Activity ideas to keep kids busy on flights

If you’re heading on a flight, you may be worried about how to keep the kids busy, particularly if you’re flying long haul.

Flying with babies and toddlers does have its own challenges, but as they get that bit older, it does become easier to keep them entertained, and there are plenty of ways to do just that.

Waiting patiently for her flight
Waiting patiently for her flight

When Lily was a baby, she spent the whole of her first flight (8 months old) mesmerised by the inflight emergency landing card and after then we’ve provided age and ability-appropriate activities to keep her busy.

This year (post Covid) was our first long haul flight, which came with its own worries about how we’d keep her busy for 9 hours, when she’s usually bouncing off the walls after just 9 minutes in the same place at home – however, we needn’t have worried, as some of our favourite small businesses and more were on hand to help us through.

Thumbs up for travelling with kids
Thumbs up for travelling with kids

My Busy Bots Fun Folders

My Busy Bots have been with us for many adventures, days out, camping trips and even to Butlins too! We’ve loved all their activity bags and activity packs, and now our Fun Folder is a firm staple for all our trips – including both long and short haul flights.

Mesmerised by her activity booklets from My Busy Bots on the flight
Mesmerised by her activity booklets from My Busy Bots on the flight

You can store all their amazing hand-drawn activity booklets in there (eco-friendly printing!) as well as your coloured pencils (included!) and stickers, all zipped up in the beautiful, colourful, wipe-clean file.

There are packs for kids of all ages, that you can then top up when you’ve finished the activity pack.

We love how easy everything is to store in one place, they’re such high quality and how beautiful they are too!

Find out more about My Busy Bots Fun Folders and Activity Packs here.

Our My Busy Bots Activity Packs and Fun Folders are great for travel
Our My Busy Bots Activity Packs and Fun Folders are great for travel

Keep Em Quiet bags

Whenever we’ve gone away, I’ve always packed my own bag, made up of items from the Works or Wilkos to keep her quiet while on a flight or on a long car journey. When we went to Greece, I decided to give the Keep Em Quiet bags a go, and they were genuinely amazing – way better than anything I’d put together, and probably for the same total price too!

Enjoying her Keep Em Quiet bag by the pool in the shade
Enjoying her Keep Em Quiet bag by the pool in the shade

They come in a drawstring bag, packed with age-appropriate activities that are mess-free and travel friendly! You can choose bags for different genders, durations of journeys, and even return journeys too.

Excited by her new Keep Em Quiet bag
Excited by her new Keep Em Quiet bag

We chose a short-haul bag for age 3-5 for our daughter, then more recently the older unisex pack, and she not only was kept entertained on the flight, but also for quiet time in the shade, in restaurants, on the flight home, and still had plenty left for the camping trip when we got home!

There were crafts, puzzles, colouring, healthy snacks (which she demolished!) and more, packed into the little bag, and although I’ve always put together this kind of thing myself, I couldn’t recommend these bags enough, and I will definitely order another whenever we next fly.

They come in a lovely drawstring bag, packed with activities
They come in a lovely drawstring bag, packed with activities

Check out their website for some amazing ideas to make travelling with kids even easier – I’m keen to try the scooter bags, and maybe even the inflatable bed for kids for flying!

Van Life Family Travel Journal

We are huge fans of Van Life Family adventures on Instagram, so were super excited to order one of their travel journals which has now become a staple for our adventures – and a great way to spend time on the flight too, reflecting about your holiday.

Enjoying her travel journal on holiday

Packed with journal logs, maps, checklists for your experiences and more, we know this will be a great keepsake as well as an exciting memory to look back on too.

You can order yours here as well as get a whole host of inspiration from their blog.

Taking a break from the sun by filling out her journal
Taking a break from the sun by filling out her journal

Cabin Max

We’ve recently bought Lily a Cabin Max bag from Amazon, not just for flights, but for her school residential trips too – and we are super impressed.

The one we bought is acceptable on flights as hand luggage, has a large storage area for all her activities, a side pocket for little bits, a pocket for her water bottle, and (the highlight for Lily) is the little seat for her toy at the front!

