60+ Amazing Ideas for Entertaining Your Kids During Road Trips or Plane Flights

This year we’re doing our first ever destination Christmas. We’re all so excited, but I have been feeling a little nervous about a 5 hour flight with all three kids (and San doesn’t have a seat cause he’s under 2 years old still). Travel with kids is tough and I needed some advice!

So I turned to your expertise and asked for your best tips for entertaining kids during road trips and plane flights. And you delivered some amazing advice, just in time for Christmas travel.

how to entertain kids during road trips and plane flights

63 ideas for entertaining your kids during road trips or plane flights:

  1. Window clings are great for plane rides or car rides! These Disney Princess ones are $5 or these alphabet ones are great too for kids learning their ABC’s, or learning to spell!
  2. Play dough is great for playing with on the food trays in an airplane!
  3. Wikki Stix: I’d never heard of these, but many people recommended them. They’re wax sticks that you can use to create shapes, designs, and more! They’re a no-mess activity!
  4. Matchbox cars in a Ziploc bag
  5. Usborne sticker books: These are fantastic reusable sticker books with different scenes you can create or people you can dress. Here a few favorites:  Dolly Dressing Fancy, this Construction Site one, this cute Zoo book, and so many more. You can see a bunch of them here.
  6. Lego sets in a large Ziploc bags, and make sure to include a large LEGO flat so they can stick to something!
  7. Wipe clean Usborne books come with a wipeable marker and letters to trace, or mazes to follow, or things to draw! So perfect for road trips or plane rides.
  8. Many people suggested to wrap up gifts and give one every hour during the plane or car ride. It helps them not go through all their fun things all at once, and gives them something to look forward to throughout the entire trip!
  9. For plane flights, split up the kids between Mom and Dad and switch halfway through for a change of scenery. Splitting them up also avoids little unnecessary arguments!
  10. Silly putty is great for keeping their hands busy without much of a mess!
  11. Janod Magnetibooks are little magnetic books that are shaped like a book and then open like a box. The magnets are stored in the box, and the flap of the box has a scene where the magnets stick. Easy to carry and store! They have alphabet ones, truck ones, and even a 4 Seasons one with removable scenes for spring, summer, fall, and winter!
  12. To help the time pass faster, break it into chunks.  iPad for a bit, audiobooks for a bit, coloring for a bit, snacks for a bit, etc.
  13. Lollipops for little ones! I swear by Dum-dums. They can definitely be a sticky mess, but they’re small enough that a toddler can actually eat the whole thing, and they’re a great little reward or incentive.
  14. Go to the Dollar Store and pick up a bunch of little items that they can pull out of their bag one at a time and play with throughout the flight or trip. You can get a bunch of things to last the whole trip without spending a fortune.
  15. Ask the flight attendant for extra cups to stack and knock over. Easy entertainment!
  16. Download a new game and/or video on the iPad and save for emergencies!
  17. Take babies/toddlers to the restroom when the fasten seatbelt sign is off and let them play with the water and wipes to get wiggles out. GENIUS, right?! Although maybe check every so often to make sure there’s not a line for the bathrooms 😉
  18. Kawasaki fold up keyboard. This thing doesn’t look like it’s made and sold anymore, but I found one on eBay and they’re super cool little fold up pianos!
  19. Magnetic drawing boards. We have one and San LOVES it. He asks us to draw all sorts of things and then immediately erases it.
  20. Download movies on a thumb drive so they can watch on the computer or the iPad, or on the DVD player in your car. It’s a good idea to have a few movies for the trip there AND back!
  21. Buddyphones: These are headphones for kids that connect to each other. I got three of these for our plane flight this weekend so all three kids can watch a movie on the iPad and each have their own set of headphones. So GENIUS!
  22. New coloring book. Tons of good and inexpensive ones here! Also, I like bringing colored pencils instead of crayons so I don’t have to worry about them breaking or melting. These ones come in a little case that’s perfect for a cupholder!
  23. Audiobooks. My secret weapon! It entertains kids for hours, and you can have them color or do playdough or whatever while they listen. I made a list of some of our favorites in this post! This is another time that On and Off Buddyphones would come in really handy!
  24. Give them a personal map to let them watch your progress as you drive!
  25. Fill a clipboard with blank paper, and bring a pencil case with markers, crayons, or colored pencils. Perfect little drawing kit!
  26. Play Road Trip Bingo! You could print your own sheets, or this ready made one is pretty cool!
  27. Read a book aloud to your kids! This works as long as you don’t get car sick!
  28. Play a card game like UNO or Apples to Apples where the game isn’t ruined if you lose a card
  29. On long plane flights, walk the aisles when the flight attendants aren’t serving snacks or drinks.
  30. Cut up foam sticky paper to stick all over the seats or their car seat, or themselves. Entertainment for a long time!
