Tech-Free Ways to Entertain Toddlers When Flying

Before having our son, my husband and I utilize the help of all gadgets and tech. It sure makes life so much easier. Except, with Josiah King turning a year old really soon … we had to start reconsidering what toys and gadgets can he utilize. In a world running on technology, it is unavoidable for kids to develop a desire to watch tv, play with a smartphone, and more. I understand some parents have no choice but to give in and hand over a device to keep their tots happy … but it shouldn’t come down to letting a TV or a smartphone as well as a tablet do all the “babysitting”.

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My husband and I had to sit down and discuss this topic carefully. It isn’t healthy to just let our son stay glued on a tv show or movie. The same concept applies to playing cellphone or tablet games. We all know that turning on our tablet or smartphone and letting our toddlers play games or watch something, can certainly keep them quiet. But what if you want to keep your toddler entertained without the help of technology? Even high up in the clouds, it can be done. Let’s look at the following tech-free ways to entertain toddlers (even when flying).

Give Your Child a Special New Toy

One great tip to keep your toddler entertained when flying is to purchase a new toy to give him once you’re on board. It would be really fun to choose an airplane, but any toys your child has been wanting will be great. Your child will be entertained with his new toy as least for a little while.

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Bring Activity or Coloring Books Along

Activity and coloring books are wonderful for airplane travel. You can put down the little tray and your toddler can color, do dot-to-dots, etc. This can keep your child busy on a longer flight. Don’t be afraid to pack several varieties. You can also go online and find free-to-print coloring pages in almost any character or theme.

Read a Book Together

It’s also great to hit the thrift store before your trip and find some new books. You can usually find Golden Books or other children’s books for $1 or less. Another great place is the Dollar Tree. The Dollar Tree has a great selection of children’s books. If your child is starting to feel sleepy, read to him or her to help your little one doze off.

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Pack Plane-Friendly Toys

Plane-friendly toys can include small cars, card games, magnetic toys, action figures or dolls, etc. You want to avoid toys that have lots of pieces and accessories that might get lost. The fewer pieces, the better.

Purchase Some Blind Bags to Open

Most children absolutely love blind bags. There’s something fun about opening a bag to discover a secret toy. You can usually find some sort of blind bag at Walmart for $1 each. The Dollar Tree also sometimes carries blind bags. If you’re on a long flight, give your toddler a new bag to open every hour or so.

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Go for a Walk

Last, but not least, if your child is starting to feel restless, get up and walk the aisle. Fellow travelers may not be thrilled with this, but it’s better than your toddler having a mini-meltdown. If you have to, spend some time checking out the features in the bathroom – anything to keep your toddler occupied.

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Air travel doesn’t require using your tablet to keep your toddler entertained. There are so many tech-free ways to entertain toddlers when flying. Something as simple as a new coloring book and a box of crayons can keep your child entertained for a good hour or so. The key is always having something else up your sleeve. It’s better to be over-prepared than under. Pack several activities, especially if you have a long flight. This will help prevent any meltdowns when your child gets bored.


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  • Liz Mays

    I can definitely see these being good options. I’d be sure to bring along a couple of activity and coloring books because those last a while!

  • Bill Sweeney

    Flying with young kids can be frustrating for parents. Fortunately, your tips will help ease that frustration.

  • Alexandra

    Some great ideas! I will share this with some of my friends who have toddlers – I am sure they will find it handy 🙂

  • Jeni Hawkins

    I love these tips! The idea of blind bags is pretty brilliant, too. Opening 1 per hour could really make a flight go so much faster for them!

  • Amy

    When my kids were toddlers they were always intrigued by anything that was noisy, or made a mess. I swear, sometimes they liked packaging better than the items.

  • Cyn Gagen

    These are some great ideas! We just traveled with my 1 year old grandson and tried a few of these. I’m bookmarking this for next time though because the other tips will come in very handy when he’s a bit older.

  • Kathy

    I love all these ideas. It can be hard to keep the little ones entertained. I always bring toys and such along to keep them busy.

  • krystal

    Books are a good idea. We are about to take our son on his first trip.

  • Rachel

    These are great tips. It is never good for me to rely on tech that may die halfway through the trip.

  • Brianne Manz

    When you think about the ideas you proposed they are ideas we would have used when we were kids. I love that kids can use these outlets to be creative on a flight without having to use tech.

  • Sherry

    I remember flying with my kids when they were toddlers. They always had books and toys that they could use to keep them entertained.

  • stacey

    REALLY GOOD TIPS. I ALWAYS KEPT BOOKS, CRAYONS AND PAPER when we flew and that worked well..

  • Sarah

    Flying with kids can be so hard! These are great tips. When we do fly, I try hard to keep them very entertained.

  • Yanna

    Toddlers really have a short attention span. My favorite is to give them a special new toy to keep them busy and really distracted.

  • Catalina

    Oh yeah! I know what it means to fly with a toddler. He need a special atention. Next time I will bring some blind bags with me. This is a great idea!

