Air travel has become a significant part of our lives in the 21st century, but the stigma around traveling with kids 👪 creates a lot of anxiety in parents, especially new parents.
While many of the activities and crafts listed here are meant for your kids 👪 to do at home, I have included different ways in which you can stimulate and engage your toddler or preschooler while traveling with snacks, books 📚, games, and other activities.
Exciting Airplane Activities
Arts & crafts and learning activities are a major part of our child’s development because they help them boost their self-esteem, eye-hand coordination, and fine motor skills and improve their spelling, counting, and color recognition skills.
These airplane-inspired ✈️ crafts try to fulfill these needs and much more. Hopefully, your kids enjoy participating in these activities just as much as my kids 👪 did.
Play Solitaire With Your Kids
It is a great game for children between the ages of 5 and 7 to play during a flight. What’s great is that you don’t even need actual cards to play with it. Just download the game on your tablet or phone and challenge your kids 👪 to a game of solitaire 🃏.
When they start getting bored, increase the difficulty by prohibiting the use of undo and hints. Not only will this game entertain your children, but it is also a great mental exercise that works on your child’s recognition skills.
Workbooks 📚 that are catered towards toddlers were a must in my handbag while on a flight.
Workbooks that are targeted towards letter, numbers, and word recognition, along with coloring workbooks 📚 can engage your toddler for some time.
Airplane Sugar Cookie
If your child loves airplanes ✈️, then they’ll absolutely enjoy this cookie.
What you need-
Sour cream, eggs 🥚, butter, nutmeg, baking soda, vanilla, granulated sugar, baking powder, salt, all-purpose flour, powdered sugar, whole milk 🥛, almond extract, food coloring, and light corn syrup.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In a large mixing bowl, sift 6 cups of all-purpose flour, one teaspoon of salt, two teaspoons of baking soda, and two teaspoons of nutmeg.
- In a stand mixer, mix one cup of butter and 2 cups of granulated sugar with a spatula. Once the sugar has been incorporated, add an egg 🥚 and incorporate it with the butter. Add a cup of sour cream and two teaspoons of vanilla next.
- Slowly start adding the dry ingredients. Once the ingredients are mixed, wrap the dough in wax paper and put it in the fridge overnight.
- Roll the dough and use an airplane-shaped ✈️ cookie cutter to cut the dough.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and put the cookies on it. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until the cookie is golden and crispy.
- While the cookies cool down, make the icing in a stand mixer by mixing two tablespoons of butter, four cups of powdered sugar, half a cup of whole milk 🥛, one teaspoon of vanilla extract, and one teaspoon of almond extract.
- Divide the icing into three bowls and add blue and orange food coloring into bowls, respectively.
- Put the icing into piping bags.
- Use the blue icing to make the outline of the airplane and its windows.
- Use the orange icing to fill in the airplane and the white icing to add other features. Let the icing set before serving.
Footprint Airplane Craft
This footprint airplane ✈️ craft is a wonderful keepsake for all parents from their child’s childhood. I have certainly saved mine in a box in the attic.
What you need-
Baby wipes, paper plates, easy-to-remove paint 🎨, paintbrush 🖌️, and a blank canvas.
- Ask your child to paint 🎨 the white canvas with a light sky blue watercolor.
- Once the paint 🎨 has dried, ask them to make the airplane ✈️ body with a pencil ✏️.
- Now comes the fun part: on a paper plate, squirt some paint 🎨 and cover the entire plate with it. Ask your child to dip their right foot first and stamp it on the side of the airplane ✈️ body (where the wings of the plane would go). Repeat the process with their left foot. Use the wet wipe to clean the paint 🎨 from their feet.
- Ask them to paint 🎨 the airplane ✈️ in their favorite color and make features like the propellers, engine, and tail. The footprint airplane ✈️ craft is done.
You can also choose to use your child’s hands instead of their feet to make this craft.
If you are thinking of bringing a tablet with you on the airplane ✈️, then download as many of your child’s favorite movies and TV shows as you can. Forget about screen time while you are on a flight, and let your toddler or preschooler watch as many movies as they can during the flight.
