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Toddler Airplane Essentials: What to Bring Onboard for Your 2-3 Year Old

Toddler Airplane Essentials: What to Bring Onboard for Your 2-3 Year Old

I’ve previously written about onboard essentials for a newborn and a 1-year old, but now that Jules is a toddler we have a new list of must-haves for the plane! Here’s what’s kept us entertained/sane on our last few long-haul flights.

1. Activity Books & Toys

We love these Water Wow books from Melissa and Doug! All you do is fill the brush pen with water and color/shapes/objects magically appear on the page. The best part is that once the page is dry, you can do it over and over again! We also love to stick one of these into her backpack for dining out — we can never count on restaurants to supply crayons and a kid’s menu, especially when traveling abroad.

Crayola Color Wonder activity pages and pens are also great for mess-free coloring and can occupy my daughter for a while, but they’re single-use only and my daughter can sometimes get frustrated with the pen caps.

Our favorite new find was this I Can Do That: Sticker Activity Book from Gakken. This one required mom’s help (reading the directions and helping remove the stickers so she could place them), but she loved this! Very cute and very fun. It claims to be reusable but I don’t really think that’s the case.

2. Pull-Up Diapers

My 2.5 year-old daughter is potty trained, but I have no problem putting her in a pull up on the plane in case of an accident. Airplane travel is already stressful enough, and it really helps my anxiety level knowing that she’s wearing a pull up in case of an accident. We still take her to use the potty on the plane, and she has had no problem transitioning back to her undies once we are off the plane. Our favorites are these soft “diaper pants” from Parasol, which we use daily for naptime and for long car rides.

3. Disposable Toilet Seat Covers

This is my newest favorite find! These cute toilet seat covers (we picked the dinosaurs) completely cover a toilet seat, making an adult-sized toilet seat less intimidating to toddlers. If your kids are like my daughter, public toilet seats are a little scary —especially ones that loudly flush on their own — so this find was a godsend. Note: these are not flushable and are single-use. They are individually wrapped and come in a 20 pack.

4. Hand Sanitizer & Wipes

I use travel Lysol wipes and wipe down literally everything we might touch — windows, tray tables, seat buckles, remotes, buttons, etc. — before we sit down.

I also bring both foaming hand sanitizer and hand sanitizing wipes onboard (both from Babyganics) to clean up before eating and after using the potty (it can’t hurt to clean your hands twice). Warning: if you use foaming hand sanitizer, put it in a Stasher bag because it might leak during the changes in altitude (mine did).

5. an iPad + Headphones

We aren’t “daily device” users, but vacations are a special exception to the rule. An iPad preloaded with episodes of Dora the Explorer (seasons 1 & 2 are available on Amazon Prime!) and educational games is an absolute must for us. These LilGadgets wired headphones have survived 20+ flights now and keep the volume at a safe level for Jules.

6. Socks!

We always bring a pair of socks onboard if she’s not already wearing shoes with socks, because as soon as we get settled, her shoes come off. Shoes are uncomfortable for little feet and can contribute to kids’ kicking the seat in front of them (yikes!), so we always bring on board a pair of socks to keep her feet warm and comfy.

7. Blanket (for long-haul flights)

If we’re flying on a redeye or a long flight where we want Jules to nap, we always bring along her favorite blanket (this one from Little Giraffe) in our carryon. It’s an easy way for her to make the mental association of “it’s time to sleep now” even though she’s not in her normal bed.

8. Snacks

Just like, tons of snacks. On our last flight Jules and I were seated in DeltaOne — first class—and her preordered “kids meal” was totally nasty. Thank goodness I brought onboard my own cooler of food for her.


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