  • LavandaMichelle

    This is awesome, my lil buddy can be a handful and we usually are out of great options while traveling with him. This will help us and his parents on our next trip.

  • angel

    will be traveling for the holidays and these tips are really useful. will definitely keep this in mind especially those coloring books and reading.

  • Scott Gombar

    Good tips. It is difficult to travel with a toddler. Any little thing helps.

  • Sara

    LOL awesome list – do these work for adults? No seriously though, I Love a good list and this is laid out so simply. Great job

  • Kathryn at QuestFor47

    Great list! Reminds me of how it was to travel when I was a kid. No iPods an iPads in sight back in the 90s!

  • Evelyn Hernandez

    I am always happy when I see a tech free option to anything! Coloring books do keep them busy for a few hours, and love the idea of a blind bag!

  • Tasha at Lady Boss Studio

    Great ideas! I haven’t yet travelled on a plane with my toddler but some of these would also be great for long car rides.

  • Maartje van Sandwijk

    Definitely important to keep them entertained without putting a screen in front of them!! Thanks for sharing 😉

  • Ashley

    I love the idea of tech-free activities for toddlers and kids, while flying or otherwise. There are so many ways to entertain that doesn’t involve an Ipad or phone, or video game.

  • Brittany Vantrease

    These are great tips! I know the hardest part for me is that my kids get on each other’s nerves. If we had single activities for them to do, they would probably leave each other alone.

  • Tosha

    Love these traveling with kids tips! It’s never easy with kids on airplane but def helps to distract and u nailed it!

  • Cindy Gordon

    These are some excellent ideas! Travelling with toddlers can be a chore!

  • Sam

    This is such useful and important tips for all parents. It can be hard sometimes to entertain kids without technology. Thank you so much for sharing!

  • Lyosha

    Great ideas! I am not a mom yet but your post will make my life easier and my heart calmer with having a baby

  • MEgan

    Such a great guide, I’ll be passing this one on to my parent-friends 🙂

  • Maureen

    Coloring and activity book saved the day during our summer trip, the tough part was getting him to put the tray back in position during landing… Great tips!

  • Leigh Anne Borders

    These are some great ideas for traveling with little ones. We will be taking our first trip soon so this will come in handy.

  • Echo

    These are all great ideas! I always pack my kids a carry-on that is full of snacks and activities!

  • Ana OJHA

    I don’t have kids but these are some wonderful tips to keep toddlers engaged. I’m sure it will help many parents!

  • Christa

    I love this post. I fly with my toddler often and he’s never used a tablet or my phone. I always bring a little goodie bag of new toys and snacks to keep him entertained. So far, so good!

  • Brittany

    These are all the ways that we entertain our toddler on a flight!!! Great tips! It can be done!! YES!!

  • Princess Quinn

    My niece and nephew loves to watch videos most of the time. I realized that it is not healthy for them. And so, I bought them a set of coloring materials to keep them entertained.

  • Preet

    What a fun and great idea. My kids are behave whenever we are on a flight but this could be a great thing to entertain them.

  • Anosa Malanga

    Ohh, this should be shared all over the internet so that parents and even expectant moms could have this idea. In the future I would want that my kids have this kind of playtime.

  • Emily

    These are great tips. I am lucky that both our children are great with flying but we don’t like them being on screens the whole time so blind bags are a really great idea.

  • Cindy Ingalls

    I think it’s always good to bring tech and non-tech options for travel. You never know what might entertain your kids or when you won’t have wifi or access to chargers.

  • David Elliott

    I like the idea of a blind bag to give to your child. My daughter would have had a lot of fun with that. Reading books is always a good way to distract as well.

  • Kisha

    Another thing to note is that many of the things that are fun for young children, like action figures and toy cars, can be easily packed in mom’s purse or their backpack, which makes keeping up with and traveling with these items easier as well.

  • Faneshia

    This is such a great idea! I love anything that saves money but you can still have a good time. I’m sure kids love this and I can’t wait to share it.

  • Erica D Ardali

    There is nothing worse than a cranky toddler on a plane. These tips are great


    This is great ideas! This is really helps especially to the all newbie parents Awesome!

  • Melissa Sanchez

    I am not sure if my kiddos would be able to survive an entire trip tech free, but I do love all of these ideas. we love combining both techniques while flying.

  • Kiwi

    I think children especially 5 and under need less and less screen time with tablets it can hurt the development of their eyes. Great ideas love the coloring idea.

  • Suzanne

    Such great tips to keep the little one(s) occupied while flying! Traveling can be challenging with children, thanks for the advice.

  • Gervin @ Hip Mama's Place

    These are great ways to entertain a toddler when flying. I know that so many people look for tips like this so that they can enjoy a flight with their toddler, who can get bored easily. Great ideas, I’m going to share with my friends.

  • MArcie

    Dollar Tree is my go to spot for fun airplane activities for my toddler and preschooler. Plus, glow sticks are a great surprise day or night when traveling!