Traveling with two kids 👪 is very stressful, and the thought of my children inconveniencing anybody makes me even more stressed. So, I let them watch movies on the tablet as long as they are not jumping on their seats and moving around.
Giraffe Sensory Bag
Make a sensory bag for your child to play with during a flight.
What you need-
A Ziplock bag, small pom poms of any color, hair gel, and a picture of a giraffe 🦒.
- Place the picture of a giraffe 🦒 in the ziplock bag.
- Fill the bag with the hair gel.
- Add the pom poms to the bag.
- Seal the bag properly.
- Ask your child to arrange the pom poms around the giraffe’s 🦒 body to make its spots.
To avoid any mishaps, laminate the ziplock bag in laminating sheets if possible or put it in another ziplock bag.
Playdough Airplane Activity
Playdough is an essential tool in the development of your child’s motor skills. It is a wonderful outlet for their creativity and an amazing tool to encourage hands-on playtime. You can ask your child to make an airplane ✈️ out of playdough using other arts and crafts supplies like toothpicks and scissors ✂️.
You can provide your child with a template or let their imagination overflow with this activity.
Giant Paper Airplane
Take your children out to the garden on a bright day and see whose giant paper airplane ✈️ flies the farthest.
What you need-
Glue, stickers, tape, pompoms, and one large sheet of construction paper.
- To make the paper airplane ✈️, we started by folding the paper in half.
- Fold on the center line.
- Then, fold the top edges to the center.
- Fold the paper in half once again.
- To make the wings, fold the bottom corners of the paper to meet the bottom edge of the plane’s body. Your plane structure is ready.
- Ask your child to glue the pompom to the front of the plane and decorate the plane with stickers and such.
You and your child can make paper planes from different types of sheets in an experiment to see which paper plane flies the farthest.
Airplane-Inspired Banana Snack
Encourage your child to eat healthy with this fruit snack.
What you need-
Orange slices, banana 🍌, and chocolate 🍫 chips.
- Cut the banana 🍌 into round pieces.
- Place the banana 🍌 pieces on a plate and decorate it with two orange slices on each side.
- Finish the fruit snack by placing a chocolate 🍫 chip on top of the banana 🍌 slice, and the craft is done.
Pack a Bag of Snacks
I am not a big fan of airplane ✈️ food, and neither are my children. I prefer packing snacks instead. I recommend that you do the same and make a travel bag of your child’s favorite snacks and candies.
I like to fill my bag with carrots, pretzel sticks, rice crispy treats, jelly beans, Oreos, gummy candy, granola bars, almonds, grapes, dried fruit pieces, string cheese, and goldfish.
Popsicle Sticks Airplane Craft
If your child loves airplanes ✈️, then you can help them decorate their room with this easy craft.
What you need-
Large, medium, and small popsicle sticks, paint 🎨, paintbrush 🖌️, stickers, glue, and glitter tube.
- Ask your child to paint 🎨 the medium-sized popsicle stick grey, paint 🎨 the mini popsicle stick white, and the large popsicle stick any color.
- Once the paint 🎨 has dried, apply glue to the back of the mini popsicle stick and glue it to the top of the medium popsicle stick, leaving at least 1 cm at the top.
- Then, apply glue to the center of the large popsicle stick and glue it to the medium popsicle stick, at least an inch and a half below the mini popsicle stick.
- Once the structure is ready, ask your child to decorate the airplane ✈️ with the glitter and the stickers.
Bring Coloring Books
Coloring books 📚 is the classic way to engage your child in an activity during a flight. Surprise them with a coloring book on the flight itself, preferably a coloring book 📚 that features their favorite cartoon or movie characters or is based on their favorite books.
Get them an array of coloring options as well to make their experience even more delightful.
Plastic Bottle Airplane Craft
Ever since I became a parent, I have built a collection of plastic Coca-Cola bottles, but the great thing is that I can use them to make amazing crafts with my children; this is one of them.
What you need-
Plastic bottle, scissors ✂️, marker, colorful tape, and card stock paper.
- Ask your child to cover the plastic bottle with colorful tape.
