We know flying with kids adds additional challenges. From packing to potty breaks, and from entertainment to comfort, there’s a lot of extra considerations when bringing along the family. Plus the younger the child, the more there is to pack! Isn’t it funny that the tiniest people need the most things? I hope I can share some helpful things to pack for kids on your airplane. Like me, I hope you love discovering new products that make travel even better. Today I’m sharing my own personal list of my must-have items we use when we travel.
There’s a ton of toys and gadgets you can choose to bring on board for the kids. However, especially on longer flights, up at higher altitudes with nothing to look at, kids get bored fast. If you are wondering what toys to pack for kids on the airplane, these would be my current top three.
LCD Drawing Pad
These electronic drawing boards are thin, light, and inexpensive! Kids can doodle and draw without having to pack paper, and then erase with a click. There are 10 fun colors to choose from. The best part about this method of doodling for kids is it prevents them from drawing on the seats or wall of the cabin! The stylus locks into place at the top and doesn’t take up much space in a bag.
Portable Busy Board
If you are a fan of busy boards for kids around 2-6 years old, then you will love this on-the-go travel version to pack on the airplane. Young children love figuring out buckles, flaps, and snaps. Cruise time in the air is a great time to let your kids work on their fine motor skills. With this particular board, your child will get to work on practical life skills such as tying their shoes, buttoning a shirt, zippers, belts and more! We are currently working on zippers and shoe strings with my preschooler.
Kid Proof Tablet
If you aren’t already familiar with the Amazon Kids Fire, please let me introduce you to what I believe is the absolute best tablet for up to 7 years old. First, this is nothing like the adult-centric Ipad that most of us are used to. The Fire comes with one year free of Amazon Kids +, which includes unlimited access to over 20,000 apps, books, videos, and educational content. If you see something that you want – click it and it’s yours without ads or extra payment. The tablet comes in a kid proof case, and a two year warranty to back it up including accidental damage. Parental controls allow you to set educational goals and time limit combinations on each category of use. Age settings ensure relevant content and restrictions, and I feel confident my kids aren’t going to access something inappropriate. You can also allow Netflix from the parent dashboard if you would like to download movies for use during flight. Kids can access content on the go via wifi, or download any of the content to storage to use inflight. After the one year trial, Kids + is 2.99 per month, well worth it. Connect via bluetooth to aviation headset or there is a jack.
For older kids aged 7-12 there is also the new Kids Fire Pro, which includes content for older kids and broader access to content (with parent approval of course!)
If you are looking for the best aviation headset for kids, please check out my in depth comparison review by clicking here.
On the Go Travel
These items will make both packing and life easier when you are traveling with family. And in my opinion, there’s nothing wrong with looking good while doing it! These are some of the best travel items created for kids.
The BabyBjorn Travel Crib Bundle comes with a portable crib and fitted sheet. It folds up into a carrying case, and is a very easy set up and take down compared to other models. Great for aircraft travel, this weighs in at 13 pounds only, and the mattress is a bit comfier than it’s main competitor. The quality frame is solid and sturdy, which is also a huge plus in the portable crib market.
TRAVEL bOTTLE BRUSH & DRYING RACK
This handy little fold came with us everywhere during the bottle and sippy cup stage. It can be so hard to clean bottles and cups with a regular sponge, but this OXO Tot Travel Size Drying Rack with Bottle Brush made it easy. The brush breaks down in two pieces and is stored in the small 8 x 5 case. The top half is the main bottle brush and the bottom half opens to a small detail brush for nipples and spouts. Plus you will always have a clean space to dry.
INSULATED WATER BOTTLE
We never leave home without our Simple Modern brand 14 oz kids water bottles. They stay cold for many hours, or a full day if you add ice. They are leak proof in the closed position, and have a handy carrying handle for little hands. The best part for packing is that they are sweat-proof so they don’t get the rest of our items wet. They exceed my expectations in performance, but they also have so many fun designs. In addition to their traditional designs, for a few bucks more they also have an entire line of Disney Bottles that cover a wide array of Disney movies. Have fun looking through the many print options, just remember to make sure you have your size set on 14 or 18 oz. The 14 oz is the perfect size for my 2 and 4 year old.
