A friend recently asked me if I had any recommendations on what to bring for her kids when they travel. Not only for the plane but also for their destination which didn’t have any toys. I rattled off a number of toys, puzzles, etc. and realized this would make a great blog post. Plus, we're heading to Disney in a few weeks so I've been thinking about this for myself as well.
1. Have your kids carry their own backpacks if they're big enough.
Now that both of my kids are old enough to carry their own backpacks, I use that to my advantage. Luke and Penny each have their own that they can carry onto the plane. That way they each have their own bag full of the toys and snacks they want. I tell them they can pack it but I try to guide their choices as much as possible. These backpacks are great for little ones like Penny’s size and I love these for when the kids are a little bit bigger. They both have side pockets for water bottles which I make sure to stick in there empty so we can fill them once we get through security. If they're not big enough, bring an extra bag with things for them. It's too complicated searching through your own bag with your passport, wallet, etc.
Honestly, I feel like my kids snack through the entire flight. I have them choose their own snacks to keep in their backpacks so they only have choices they liked. Plus, you never know how long you'll be waiting so always better to have more snacks on hand. I like to stash them in these Itzy Ritzy bags. That way I can refill them and use them at our destinations. Also, lollipops. Lollipops saved us when I traveled with Penny at 16 months. She basically sucked on them the entire flight and was a sticky mess but she was happy!
3. Bring small toys that they will play with once they're there as well.
So I've heard that people like to go to the dollar store and pick up new things for their kids to play with on the plane but honestly I've never been into that. I find it a waste of money plus my kids will get bored with it if they're not into it. These are our favorites for travel:
Melissa and Doug Water Wow books - they fit in the backpack and all kids seem to love them. Plus, they can be used over and over again.
Mudpuppy pouch puzzles - if you have a puzzle lover, these are key. They're stored flat and not too big. I don't know if they'll fit on the tray table on the plane but they'll definitely be used at your destination.
Melissa and Doug crayons - I love these crayons because they come in a sturdy case that won't fall apart while you're traveling. My kids seem to take better care of these for some reason as well.
Also, matchbox cars, stickers, plain paper, Magnatiles, plus anything small that your kids love and will play with!
4. Technology is key.
Yes, we'd all love to have our kids sit on the plane and play with the packed toys or nap but in reality that doesn't always happen. Come prepared with an iPad or phone that has all their favorite shows or movies downloaded already. We buy everything on Amazon and use the Prime Video app. We've found that all our devices and TVs can show these videos so we're not paying for the shows twice. I love these headphones for kids as well.
Make sure you pack some books to read at your destination. Have your kids pick 2 or 3 each and put them in the front pouch of your suitcase. That way you have books for bedtime and quiet time - which we all need when we're on vacation with kids!
If you can afford it, sign up for TSA precheck. It helps the security line go so much more quickly and I was able to walk straight through security with both kids in my stroller. It was amazing. The top picture is Luke and Penny holding hands as they went through security.