Looking for ideas to keep your baby or toddler entertained on your next road trip or flight? Here are 18 travel activities for toddlers and babies to keep your little one(s) busy and help you feel more prepared and less stressed!
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Tips for Traveling with Toddlers & Babies
When to Travel
When possible, plan to travel at times that you think will work best for your little one. If your little traveler is good at sleeping on the go, then it could be beneficial to fly over nap time or late at night. If you know your child will sleep in the car, then it could be worth driving overnight or leaving at 3 or 4 in the morning if you are going on a road trip.
Sometimes it can be hard to predict, but if you have a feeling that your baby or toddler will not sleep well on the go, then a morning flight or road trip departure could be your best bet, while they are hopefully happy and fresh.
Give yourself plenty of time to get to your final destination. Leave earlier than you think you need to if you are flying. I would much rather be extra early than to be running late, feeling stressed and frazzled.
When you make a stop or if you are waiting in the airport, let your little one stretch, have tummy time if they are not mobile yet, and run or crawl around if they are mobile. Get as many wiggles out as possible!
Our son was once entertained for 30+ minutes on an airplane by the flight safety pamphlet. He also played with a pretzel wrapper for a considerable amount of time. Sometimes the simplest things can be lifesavers!
Consider Some Baby/Toddler Travel Products
We have invested in a few toddler/baby travel products that have made traveling much more efficient and less stressful for us.
Try to be Flexible and Give Yourself Grace
Sh** happens. Often quite literally with young children – why do blowouts seem to happen most often on flights and in the car??? Make sure to pack easily accessible extra clothes for every member of the family. We always bring ziplock baggies to contain any messy items and keep them separate from the rest of our things.
Travel is unpredictable, and traveling with babies and toddlers is even more up in the air. I am not trying to scare you, but I think it will help if you go into it with the mindset that things may not go as planned, but it will be okay.
Travel Activities for Toddlers & Babies
Below are 18 travel activities to help keep your baby or toddler entertained!
In addition to these ideas, we always try to bring a few of our son’s current “favorites” – toys that he has been really into lately (as long as they aren’t too big or loud/obnoxious).
1. Snacks & Drinks
This is one of our favorite travel activities for toddlers or babies! I always make sure to bring a variety of snacks. We love these snack cups so baby/toddler can feel independent and self-feed. Snacks provide entertainment and keep baby or toddler full and happy while you are on the go.
Bonus Tip #1: You can bring full, unopened bottles of water, and you can bring milk (cow’s milk, breastmilk, and/or formula) through airplane security despite the liquid rule.
Bonus Tip #2: A child’s diaper bag and a breast pump bag do not count as personal items and are free to bring on an airplane. You can bring one diaper bag per child for free.
Our Favorite On-the-Go Snacks
- Freeze-dried fruit
- Applesauce pouches or other food pouches
- Cheese stick
- Granola Bars
- Veggies – carrots, peppers, celery
- Fruit – apple slices, bananas
We like to bring interactive books – touch & feel, lift the flap, or light up books. Don’t get me wrong, we love the no-frills classics too, but the interactive books keep our son’s attention longer when we are on the go.
3. Nesting Cups
We have gotten so much use out of these nesting cups at home and on the go. They are great for babies and toddlers.
4. Box of Tissues
Many babies and toddlers love taking things out of boxes or containers. Either a travel pack of tissues or a box of tissues can provide great entertainment. Just stuff them all back in once baby or toddler is done pulling them out and start all over again!
5. Keys, Phone, Remote
Why does it seem like all babies and toddlers are obsessed with keys, phones, and remotes? We have this set that looks realistic if you don’t want your little one setting off your car alarm or accidentally calling people on your phone.
6. Stickers & Paper
A set of Dollar Tree stickers and some paper can provide loads of entertainment. Or try a reusable sticker book to eliminate waste and have it for use over and over again.
7. Post-it Notes
Color on them, pull them apart, stick them to the plane tray table or the car window – there are many entertaining possibilities with a simple pack of post-it notes!
Even if you try to limit screen time normally, if your toddler will sit and watch a show or movie, it can make your flight or road trip muchhhh more relaxing and calm. Our son is not interested in electronics yet, but we will utilize them as a travel entertainment source in the future.
9. Melissa & Doug Water Wow
These Water Wow sets are great travel activities for toddlers. They come with a water pen that creates color on the notepad. They are no-mess and are reusable.
10. Pacifier, Teethers, Rattles
This is often the only entertainment you need for a young baby! Bring along your baby’s favorite chew toys and little rattle-like toys, and don’t forget to bring a few pacifiers and a pacifier clip if your little one takes one.
11. Magnetic Drawing Board
I’m sure most of us played with these when we were kids. The magnetic drawing board is a classic. A simple, easy, mess-free way for your little one to be creative on the go. This magnetic drawing board is a smaller travel-size version.
12. Threading Toys
Threading/lacing toys help develop hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills, and will hopefully keep your little one occupied for quite a while!
13. Coloring Books
Coloring is a great activity for toddlers. You can try one of these Color Wonder kits for a mess-free option on the go.
14. Buckle Toys
Buckles, snaps, zippers, buttons – they can all provide entertainment! Plus your little one is getting some fine motor skill practice.
This particular buckle toy looks fun and adorable. But if you don’t want to buy and bring another toy, I’m sure that even coat buttons or a backpack zipper could provide entertainment.
15. Magnetic Play Set
16. Flash Cards
Flashcards are educational and entertaining! This flashcard set clips together, which is very convenient for travel.
17. Pipe Cleaners
Pipe cleaners are fun to bend, shape, twist, and more. A fun and easy way to be crafty on the go. I would only let my little one play with pipe cleaners if I was able to have eyes on him (i.e. in the backseat with him or if he was on my lap on an airplane) so that he doesn’t poke himself or try to eat them.
18. Wristband Toys
Wristband toys are awesome for plane or road trips because they will conveniently stay strapped onto your child until they figure out how to pull them off. That way you aren’t constantly picking toys up off the dirty airplane floor or being a contortionist trying to reach the dropped toys in the back from the front seat of the car.
Bonus: Magnetic License Plate Game
This is probably more for older kids, but we love searching for all of the U.S. license plates when we are on road trips. This provides excitement and entertainment for the whole family, and this little set makes it easy to track and keep handy.
I hope these travel activities for toddlers and babies will keep your little one entertained and keep you relaxed and stress-free! Traveling with kids isn’t easy, but it is rewarding, and you will have memories to last a lifetime. 🙂