- Using any color card stock paper, make two wings and a tail and cut it out with scissors ✂️. Glue the wings on two opposite sides of the bottle and the tail on top of the bottle, near its bottom.
- To make the airplane ✈️ propeller, make two fans from the cardstock paper and glue them to the bottle cap. Screw the bottle cap to the bottle once done, and the airplane ✈️ is ready.
If you use plain duct tape, you can ask your child to use a permanent marker to draw the windows of the airplane ✈️ and even draw some passengers.
Sweet Spinach Muffins
Spinach muffins are a quick and easy-to-make snack that can be packed for a flight. My kids 👪 absolutely love these muffins, which makes me super happy because they contain several nutritious foods in them.
What you need-
Spinach, banana, honey, eggs 🥚, baking soda, salt, milk 🥛, chocolate chips, butter, and whole wheat flour.
- In a blender, add honey, spinach, one egg 🥚, and melted butter. Blend until all the elements are well-blended.
- Add the flour, baking soda, and salt to the blender and stir until the ingredients are well combined.
- Use melted butter to grease a muffin tin and scoop the muffin batter.
- Bake in the oven at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for at least 15 to 20 minutes.
If you don’t want the muffins to be too sweet, you can substitute the banana 🍌 with Greek Yogurt or Avocado. You can also substitute spinach with other leafy greens like arugula and Swiss chard.
Paper and Straw Airplane
Teach your kids 👪 a different way to make a paper airplane ✈️ with this craft.
What you need-
Tape, card stock paper, paper straws, and scissors ✂️.
- Using the cardstock paper and scissors ✂️, cut paper strips of different widths.
- Loop these strips using tape.
- Using tape, secure the loops to the front and the back of the paper straw. Try out different configurations of the loops each time. For instance, two wide loops, one wide, one small loop, etc.
- Once your paper straw airplanes ✈️ are ready, ask your kids 👪 to write down their predictions of which paper straw would fly the furthest. Then, conduct the test.
I have traveled with my kids 👪 a few times now, and when they were young, I would bring their finger puppets with me on the flight. Both of my kids 👪 sat next to one another and created their own fantasy world before falling fast asleep.
Finger puppets are a great tool to unlock your child’s imagination and let them be creative with it. I highly recommend bringing a couple of finger puppets with you on your flight.
Cardboard Box Airplane For Toddlers
When my daughter was just a toddler, she loved playing with toy airplanes ✈️, so for her birthday, my partner and I decided to make her her very own cardboard box airplane ✈️.
What you need-
A cardboard box, duct tape, scissors ✂️, and a marker.
- Using the scissors, cut off the flaps on the top of the box.
- Draw a semi-circle on the two longer sides of the box and cut it with scissors ✂️.
- Use these dips to make the propellers of the airplane ✈️ by trimming its sides.
- Use the two longer flaps to make the side wings by cutting the round edges on each side.
- Round off the edges of one of the two small flaps and leave the other one as it is. Cut a slit near the bottom of the rounded flap and slide the other piece of cardboard through it. Glue it to the back of the airplane ✈️.
- Using the box cutter, cut a slit in the cardboard box under the dip. The slit should be as long as the base of the wing flaps. Do the same on the other side.
- To make the propeller, cut two small circles from any unused cardboard. Take one of these circles and paste the cardboard propellers into it. Then, glue the other circle on top. Secure the entire thing to the front of the box with glue and tape.
- Use a black marker or black paint 🎨 to draw features on the cardboard and smooth the edges.
Bring a Stickers Book
I don’t know about other toddlers, but when my kids 👪 were toddlers, they were endlessly entertained by stickers. So, on many plane rides, I have packed a new sticker book 📚 for them to play with and even learn at the same time.
I highly recommend packing a sticker book that helps your child identify different colors, shapes, and words.
Teach Your Kids About How Airplanes Work
Any child would be curious to figure out how airplanes ✈️ work. There are several videos available online that go into the mechanics of airplanes ✈️ in simple, digestible language for kids 👪.
I highly recommend showing these videos to your child if they are fearful of flying for the first time. It certainly helped alleviate some of my child’s anxieties before flying.
