festivals and we try to give him every opportunity possible for him.

But keeping toddlers engaged during the flying hours is one of the most difficult situations for most of us parents. The word “sit” does not belong to my son’s dictionary of thoughts. He either runs or sleeps.

You can't really hold them back for so long!! Can you?? . . . Taken at @theraviz

A post shared by Monsoon Breeze – Bilna Sandeep (@monsoonbreeze) on

One of the biggest advice I give to those who ask me about traveling with kids is whenever possible, book the night time flights. This ensures they would fall asleep after a while. But even then, you might need to keep them engaged for a while before they doze off. We are a great fan of the flights like Emirates, Etihad etc. that have a lot of kid-friendly meals and other options on board to keep them engaged at least for a while. Make sure to select the kids meal option and other available options when you do your Emirates Flight Booking or on any other flights. It may be a good idea to check with them in advance regarding the onboard options available for young travelers.

I had compiled a detailed post earlier – A complete guide to traveling with Babies and Toddlers. Through this post, I have tried to cover the aspect of booking, packing as well as tips during traveling. Here I try to cover some simple activities that you could carry on board to keep your little ones engaged.

New Toys

As for my son, New Toys never fail to grab his attention and keep him busy for a while. And when I say a New Toy, it should belong to the vehicles and cars category for him. And the new toy excitement rarely lasts for more than half an hour. So I try to carry a few very cheap new cars, buses, etc. as toys for him in my bag. A bonus tip: Try buying the small ones as they are easier for you to carry around in your bags and the new ones are always better as they rarely fail to grab their attention. Buy the kind of toys that suit your kid’s age and interest.

A small Coloring / Activity book

Coloring books and activity books with a small new box of crayons are always a safe bet for my boy as he loves scribbling with them. You could also carry one or two small activity books or picture books or stories to keep them engaged for some time.

Favorite snacks

This is another way to bribe them for a while. Pack their favorite snacks along. But make sure they are as mess free as possible. Because cleaning and washing kids in the smallest available space in the washrooms of the airplane, is not something most of us moms fancy doing. Right? And moreover, you don’t want to see those looks from your co-passengers too.


My boy loves wooden puzzles like these. They are both good to keep them engaged as well as to help them learn. When you take along puzzles, it’s always better to carry the ones with not so many number of pieces as the chances of the pieces falling down are more and you really don’t want to be hunting under the seats for them right?

The last resort

When nothing works, make sure you load your IPad with their favorite games and videos to keep them happy. At least for us, that is what works wonders when we run out of most of the activities we carry along. Some of the flights have their screens with kid-friendly games and shows though, already.

What are your favorite onboard activities with kids? Do let us know in the comments below.

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