Top 10 Best Toys to Take on a Plane
Written by: Matt Sherman
The airlines are working for on-time landings and takeoffs, but parents are finding themselves increasingly pressed to fill children’s time in the air and on the ground between segments. Presenting a list of the 10 best toys to take on a plane:
10. Deck of Cards
The 52 plastic cards in a deck can present hundreds of entertainment opportunities for your child. Solitaire alone is a gift for which most parents are grateful.
What kid hasn’t tried to make a house of cards—a time consuming activity if there is turbulence on your flight!
The all-time classic, crayons, are for ages up to 11 or 12, even without a coloring book to doodle in. In-flight magazines are free of charge for your child to enjoy, and are quickly converted to tic-tac-toe scratch pads or “Dots” battlefields.
8. Toy Binoculars
Besides an advance peek at beverages served on the cart 20 rows from your seats, binoculars are a godsend for your child. Magnificent cloud, city and nature views enthrall a child for hours.
FAA regulations allow flexibility even if you start with aisle seats. Once your plane has left the terminal and seat belt signs have been switched off, you are allowed any open seat without making request of your flight attendants. In other words, if you see window seats empty of passengers at takeoff, they are yours to take as you are cruising in the sky.
7. An Expendable Doll or Action Figure
Remember when Sally Simple or Agent Super held your attention all day? A favorite, but not too treasured, playmate is good for a plane as younger travelers lose items easily.
If they will talk to it but not cry much if they lose it, it’s probably a sure winner.
6. A Travel Game
For older children, any travel-based game will add to the excitement of flying the friendly skies. No, they can’t easily count license plates from a cruising altitude of 35,000 feet, but educational games emphasizing geography, travel and adventure become more meaningful as you wing above the world.
5. Airline Provided “Toys”
If a favorite toy is trapped in the baggage compartment, make game pieces for your child out of what the flight crew can provide. Little ones do hide-and-seek or a castle with the pillows and blankets on board, and they might fall asleep in the process.
Some attendants can provide your child with crayons, playing cards or even the coveted “wings pin” available from some airlines. An ordinary pin becomes a treasured toy for a young flyer.
4. An Interactive Listening Toy
The ordinary iPod or .mp3 music player many parents thrust on their children to isolate them in flight becomes magical when shared by mom, dad or grandparent.
You may have brought an audio book or favorite music on your player with a pair of earbuds. Give one headphone or earbud to your child and keep the other and invite them to listen with you. It’s hard to resist the fun, especially when your child giggles when they are sharing “audio secrets” no one else on board can enjoy. You might even listen to their music and give comments.
3. Edible Toys
An edible toy, a lollipop with bubble gum at its center or for toddlers, a sippy cup, can become the most helpful toy of the trip.
Children’s ears respond well to the change in pressure during ascent, but increasing pressure on eardrums during final descent makes kids cry or even scream with discomfort. Chewing gum, swallowing from a cup or munching on an edible gingerbread person or toy can help ears “pop” and better adjust for the landing.
2. A Toy Plane
The small toy planes formerly given away by airlines have been revoked, but these highly detailed and exciting models are still for sale in many airports. Search ahead at your local shop or online for diecast models matching the plane you will travel on and utterly delight your child. You can point to the section on the model matching your seat assignment, explain takeoff and landing and more.
Small children should not receive a plane with tiny detailed parts such as landing gear that may be bitten loose and swallowed.
1. The Biggest, Best Toy
Of the 10 best toys to take on a plane ride, topping a child’s list and heart is a chance to toy with you. Plan some down time from your laptop and reading a novel or magazine to eat with your child on the flight, share your dreams and perhaps a deck of cards or some tic-tac-toe games.
Bone up on word games or just tell them stories—every child thrives on quality time and an exciting airplane trip with you will forever be remembered. And there’s your top 10 best toys to take on a plane. Happy flying.