Flying with a Toddler: Busy Bags

Flying with a toddler is always a feat just outside of ones comfort zone. Regardless of how many times you have flown, there is the unpredictability factor with kids. Behr has flown over thirty times and Hudson has clocked a handful of flights as well. However this was the first family flight we took with both boys being mobile, Hudson at the uncomfortable age of not wanting to sit still, ever.

I decided to make them their own identical busy bags (no competition here) to serve as my lifesaver if things got a bit restless on our short flight. Our bags included:

Binder zipper pouches, the perfect size.
Three race cars each. These are their favorite toys, although thanks to the wheels, they do travel far if dropped on a plane. You may want to weigh the pros and cons of this one.
Silly Putty, which I buy in bulk because it does not stain or smell or dry out.
Roll of tape, which provided an endless "mess" which isn't very hard to clean up and again, doesn't stain or smell. Note: this seems wasteful, but a roll of tape is so cheap and provides so much distraction, I view it is worth the dollar or so of waste.
Pipe cleaners for endless creativity and to keep their hands busy.
Simple dot stickers which create fun designs, keep hands busy and aren't hard to clean up.

Other tips we have learned when flying with littles?
Let them pack their own back pack of items. We use these for Behr (3.5) and Hudson (1.5) as they are appropriately sized for their ages.
Triangle crayons, because they don't roll.
Stickers from teacher stores are another favorite since, like the dot stickers above, they are easy to peel off without leaving a residue.
Small toys individually wrapped, this is great for longer flights when you need a new surprise every hour or so.
Stacking cups, especially when younger, and these double as bath toys at your destination.

I've also tested several different magnetic toy options, but the ones we brought on this trip caused a delay in the TSA screening. I no longer would recommend magnetic toys for this reason, as the last thing you need with two mobile little ones is a longer security check process.

Finally, a word on snacks. I have written a post about finding kid-friendly airport food, but that doesn't always work. I decant low mess snacks -- raisins, animal crackers, carrot sticks, granola bars, dried mango and pretzel sticks -- into individual portion sizes to prevent a big mess or spilling the whole bag. We also carry an empty water bottle for each person to fill up after passing through TSA. Some times the flight crew is willing to fill these up for us, but when the plane is full or the schedule is tight, this doesn't always happen, so I now buy a large water after security to fill us all up. Bringing squeeze pouches have been hit or miss, especially as these sometimes trigger an extra security check.

With both toys and food, I try to keep the items I am brining on the plane out of rotation for a week or so before the flight to help them be more exciting.

Other posts you might find helpful:

What tips do you have for flying with toddlers? Have you experimented with busy bags?

Disclaimer: compensated affiliate links be used in this post. These links allow me to continue to blog and share our experiences with you. Thank you in advance for your support. 

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