The best toddler travel toys

The thought of entertaining a toddler on a plane for hours on end is a daunting one.

I find it hard enough keeping my little boy busy when we are at home and he has free range of a house full of toys (plus the contents of mummy’s kitchen cupboard!).  And yet here we were, booking a trip to Europe that involved 30 hours of travel time with a spirited 23-month-old on our lap.

Were we crazy? Yes. Would we do it again? Yes!  

Here is our list of the best travel toys to help keep your toddler busy on a plane.

If you have the time, wrap up each toy in a few layers of newspaper or wrapping paper (like a pass-the-parcel) so that unwrapping each toy is another activity to keep your little one busy.


Our toddler LOVES lift-the-flap books. So before our long flight to Europe, I bought him a new lift-the-flap book that had pictures of 50 common household items. He happily sat and ‘read’ the book himself – lifting up the flaps and trying to name the object or the colour of the items. It is a fun and interactive way to teach your little one some new vocabulary and keep them busy.

Toddler travel toys: lift the flap book


A small ball of homemade playdough can provide hours of entertainment for a toddler. Pack it in a ziplock bag to keep it from drying out and use the plastic cutlery on the plane as playdough cutting tools. Check out our easy homemade playdough recipe here.

Toddler travel toys: play dough


These books are amazing! Crayola Color Wonder allows your child to happily colour in without you worrying about the mess. The Crayola Color Wonder Marker is clear on most surfaces and only shows colour on the special Color Wonder paper. And they are available in lots of different themes – from Paw Patrol to Cars to Disney Princesses.

Toddler travel toys: mess-free colouring in


Stickers are a great way to keep a toddler busy for a while. Melissa & Doug have some beautiful reusable sticker pads that feature five different backgrounds and over 150 reusable stickers. Your little one can stick to their hearts content and then peel the stickers and re-stick them elsewhere. It also promotes fine motor skills and creative play.

Toddler travel toys: reusable sticker pad


Take a stash of new toys that your little one can play with at the airport or on the plane. We took a couple of Hotwheels cars and some little animal figurines. The novelty of having some new toys meant that our toddler happily played with these for longer than usual. Pick up a few cheap items from a dollar shop – that way it’s not a big deal if they happen to get lost along the way.

Toddler travel toys: small novelty toys


There are so many cute flash cards out there with colourful images of animals and household items. We took a pack with us that split the image across two cards – so we could make a game out of trying to match up the picture and then name the item. For younger children, these cards are great to teach them new words and help identify everyday objects.

Toddler travel toys: flash cards

I hope these toys help to keep your toddler busy on the plane so that you can all have an enjoyable flight.

Happy travels xo


If you have any other travel toys that have helped you to survive a flight with a toddler, I would love to hear from you.