What’s more, it has straps at the back that it can also be worn as a backpack, or a telescopic handle for pulling along.

It can topple over if it is off balance, but it is absolutely perfect for her and she was super excited to be able to be independent and take it through the airport herself too – definite win win!

Books

Reading is one of Lily’s favourite things and is definitely a great way to keep the kids busy at airports, while waiting for flights, on the plane, and at your destination.

Why not get your kids to choose a special new holiday book at the airport, or pack one to surprise them with on the plane? That’ll make it a super special read then too!

Enjoying her new travel book in the hotel room
Enjoying her new travel book in the hotel room

Trunki

OK, so I know it isn’t an ‘activity’ as such, but our Trunki comes on all our adventures – and has done for over the last 3.5 years! It is perfect for storing all the activities in, so Lily knows this is her ‘activity’ bag, and can go in and get something if she wants something else to do.

What’s more, it is travel-friendly, and has kept her entertained at airports while waiting for delayed flights (how anyone ever travelled through airports with kids before Trunki, I don’t know!!), while making sure she doesn’t have to put up with the long walk between gates/passport/baggage.

The easiest way to get through airports while storing all her activities!
The easiest way to get through airports while storing all her activities!

I’ve added it onto this list because in my mind it is still an amazing mess-free, travel-friendly activity, that we couldn’t travel without!

High 5 for the Trunki
High 5 for the Trunki

Bear Snacks – Yo Yo!

We all love a snack, right? And snacks are pretty much an essential for family travel too, right? Well, we’re massive fans of Bear Snacks and always have one on hand for emergency tummy rumbles – plus now for flying too!

They’re flight-friendly, mess free, don’t take up much space in the bag, come with a great card (we definitely love their cards!) and are super healthy too!

Can you tell she was excited by not only having her own stash of Bear Yo Yo Snacks for the flight, but also getting one with her in-flight meal too?!

So much excitement!!

Fidget toys

Fidget toys are brilliant for flying – especially if kids are nervous about flying, need a bit of a distraction or have some energy to burn. They’re also small and light enough to fit in hand luggage, so great to take on a flight. Keep Em Quiet bags even have a sensory bag you can check out too.

Inflight movie

Lily’s not great at sitting and watching a movie – she usually gets restless super easily. However, inflight movies were different as she enjoyed choosing her own film on the screen that would be different to what she’d watch at home and definitely a great deal more screen time too!

Happy Lily, happy Mummy!

She may have watched the same cartoons on repeat, usually while doing her activity books, but we really didn’t mind – she was happy and occupied, so we weren’t bothered at all by any amount of screen time – you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do as a parent, right?!

Kids Onesies

We love a onesie, and now we have fallen in love with KidsOnesies – a fantastic brand offering a whole range of different onesies for kids and adults.

Most people think of onesies when you’re snuggling on the sofa for winter, but we absolutely love them on a campsite and they’re great for keeping cosy and comfortable on flights too – especially overnight ones!

Lily loves her Kids Onesie for our camping adventures

You can find everything from unicorns and dinosaurs to pugs and tigers, with something for everyone’s taste! They’re super soft and Lily absolutely loves her one.

Find out more about Kids Onesies here

Nom Nom Kids reusable pouches

We are HUGE fans of the Nom Nom Kids reusable pouches, and they’ve joined us on adventures for several years now, from picnics and days out to camping trips and long road trips.

They’re reusable, making them great for the environment, but also fold completely flat so take up nearly no storage space when they’re empty – much better than carrying around a bulky lunch box and great for keeping your snacks stocked up for your flights too.

They come in different sizes and different designs too and are super easy to wash. Happy kids, happy parents!

Find out more about Nom Nom Kids reusable products here – you can use discount code LILY10 at the checkout (affiliate code)

Breakfast with Nom Nom Kids snack pouches!
Breakfast with Nom Nom Kids snack pouches!

Related articles

Check out our blog on sun protection ideas on holiday here

Check out our top 10 travel products & gifts here

Check out our full family camping checklist here

Check out our screen-free travel activity ideas for pre-schoolers and toddlers here

Check out our eco friendly travel swap ideas here

Have a great flight!
Have a great flight!

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