  31. Buy novelty snacks that they haven’t had before, and bring a variety of snacks!
  32. Pack a Barbie doll with several different outfits they can play with. Store it all in a large ziploc bag!
  33. Bring an old blanket to lay on the floor at your feet in the airplane and let your babies/toddlers play on the floor. Great for giving your arms a rest and letting them get some wiggles out!
  34. Buy a wand making kit, or another craft box so they can DIY while you drive or fly.
  35. Bring Miniature Dolls they can play within their car seat during a road trip or on the plane. Much better than a large doll that will take up a lot of space, and these ones are so cute!
  36. If you’re flying or driving at night, change them into their PJs and do a bedtime routine. This will up your chances of them going to sleep!
  37. Every kid gets a bag with their name on it, and every hour they get to pull something new out of the bag without looking
  38. Pipe cleaners. Another good and mess-free craft!
  39. Don’t forget their blankets or lovies — we always let the boys bring one of their small stuffed animals and their blankets on trips. They are so much happier and sleep so well in hotels and in the car if they have their lovies!
  40. Drawing pads. Fos is REALLY into drawing right now, and B likes to do it too, so I bought them these brand new drawing pads to bring on the plane so they can draw (or write) to their heart’s content.
  41. Water wow coloring books. They’re coloring books that come with a water pen. Just fill the pen up and all the color shows up as soon as the water hits the page. When the water dries the color disappears so they can do it again!
  42. Bring a straw or pipe cleaner and let your kids thread fruit loops or cheerios onto it and then eat them!
  43. Download kids songs onto a CD or your phone so they can listen to their favorites in the car!
  44. Reusable Sticker Books. I just bought this one for San for the trip – it has a bunch of big sheets and tons of beautiful reusable stickers.
  45. Color by number books. I loved these as a kid — each page has a key to tell you which colors to use for each section of the picture.
  46. Boogie boards. I hadn’t heard of these, but they’re cool drawing pads that you can use with a stylus or your finger, and then wipe clean with the push of the button on the top.
  47. I Spy Bags. These are cool clear bags filled with beans or beads, and the little objects are hidden within the beads so they have to sift through the beads to find each object.
  48. Finger puppets. A great way to keep their imaginations active while you travel!
  49. Read-along books with headphones. They have these at the library — just ask the librarian if you can’t find them. You get a CD and a book, and you can download the cd to your computer, put it on your tablet, and then let them listen as they read. So great for early readers! (Also, whenever I do this, I delete the CD off of my computer/device after I return the book).
  50. Kid podcasts: I’m a huge podcast fan, but hadn’t thought about introducing my kids to them! A couple that were recommended were Brains on and Disney Stories, but if you have other recommendations, please leave me a comment!
  51. Bananagrams. This is another fun brainy activity. This one is probably best for the airport or a restaurant when you stop for lunch during a road trip. A great alternative to having them on your phone or their devices while you wait for your meal or for your airplane!
  52. Little backpacks for each kid. We always do this — everyone carries their own bag. Way better than you having to haul everyone’s snacks and activities the whole time.
  53. Rainbow scratch pads. These are little black pads that come with a wooden stylus and when you scratch the black surface, rainbow colors show through from underneath! This one comes with a big pad of them.
  54. Play a doodle game. This is great for little kids — just get on their level and take turns scribbling a picture.
  55. Bring an Ergo carrier for babies at naptime. If you don’t have your car seat on the plane (and a seat for them), bring a baby carrier so you can strap them in and be hands-free while they sleep.
  56. Pack a gallon Ziploc bag for each kid with individually portioned snacks. We always do this — so much better than free-floating snacks!
  57. Cut up straws and put in an empty parmesan cheese container. Have them practice fine motor skills by pushing the straws through the holes. So clever!
  58. Bring your Boppy baby pillow for extra comfort on the plane with babies
  59. Cut up felt and have them piece together a gingerbread house, snowman, or gingerbread man.
  60. Bring a roll of painters tape to rip and stick everywhere! It won’t leave any residue when you pull it off.
  61. Bring a pad of construction paper and a paint brush, then have them use water to “draw” on the paper.
  62. Pack a small soft ball to play in the airport to keep those little wiggly kids busy!
  63. Magnetic Fun – magnetic tins with little pictures and magnets you can stick on. Great for planes or cars so they don’t get lost!

Do you have any other great tips for traveling with kids?? Leave a comment so we can all see!

2 Comments

  1. Julie says:

    “Wow in the world” is a great kids podcast! Its from npr

  2. Brittany says:

    AwesOme ideas!! Thanks merrick! Merry christmas!!

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