Portable HIGH CHAIR
When your baby or toddler is too little to sit in a grown up seat to eat and is away from their highchair, this Hiccapop Travel Booster will solve that problem right away. It only weighs a few pounds and folds down into a small carrying bag (included). This chair was a must for us staying at any place with our own kitchen. It ties onto the chair seat and has a removable tray if you would like them to eat at table with you. It can also stand alone on the floor, or by the pool, anywhere you need to set it up! Recommended for children up to 30 pounds.
DISPOSABLE TRAVEL BIBS
Speaking of eating on the go! It’s not always easy and convenient to find a place to clean messy bibs while you are away from home. These Bibster disposable bibs are great at restaurants, cover a large area, and have a fold in flap to catch crumbs! Once baby is done the meal, just toss.
Kids Cabin Bag
If you have babies or toddlers, you are used to toting around your diaper bag or backpack everywhere you go. Diapers, wipes, snacks, change of clothes, small toys, and ziploc bags galore, they all have to fit somewhere. Chances are you already have one, but if you are looking for a travel friendly upgrade that doubles as a stylish mom bag you will want to check this out. Freshly Picked diaper and convertible backpacks come in full size and mini. I absolutely adore ours. They are structured faux leather, and sit upright on the floor without falling over. They come in so many beautiful colors to match your desired aesthetic and you can rearrange the clip straps to also use as a shoulder/tote. It’s the perfect kids bag to pack on the airplane!
If you use a stroller at your destination, this is the one item I would recommend to pack for your kids into a small airplane. Sure, there are strollers that are lightweight and fold up nicely, but do they fold ALL the way up and fit into a shoulder tote? The GB Pockit series of strollers do, and there’s really no better concept for a general aviation since space is so precious. They even fold up to fit in an overhead bin if you are traveling commercially. There are three models that reflect three tiers of features; the Air All Terrain, the + (plus) All Terrain, and the All City. The strollers are for children over 6 months and up to 55 lbs. They weigh between 10 and 13 pounds and have the most compact fold on the market today.
The Pockit + All Terrain is the mid price version, and is my personal choice. This compact model has a full XL SPF 50 sun canopy to keep the sun out of their little eyes. Most notably, lockable swivel all terrain wheels allow you to use the stroller effectively on different surfaces. It has an impressive recline compared with it’s umbrella stroller counterparts, and has an easy standing fold. You can fit a compact backpack and other loose items in this model’s storage basket. If you were hoping to use the stroller daily, or absolutely need bigger storage, then I would suggest upgrading to the Pockit All City. The All City provides a bit more rigid frame as well, hence the higher price point. It comes down to preference and budget. If you scroll through the link photos, you’ll find the video on how small each model folds down!
If you also need help finding the best travel car seat for airplane and rental car use check out my post by clicking here.
The items below are other various products from my packing list that tackle personal comfort for our flight and destination. Click on each picture for pricing on your next Amazon haul, or pick up at your next shopping trip.
Sick Bags FOR MOTION SICKNESS
GALLON ZIPLOC BAGS FOR SICK BAGS, DIAPERS, ACCIDENT CLOTHES
LENS CLEANING WIPES FOR GLASSES AND SCREENS
2 in 1 PACIFIER CLIP + Teether TO KEEP IT IN reach
2 in 1 travel potty & seat cover
Portable sound machine for naps at destination
I hope you found a peek at our packing list to be helpful in giving ideas and recommendations. For better or worse, I am the kind of person who really mulls over purchases and reviews. The time I spend (over)analyzing products that work in our travels, is hopefully justified by the time it saves others who visit my page! Don’t forget to also check out my breakdown of the various aviation headsets for children on this post .
I’ll only recommend products that I have experience with. As an Amazon Associate, I may earn a commission on qualifying purchases when I share links to those products with you here.