Airplane Carry-On Packing List for Toddlers

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Toddler Travel on Airplane

I was so nervous taking my wild toddler on an airplane. Find out what worked, what didn’t, and what i’d suggest for next time.

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We took our son on his first plane ride when he was around 1 years old. Besides his diaper leaking out on my lap and him spraying pee everywhere in the bathroom when I changed him, everything went fine lol

But now he’s a crazy toddler that doesn’t sit still for more than a few minutes throughout the day. He’s always on the go. A plane trip now seemed like something that would never go smoothly.

I researched, we watched YouTube videos, and I bought lots of toys to try to keep him entertained for the 2+ hour plane trip. Besides being a little whiny a couple of times because he dropped a toy, things went great.

First, let’s talk about the items that worked really well with our toddler.

This Child Airplane Travel Harness was a lifesaver. My biggest worry was our son staying in his seat the entire time. Since we were going on a cruise, taking a car seat wasn’t an option. It acted like car seat straps without the big, bulky car seat. Plus, it was under $20 (prices subject to change).

It took just a minute or two to get on. Make sure you check behind the seat that the harness is on to ensure you didn’t block in that passenger’s tray.

We all had fun with this LCD 8.5 inch Writing/Drawing Tablet. Take the special pen at the top to draw or write on the tablet. Push the button and it instantly erases. There’s a toggle switch on the back to lock/unlock the screen if you don’t want to accidentally erase anything. We played Pictionary type games with my son to keep him entertained, not only on the flight, but at dinner, too. I can see this coming in handy, even for adults. It’s like a dry erase board without all of the mess.

This bag of Travel Toys was a lot of fun. The sunglasses were a big hit with my son and he even wore them some on the cruise. The slinky, mini pinwheel, zipper bracelet, and finger puppet all kept him entertained.

This Fidget Toy Set really should be on the list of toys that didn’t work but one toy was a huge hit.

There’s two different packs. We got the Pack 1, pictured below.

My son loved the bouncing elves (little people with the ball head and mesh bottoms). You scrunch them up and when they pop back out, they blink different colors. The con is that when they pop up, if your child doesn’t have a good grip on them, they will fly up and hit the ceiling of the plane (and hopefully not someone else). My son also lost them a couple times on the floor of the plane and I was searching around trying to grab it. These were one of the toys that kept him entertained for a long period of time.

I included this set in the toys that worked because I found you can buy the boucing elves by themselves.

For the most part, this bag of toys as a whole were a waste for a plane ride. The tops, balls, etc. were left at home. The slime in the egg will stick to material and leave color behind. I forgot to take it out and my son got in on the bed in our cruise cabin. It stuck to the white sheets and I couldn’t peel it all off. It also left a big purple mark where it touched.

I also picked up some toys at our local education store. Here are some examples of those items:

The keychain tape measure was fun to measure things on the plane (ie. tray, seat, etc.).  The squishy fruit was just fun to squeeze and just play around with.

Next, let’s talk about some things that didn’t work. There were only a couple and just because they didn’t work for us doesn’t mean they won’t work for everyone.

I try to be so cautious about what I pack in our carry-on bags. I hate when everyone has to wait for your bag to be checked by security. This Crayola Model Magic was recommended by several people to take on a plane so I thought it would be fine. Unfortunately, our airport in Indianapolis, wouldn’t let us take it on the flight. It was still in the unopened package. So you take a chance with this being tossed if you pack it.

My son wasn’t into this Wooden Lacing Apple at all. Not sure why but it just wasn’t his thing. I’m hoping he will play with it later on.

Of course, we brought the iPad to keep him entertained if all else failed. We didn’t have to break it out until the end of our trip when he started getting restless. He watched it while still playing with his toys.

Recommended for next time.

I also recommend snacks and candy. We brought goldfish, m&m’s, bottle of water, etc. Next time I would probably pack more snacks and more of a variety. I like the idea of the snack boxes where there’s tons of different options for them to choose from.

Toddler in airport with carry on bag

We got a new toy out every time he seemed to be getting tired of the one he was playing with. All of the toys were brand new to him since we didn’t let him see any of them before we left. We didn’t let him see any of the toys before we left so they were all brand new to him. I’ve heard some people like wrapping each toy so the kids have something to open as a present. I decided against this because I didn’t want to deal with all of the trash. I think I would’ve done it this way if we were driving down and had more room in a car.

Hopefully this list of toys keeps your kids as entertained as it did mine. I’m so glad our trip went smoothly and without issue.

Is there something that works for your kids when travelling? I’d love to hear what has worked for you. Comment below.

Looking for a fun theme park trip? Check out my post on Hotel Breakers at Cedar Point.


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