Any links in this post to a merchant may contain an affiliate link, which means that if you click on that link and then buy something, I may earn a commission from it. However, all opinions in this link are 100% mine and 100% honest. If I didn't believe in a particular product, I wouldn't recommend it to you.
I know that I’m not telling you anything new when I say that if you are going to fly with kids then you need some activities to keep them entertained during the flight. But, some options are better than others when it comes to kids and airplanes. You want to make sure that you pack activities that your kids will actually like, but you also need to make sure that they are not going to annoy you or other passengers. So, if you’re not sure what you should pack or want to make sure that you pack the right activities, check out this list of the best airplane activities for kids.
As you might guess, electronics are one of the best airplane activities for kids. They can keep kids entertained for hours. Just make sure if you plan to use electronics during your trip that you remember to pack the charger or plenty of batteries. Also, please be respectful of your fellow passengers and have your children use headphones. The best electronics for travel are:
- phones (just be sure to put them on airplane mode)
- portable DVD players
- leap pads (for toddlers)
- handheld video games devices
Another category of the best airplane activities for kids is books and toys. This is because they don’t need power and are not fragile like electronics are. The best choices don’t make noise, are easy to carry, and can be used in small spaces like airplane seats. Some of the items on this list are better for younger children while others are more suited for older kids. There is enough variety in this category, though, that you can pick and choose the right ones for your family based on your child’s interests. Our favorites are:
- window clings
- coloring books/activity books/mad libs
- story books
- paper and pencil or crayons
- magnetic storyboards (these are metal cases with backgrounds on them and a collection of magnets so your kids can create their own stories)
- stuffed animals/dolls/action figures
- travel lego set (Make your own by gluing a lego baseboard inside the lid of a lunchbox and then store legos inside)
Games with Equipment
These days, there are lots of travel versions of popular board games that make taking them with you easier than ever. If your kids love board games, get some of these travel versions for your flights. If you kids love trivia, grab the cards out of their favorite trivia games and take them with you on the plane. You can quiz each other with the cards without having the board or other game pieces. If you have pen and paper, you can play tic tac toe, hangman, or pictionary.
Games without Equipment
As far as I am concerned, the best airplane activities for kids are games that don’t require any equipment. Basically, these are games that you can play anywhere at any time. The reason I love these games is because you don’t have to pack anything extra in order to use them. They are great to use with your kids any time you are traveling, but they are especially good when waiting in line at airport security or when you need something to entertain them for just a few minutes. These games include:
- 20 Questions
- I Spy
- Rock, Paper, Scissors
- Scavenger Hunts
- “I’m going on a trip” (Each person says “I’m going on a trip, and I’m taking ____________.” The first person fills in the blank with something that starts with A. The second person repeats the A answer and then adds something that starts with B. And you continue through the alphabet until someone forgets an answer.)
- Color Bags (This is a game I made up for my son. Basically, assign a point value to each color. When your child sees a piece of luggage (or a shirt) of that color, they “win” those points. See which kid can get the most points or how fast they can reach a certain point level.)
In addition to games, books, and toys, there are other activities that you can use to entertain your children during flights. The best of these activities use things that you will probably have with you as you’re traveling, such as a map or pen and paper. Activities that make some of the best airplane activities for kids are:
- Make a birthday or Christmas wish list.
- Look at maps or guidebook for your destination.
- Talk about what your child wants to do on your trip.
- Make a list of food or restaurants to try.
- Relive your favorite moments from your trip.
- Start planning your next trip.
Whenever you fly with kids, you need to have a variety of things to keep them entertained during the flight. While there is an unlimited number of things that you can take on a plane, some things are better than others. This list of the best airplane activities for kids will help you pack entertainment options for your kids that they will love and that won’t annoy other passengers. I hope these help make your next flight even better for you and your kids. Need more activities? Read our screen-free activities for flying with kids. And for more tips on flying with kids, see our best airplane snacks, tips for flying with kids, common mistakes to avoid when flying with toddlers, how to handle child anxiety when flying, and preparing kids for long flights. And check out our complete guide to happy travel with kids. Happy travels!