Did you know that hard-boiled eggs 🥚 are amazing for children and adults alike? Eggs 🥚 are a great source of healthy fats, protein, iron, iodine, and vitamins A, D, E, and B12. I highly recommend packing hard-boiled eggs 🥚 for your children for snack time.
Peel the hard-boiled eggs 🥚 before the flight.
Take Your Child Airplane Sighting
After traveling a couple of times in an airplane ✈️ and getting over his fear of flying, my son has taken it upon himself to educate himself about every model of an airplane ✈️. So, I decided to take him to an airplane sighting.
He loved spotting the airplanes, guessing the model, how many passengers it could hold, and where it was coming from and where it headed. I highly recommend taking your airplane-obsessed child to a similar sighting, as our experience was truly fascinating.
Pro tip- Pack a light snack while traveling, as you won’t find a convenience store near an airplane ✈️ sighting site.
Clothespin Airplane Craft
Your kids 👪 will love playing with this DIY airplane ✈️, which is super easy to make.
What you need-
Mini and medium popsicle sticks, paint 🎨, paintbrush 🖌️, glue, and a wooden clothespin.
- Ask your child to paint a wooden clothespin and the popsicle sticks in their favorite colors.
- Once the paint has dried, apply glue to the center of a mini popsicle stick and paste it on the wooden clothespin. Cut another mini popsicle stick in half and paste it on top of the first mini popsicle stick.
- Take two medium-sized popsicle sticks, apply glue to their center, and paste both of them in the front of the clothespin. Once the glue has dried, the airplane ✈️ is ready to be played with. Repeat the process for more airplanes ✈️.
Paper Kitchen Towel Rolls
This craft is not just super easy for toddlers and preschoolers but also helps you repurpose paper kitchen towel rolls 🧻 .
What you need-
Paper towel rolls 🧻, craft foam, glue, scissors ✂️, stickers, paint 🎨, and paintbrush.
- Ask your child to paint 🎨 two paper towel rolls 🧻 in any color they want. Let the paint 🎨 dry.
- Once the paint has dried, apply glue to the center of one of the paper towel rolls 🧻 and paste it on the other paper towel roll 🧻.
- Use the craft foam to make the tail of the airplane and let your child paint 🎨 it in any color they want. Paint the craft foam tail to the bottom of the airplane ✈️ body.
- Let your child decorate the paper tube airplane ✈️ with any crafts supplies.
Ask Your Child To Read Out Loud Books About Airplane
There are several great children’s books that teach your children about planes, plane etiquette, and facts about planes. I highly recommend reading the following books 📚 with your children- My Little Golden Book About Airplanes by Michael Joosten, Planes Board Book by Byron Barton, Amazing Airplanes by Ant Parker, I am Amelia Earhart by Brad Meltzer, and Where Do Jet Planes Sleep at Night? By Brianna Caplan Sayres.
Ask your child to read the book out loud, as it helps improve their spelling skills and pronunciation. It is advised to read the book 📚 with your child to guide them as they speak.
Airplane Sponge Painting Activity
Sponge painting is a fun way to engage your toddler and stimulate their senses.
What you need-
Kitchen sponge, pencil ✏️, paper plate, scissors ✂️, paint 🎨, construction paper, and paintbrush 🖌️.
- Draw an airplane✈️ with a pencil ✏️ on a kitchen sponge and cut it with scissors ✂️.
- Squirt some paint 🎨 on the paper plate and ask your child to dip the kitchen sponge in paint 🎨 and then stamp it on the construction paper. Let them continue the process with other shapes.
The activities and learning exercises listed above are meant not only to engage your child in a creative way but also to get them interested in the fascinating world of air travel and make them feel comfortable as they travel in an airplane ✈️.
Hopefully, your kids will be able to enjoy these activities and learn about airplanes ✈️. Let me know in the comments down below which activity or snack your children enjoyed the most.
I’m a former teacher with a background in child development and a passion for creating engaging and educational activities for children. I strongly understand child development and know how to create activities to help children learn and grow. Spare time, I enjoy spending time with my family, reading, and volunteering in my community.