Flight stuff for Toddlers
December 18, 2013 9:10 PM   Subscribe

We'll be flying with a two year old for the holidays and I'm about to place an amazon order for toddler headphones so he can watch a few favorite shows if things go poorly. Anything else I might want to add to the order?

What things would you buy for a toddler's first conscious visit to the airport, security and flight? These can be things you would want or things you would need. He's rambunctious, active and ridiculously sweet. Let's put a limit at no more than $100.
I'll definitely be limiting how much stuff we bring, I love flying light, but I'm game for lots of ideas to sift though.
posted by HMSSM to Shopping (23 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
We love traveling with Model Magic.

We don't have a hard time in security with it, like I thought we might. It is awesome stuff -- bring a small empty ziplock to keep it moist when he's done playing. If he makes something worth saving, it dries pretty quickly. Not messy, super fun!
posted by mamabear at 9:29 PM on December 18, 2013

In my experience, 2 year olds don't keep headphones on.
Buy a bunch of little toys - HotWheels, weird little balls, etc. And wrap them in tissue paper and bring them out sporadically. New toys all the time.
Sticker books.
Feed him constantly.
Let him play with the ipad the whole time.

Bring a change of clothes and extra diapers.
posted by k8t at 9:36 PM on December 18, 2013

Travel doodle. This one is good.
posted by bq at 9:54 PM on December 18, 2013


No, for real.
posted by armoir from antproof case at 9:56 PM on December 18, 2013

No Benadryl. Too much risk of hyperactivity in an already active child.

To be clear, I'm not looking for suggestions about how to fly, I'm looking for things I might be interested in buying like a specific toy or type of book or carseat cover whatnot and etc. I've read a million askmes and mommy blogs about all the details of flying. I'm just having some fun shopping and checking out things I might not have thought to look for.
posted by HMSSM at 10:06 PM on December 18, 2013

We've found these to be well worth the money. You can link them together, make chains, etc.
posted by SpacemanStix at 10:09 PM on December 18, 2013

What resources do you have already? If you have an iPad or Android device I have some ideas. :)
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 10:50 PM on December 18, 2013

iPad. He rarely get screen time so he looooves it when he does.
posted by HMSSM at 10:59 PM on December 18, 2013

We have an assortment of toys and books, but many are still targeted to babies, I need to cycle some stuff out anyway to provide some more age appropriate toys and activities and since new things and books are recommended for flights to distract with novelty, I thought I see what kind of stuff is out there for his age.
posted by HMSSM at 11:03 PM on December 18, 2013

A small backpack.

My kid loves having her own "suitcase" just like her parents.
Put some stuff you don't mind losing in it, and have him carry around.

Just make sure it's not too big.
posted by madajb at 11:10 PM on December 18, 2013

Something like this backpack if you're not using a stroller. I have been there. I like this one because it's a legit little backpack on its own unlike some others.
posted by checkitnice at 1:20 AM on December 19, 2013

We're in a similar situation and our 22mo got an early Christmas present of a Trunki. He's loved riding round on it and pulling it round the house, so hopefully that should make getting around the airport easier.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:28 AM on December 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

Just did this last week with our 26-month old. Ordered headphones off Amazon, too, but didn't end up using them. We had a sticker book about airports that was a huge hit; a mini plastic slinky that we pretended attached to my nose; a new plastic truck and some people figures to go inside, and that all got us through the flight. (But it was a night flight and he shocked us by sleeping through most of it.). The gift wrapping worked a charm, and bringing a wrapped gift out could stop a meltdown in its tracks.
posted by wyzewoman at 3:45 AM on December 19, 2013

I saw one of these kid-carrying backpacks last weekend at the airport. Very cool.
posted by melissasaurus at 4:15 AM on December 19, 2013

Seconding Trunki. They are very robust, kids love them and they are built so as to be a ride on/pull along toy too. No help in flight but brilliant for packing and airport time.
posted by MuffinMan at 4:15 AM on December 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

Little cloth finger puppets have a high minutes-of-entertainment-per-square-foot-of-luggage-space ratio. Get a bunch of them with different personalities -- an animal, a ballerina, an astronaut, etc. They scrunch down small, and you can use them to act out little stories. And if you bring them out one or two at a time, you have some ongoing novelty value.
posted by yankeefog at 4:18 AM on December 19, 2013

For us, the best purchases were the CARES harness (SO much easier than shlepping a car seat), the Trunki (already mentioned) and a Cheerios playbook (hated that it's basically an advertisement, but it's sturdy, fun to play with and they don't have to know we use it with the organic O's so joke's on them).

