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Travel Survival Tips: How to entertain a toddler during a flight

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With the holidays fast approaching, mama, we’ve got some great ideas on how to entertain a toddler during a flight. Just in case anyone was wondering…

So it’s the holiday season again! You’re excited about the long awaited break, but the thought of taking a long flight with little ones in tow is daunting. How to keep those active kiddos entertained during the flight?

Toys are often bulky, and there is a limit to how many you might even venture to bring onboard. Mama, it’s time to put together some Busy Bags. What are busy bags? They are little bags of activities to keep young children entertained. Every bag has a learning objective, and can be used independently by the child, or with accompaniment for parent-child bonding. There are a wide range of busy bags, and not all of them may be appropriate for plane rides. Some criteria to consider when assembling your busy bag collection for the flight:

  1. Compact and lightweight
  2. Limited number of small pieces
  3. Not fragile
  4. Engaging
  5. Variety of learning objectives

These are some flight-friendly busy bags that cover a good variety of Montessori learning objectives and topics.


Plane Memento

During the flight, what’s more exciting than planes themselves? This busy bag contains a variety of activities ALL about aeroplanes, designed especially for flights. For example, a wooden aeroplane picture frame for decorating and displaying a holiday memory, colouring postcards, and fun fact cards.

Learning Area(s): language (postcards), cultural (topic of aeroplanes, science), craft


Lacing Shapes

This busy bag contains 7 different shapes for the child to practice lacing, to develop fine motor skills and hand eye coordination. To travel even lighter, you can just bring 2-3 shapes.

Once your child gets bored of lacing, trace the shape on a piece of paper for a time of colouring.

Learning Area(s): Practical life (lacing)


Ladybird, Ladybird

Ladybird, Ladybird works on colour recognition, and at the same time fascinates the child with a zip and buttons. And mamas, we all know how much kiddos love zips and buttons!

Learning Area(s): Sensorial (colour), practical life (zipping, buttoning)



The child sticks the numbers in ascending/descending order, and gets a good finger workout by peeling off the velcro. The child learns to recognise numbers, works on rote counting, and develops fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.

Learning Area(s): Mathematics (rote counting, number recognition)

busy-bags-airplanes-frog-prince-031215 copy

Frog Prince Puppet

The idea of making crafts onboard a flight sounds daunting (and messy) – but not for the Frog Prince Puppet! There are no small parts or glue – only a roll of double-sided tape. Have fun making and decorating the Frog Prince Puppet, and use it for storytelling, poetry and to share fun facts!

Learning Area(s): Cultural (fun facts), Language (storytelling, poetry)

[Picture: Frog Prince collage, frog prince puppet]

More Tips:

  • Break the travel time up into 20-minute slots to plan how many busy bags you should bring on board. Of course, factor in their nap/sleep timings, if it happens to coincide with the flight duration.
  • Bring out a new busy bag only after your child is bored of everything else around (e.g. things in the seat pocket, bottle caps, etc.)\
  • Wrap the busy bags up individually to let your child enjoy unwrapping
  • To make your own, you just need some Ziploc bags and colourful, tactile materials (e.g. felt, pom pomps, pipe cleaners, or popsicle sticks) that can be picked up at Daiso or some place similar. Check out Pinterest for heaps of DIY ideas and suggestions!

I wish you a very happy holiday, mama!

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