Got a long flight coming up with your baby and not sure how to keep them entertained?
The good news is, babies need very little in the way of toys to keep them entertained; let’s be honest for that first year of life YOU are their best entertainment.
The bad news, no matter how much ‘entertainment’ you have for a baby on a long flight, there’s bound to be a point they will crack and create a fuss. Don’t worry!!!
Here we’re going to take you through all our favourite lightweight and easy to pack toys for keeping your baby stimulated and entertained to get you through those extra-long flights – plus what we’d leave at home.
This post is part of our tried & tested product series and our best baby travel advice
Important features to look for in a baby travel toy
There are a few key features we look for when choosing appropriate travel toys for a baby, most are similar features you’d look for in a baby toy at home:
- Made from materials that are safe if they end up in your babies mouth.
- Easy to wipe down with antibacterial wipes or machine wash.
- Stimulating yes – but loads of beeps and rattles that disturb those around you are a no-no.
- Avoid anything with parts that can go missing – look for toys that have clasps that can attach them to you/your stroller/luggage.
- Size – you don’t need a separate bag just for toys, keep it simple and try to fit all your toys in the same bag as your diaper and feeding supplies.
Our favourite baby toys for travel
Here are some of the classic baby toys that always made their way into our travel bag:
Buckle toys are an adorable collection of furry critters that come with a collection of small clasps and buckles to get infants started with their fine motor skills. Soft and squishable so appropriate from a young age, this toy will grow with your child into their toddler years; it’s worth investing in a few different designs. We love that it’s also attachable to strollers or luggage, and kids can even carry it with them, making it an ideal baby travel toy.
I don’t think there’s a place in the world we haven’t travelled to with some of these in our diaper bag! Super small and easy entertainment for even the tiniest of babies, these cute critter wrist rattles and foot-finder socks are a simple but very effective way to keep your baby entertained on a plane – or just about anywhere!
Another classic baby take-along toy, the Haba Clatter is soft to touch and gives your baby an entertaining giggle as it clatters itself back into shape. Babies will love the vibrating movement, but it’s not too noisy it will disturb your fellow passengers – making it an airplane toy winner!
A soft activity book is a perfect baby toy for the plane – or just about anywhere on the go. Wonderfully textured surfaces that can be touched, chewed, and drolled on with bright and stimulating colours for awake time. Make sure you choose a soft book with a clasp to attach to your stroller too.
Manhattan Toys were another staple that followed us everywhere! So easy to slip in the bag, this multi-sensory toy works as both a teether and a rattle. Brightly coloured and easy for babies as young as 3 months to clasp and squish.
A teething toy is always a must when travelling with a baby. You never know when those nasty little pointers are going to start poking through. Whether they’re actually teething or not, babies love a good gnaw, and you’d much rather they take out their energy on a nice pliable rubber toy than you or anything else they can get their hands on! (Remember to pack your wipes too!)
This Silly Spinwheel toy is a wonderful stimulating baby toy that’s easy to bring along with you. We’d stick ours onto the tray table of the plane during playtime, a wonderful distractor and again, noise is minimal so won’t disturb those around you. It can be used as a handheld toy too, appropriate from 6 months.
Ideal for your 9 months + baby, the Melissa & Doug Take-Along Shape Sorter is a great sensory toy. A little bulkier than some of the others we’ve mentioned but does squish fairly small in your luggage and doesn’t weigh much. It’s double-sided, so your tiny tot can enjoy lifting the crinkly flaps, and as their fine motor skills improve, move to the shape sorter side.
(Just be aware this one comes with a few parts, so you may find yourself on a search and rescue mission at pack up time, whereas our other suggestions are all self-contained!)
Nothing beats your babies favourite soft lovie toy from home. Its a tough call whether you leave a child’s favourite at home so it doesn’t get lost, or bring it because you know it helps them get to sleep and feel comforted (Top parenting tip – when you can see a child’s forming a close attachment get two and rotate them through the wash cycle, so they’re equally worn and loved!)
Our top tip when it comes to choosing baby toys for a flight is to not overdo it; as they approach the toddler years there are far more fun travel toys you can add to your collection but honestly, when they’re tiny, save that diaper bag space and weight for the essentials, which we discuss in more detail here.
Electronics for babies?
We’re looking at those under around 18 months here – it’s a no from me. Yes, I have given my toddlers a tablet for short stints but never as young babies. There are better ways to keep them entertained; save passing them your phone or an old tablet until they’re a little older and can wear headphones.
Little wrapped surprises?
There’s no need for the baby age group to wrap up “little surprises”; this tip really applies to the toddler and pre-schooler age group where the element of surprise means something.
And little gifts for your seat mates?
Some good-meaning folk may suggest that perhaps a small gift is in order for your surrounding seatmates on a plane when travelling with a baby. Give me a break! You have no more of a reason to “apologise” for flying with a baby than the guy in 13G does for snoring.
Please don’t feel you need to give gifts or apologies for the way your baby behaves onboard. You can only prepare yourself and do your best to keep your baby happy and entertained; some babies will approach flying like a dream, others will fight you every mile.
Before you go – more baby travel advice
We have travelled the globe with all 3 of our children through the baby stage and have plenty of guides and advice posts that may help you get under way with your own worldly travels – or evn just to the next city! – with your baby:
- Start with our complete guide to baby travel advice.
- Next, you’ll want these 10 baby essentials for travel we’d never leave home without
- When you’re ready for your big vacation you’ll want to download our Ultimate Baby Travel Checklist
- Check out our complete guide to flying with a baby from ticket booking through to best seating and getting from house to plane.
- Everything you want to know about breastfeeding & pumping when you travel, plus a detailed guide to bottle feeding on the go.
- The baby bassinet on the airplane explained with a guide by airline
Good luck with your upcoming baby travel adventures! If you want to share your flying experience we always welcome guests on our blog to share their baby and family flying experiences. You can see our past airline review posts from parents here.
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