Crayola makes washable triangular crayons that won't roll - perfect for planes.

And we love Story Cubes - roll the dice and tell a story based on them, and they take up almost no space.
posted by Mchelly at 4:29 AM on December 19, 2013

Definitely triangle crayons if your kid likes to color.
We also had good luck with removable office-supply type stickers.
They come off super easily, so they got stuck to paper, books, the window, our faces, the tray, etc etc. My daughter is a bit focused, so spent a great deal of time on the last airplane ride putting stickers over the dates on an old monthly calendar...
"lift the flap" books are always popular in our house.
posted by avocado_of_merriment at 6:28 AM on December 19, 2013

I fly frequently with my two year old. Here are a few things that she really liked:
  • Tegu Block travel kit (expensive, but amazing)
  • Any small Duplo set that we can build and play with. This one is a blind bag which adds an extra guessing game.
  • This camper van
  • Toobs (There are so many varieties and great because they are really a set of 8 toys, but they aren't for kids who still put everything in their mouths.)
  • Play All Day by Taro Gomi packs flat and has dozens of cut-out "toys"
She also loves putting chunky beads on pipe cleaners and coloring, especially with special, multi-colored crayons used only on planes. We also travel with a tiny tea set and some fake food so that we can have a tea party when drinks are served.
posted by Alison at 7:01 AM on December 19, 2013 [2 favorites]

Traveling with kids is an exercise in distraction.... Here's what we found successful for us:
Start with reading... now, your 2 year old can't read, but i'm sure you have awesome pictures books that you can ready together, etc.
Then, once your child is tired of that... goto activity books... coloring, etc...
Then, once your child is tired of that... goto maybe small toys, cars, etc....

Anything to OCCUPY their thoughts & time....

Soon... (hopefully not too soon) these will all grow old... and then it's time for food. Start with healthy food; fruits, raisins, apples, etc. Then progress onto crackers.... your last choice here is of course candy... something preferably small... so they can eat alot but perhaps not get "too full"... on suger, etc... Our favorite was M&M's...

You're last stand is ....... DVD. I would forget the headphones... as they won't wear them at that age.... but the visual will be enough.

Good luck!
posted by foodybat at 7:58 AM on December 19, 2013

Stickers, playdoh. A little toddler-hand-sized airplane that I found at a kids clothing consignment shop.

We used this book to prepare our 2yo for a flight beforehand.

He enojoyed this book a lot too.

We spent a lot of time looking out the windows at the airport.

Snacks, snacks, snacks. Oh yeah, I don't know how you feel about feeding toddlers fast food, we generally avoid it, BUT, you better believe I got a bag of chicken fingers and french fries right before we got on the plane. Those were magical.
posted by vignettist at 8:47 AM on December 19, 2013

leapfrog products such as the tag jr.
posted by stormpooper at 10:25 AM on December 19, 2013

Dover Little Activity Books are $1.35 and about 4X6 inches. You can get a stack of ones you think your child may like and bring them out at intervals. My child liked a few of the sticker "decorate" a something ones and the maze books the most when she was smaller. (She also loved her panda headphones that she received when she was two and had no trouble keeping them on.) These books along with some tiny playdough (I just put that in the liquids bag for security), pipe cleaners, finger puppets, and as many kinds of small foods* you can pack should go over well. Though of course you will still need to walk the length of the plane multiple times and get to know everyone sitting in the aisle seats.

*That is, if at home your child concentrates on food and spends time carefully eating it all.
posted by Margalo Epps at 7:39 AM on December 20, 2013

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