Quiet travel toys – Reader Q&A

Quiet BookDo you have any suggestions for fun, quiet and small toys for a looooong flight/travel day for a 2yo and a 4yo, both boys? Would love to hear your suggestions! Thanks!  -Brave mama, Melissa. 

Crayons and blank paper, activity books, and coloring books are always mainstays for travel. I’m also a big fan of “grab bags” where you put a bunch of cool little goodies in a bag and “surprise” the kids with something new every few hours (or minutes if it’s that kind of day).

Some other ideas:

If you’re a bit crafty, check out this PDF for making a Star Wars-inspired Quiet Book (shown at top) Though the end result is oh-my-goodness cute, it is listed as a “Beginner level” craft so  it should be doable for most of us. Or just search “quiet book” on Etsy and you’ll find lots of options, including pre-made books if you just want one to grab and go. 
ispy bags
I Spy Bags are really fun for even the youngest child to play with as they look for the items listed on the attached card—plus it will keep their hands busy and not touching every button and knob on the plane. We like the design of this Dino Dudes Bag from Emmie’s Designs though she has loads of different styles in case you want to get one for each child.
Construction Magnets

Depending on how responsible your boys are around magnets, I like the looks of this Construction Magnetic Design Set from Mudpuppy. Since the magnets will stick to either the cards or the storage tin, there is less chance of little pieces going everywhere. But this toy is for kids 6+, so it is probably safer to use during the youngest’s naptime, and again, only if you are sure your child won’t try to put the magnets in his mouth.
eeboo lacing cards

Like so many mamas, we are big fans of eeboo and they have loads of easy-to-carry card games, tray puzzles and other toys on the eebo website. Check out the Things That Go Lacing Cards which are great for hand-eye coordination and can be played with again and again. 
Cubebot wooden robot

The Cubebot Wooden Robot Toy is fun (though a little pricey) but you can do lots of cool stuff with him. The age is a bit advanced, so maybe you can help “transform” him and let the boys make up a story of his adventures. Another wonderful option is a set of Tegu blocks which kids can play with for hours, and now come in a travel version with their own carrying case.
Check out our Travel Essentials posts for even more great ideas, as well as this post about flying with toddlers. And good luck!


Senior Associate Editor Christina Refford loves homeschooling, running, cool kids’ music, and coffee. Not in that order.


  • Reply July 9, 2011


    I had a friend who would go to the dollar store before the trip and buy one new toy for each 1/2 hr of the trip (per kid) and wrap them individually like presents. Then she would give them the gifts every 1/2 hr during the flight.

  • Reply July 9, 2011


    I would like to add stickers and Bendaroos/Wikki Stix to that great list.

  • Reply July 9, 2011


    For a long flight a roll of masking tape can offer hours of fun. We make stickers by drawing on the tape, tape chains by looping the tape, we hang things on the seat and the window. For some reason, this is very very fun. I also download cartoons from iTunes on my iPhone, which will not hold a toddler for a whole trip, but can buy you 20 minutes at a time. Plus plenty of snacks, treats, etc. to eat and to bribe :-)

  • Reply July 9, 2011


    This right here is our best tool for car rides! http://www.amazon.com/1001-Animals-Spot-Things/dp/0794527043/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1310266207&sr=1-1 they look for animals, count them, talk about the different scenes, it’s very cooperative and they help each other find things if they’re stuck, it is just wonderful.

  • Reply July 10, 2011


    I find that books are a great way to keep my kids entertained during a long car ride. I always try to buy a few new books they haven’t read yet and this way it isn’t a big mess but is still something they are interested in.

  • Reply July 10, 2011

    Gina Wilson

    I had the same problem with my two young sons, so I just created a company called Packed 4 Fun http://www.packed4fun.com that sells small, clear children’s backpacks filled with small toys and activities to keep children busy and help Leave Boredom Behind!

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