Best Airplane Toys For One Year Old Toddlers (2023)

By parentintel
best airplane toys for one year old toddlers

As a dad to three energetic boys, I know the struggle of long flights all too well. Remembering our first long-haul flight with the oldest to New York, the memory of juggling pacifiers, bottles, and a seemingly endless supply of wipes still brings a chuckle. But, the game changed when we discovered the magic of travel-friendly toys. Picking the right ones can be the difference between a peaceful plane ride and one filled with countless cries and seat-kicking.

In this article, you’ll discover some of my favourite travel toys that have been tried and tested by my own trio. We’ll explore toys with different textures to engage sensory curiosity, ones that foster imaginative play, and even options that are perfect for a hotel room stay post-flight. So, buckle up and let’s get started on making your next travel experience with your year-old as smooth as possible!

The Best Airplane Toys for 1-Year-Olds

When it comes to travelling with young toddlers, especially on long flights, having the right toys in your travel bag can make a world of difference. As a family, we’ve been on several flights together and we’ve tried countless options to identify the best airplane toys that are both engaging and suitable for 1-year-olds. Here’s a breakdown:

Criteria for Selecting Airplane Toys:

  • Safety: The toy shouldn’t contain any small parts that can pose a choking hazard to small children.
  • Entertainment Value: It’s crucial that the toy can hold a young child’s attention for extended periods, especially on long-haul flights.
  • Ease of Use: For young toddlers, it’s essential that the toy be intuitive and not overly complicated.
  • Size: The perfect travel toys are compact, making them easy to pack and carry.
  • Noise Level: On a plane, we don’t want toys that are too loud and might disturb other passengers.

Top 5 Airplane Toys:

  1. Sensory Toys with Different Textures:
Tuko Silicone Pull String Toy for airplanes
  • Description: Toys designed with varied textures to stimulate tactile senses.
  • Benefits: Promotes fine motor skills and keeps little hands busy.
  • Potential Downsides: Ensure they’re easy to clean, as they’ll likely spend a lot of time in your child’s mouth.
  • Our Favourite Sensory Toy: Tuko Silicone Pull String Toy these are fantastic. They come with poppit bubbles, silicone strings to be pulled and moved, and free-moving discs to play with. With lots of textures and colours, it is a great toy to keep your little one entertained and stimulated on the plane.

Check out the Tuko Silicone Pull String Toy Here.

  1. Busy Boards:
  • Description: Boards featuring zippers, buttons, and other everyday items.
  • Benefits: Enhances hand-eye coordination and keeps children engaged.
  • Potential Downsides: Some boards may be bulkier than others.
  • Our Top Busy Board Pick: Esjay Toddler Busy Board has been awarded with Amazon’s top choice and we were gifted one for our second on a trip. Instead of a traditional board, this folds up into a book with each new page having a different set of items to play with. Each page can then be zipped out from the book which makes it an excellent choice if you have more than one kid like us.
Esjay Toddler Busy Board Montessori Toy for Airplane Travel

Check out the Esjay Toddler Busy Board on Amazon.

  1. Reusable Sticker Books:
  • Description: Books filled with stickers that can be peeled off and repositioned.
  • Benefits: Fosters imaginative play and is mess-free.
  • Potential Downsides: Stickers may lose stickiness over time.
  • Our Top Reusable Sticker Book: Melissa & Doug make fantastic products across their entire product line and their reusable sticker books are no different. They have a range of reusable sticker books including farms, habitats, fairies, and prehistoric. The books are great, there are more than 150+ stickers in the book to be put on 5 different backgrounds. They are beautiful books and are sure to provide a ton of entertainment for your flight.
Melissa and Doug Reusable Sticker Pad: Habitats

Buy the Mellissa & Doug Reusable Sticker Books on Amazon.

  1. Soft Teething Toys:
  • Description: Toys made of soft, chewable material, often featuring different shapes and textures.
  • Benefits: Dual purpose of entertainment and soothing teething discomfort.
  • Potential Downsides: Needs regular cleaning, especially after being dropped.
  • Our Favourite Soft Teething Toy: Skip Hop makes an awesome elephant stuffy teething toy. It’s put together with a bunch of different textures and has teething rings and a teething toy attached to one arm. Small warning, this one does crinkle a bit but the noise isn’t too bad and is certainly better than your teething baby crying.
Skip Hop Bandana Buddies Baby Activity and Teething Toy

Check out the Skip Hop Elephant Teething Toy here.

  1. Quiet Books:
  • Description: Cloth books filled with small activities on each page.
  • Benefits: Engages young children in different activities, promoting both fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.
  • Potential Downsides: Some pages might have detachable parts to watch out for.
  • Our Favourite Book: Our kids loved the Touch & Feel Wild Animals book. Each book is beautifully illustrated with lots of bright colours. But what makes this book different from other kids’ board books is the texture to feel on each page. Our kids loved this part of the book and kept them entertained for many book readings.
Wild Animals - A Touch and Feel Book - Children's Board Book

Check out the touch-and-feel board book on Amazon.

Remember, the best toys are those that your child finds interesting, so always consider their preferences. Safe travels, and may your flights be as smooth as your little one’s playtime!

How to Keep a One-Year-Old Entertained on a Plane

How to Keep a One-Year-Old Entertained on a Plane

As a seasoned traveller and parent of three, I’ve picked up a few tricks along the way. Travelling, especially on long flights, with a one-year-old can be a mix of excitement and trepidation. Here’s my guide to ensuring smooth skies and happy landings.

Engaging Their Senses:

One-year-olds are naturally curious, and their senses are their primary mode of exploration. Catering to this can be your best strategy on a plane.

  • Colourful Toys: Bright toys, preferably with vibrant colours, can captivate a child’s attention. Little kids are drawn to colours, and toys that come in various hues can be both entertaining and educational. The distinction between different colours can provide a subtle learning experience.
  • Soft Music: While you don’t want to disturb fellow passengers, a pair of baby-friendly headphones and some gentle tunes or nursery rhymes can soothe an irritable toddler. Music is a great way to keep young ears engaged and can be especially helpful during takeoff or landing.
  • Texture-rich Toys: Toys with different textures stimulate tactile senses. This can range from soft plush toys to those with crinkly materials or even sensory toys designed specifically for tactile exploration. Such toys not only entertain but also promote fine motor skills as little hands explore various surfaces.

Interactive Activities:

Active participation can bridge the gap between boredom and entertainment, making time fly by.

  • Peek-a-boo: It’s a classic for a reason. This simple game can be played using a blanket or even the airplane’s complimentary napkin. It elicits giggles and keeps young toddlers engaged.
  • Singing Lullabies: Softly singing their favourite lullabies can be comforting. It’s a familiar sound in an unfamiliar environment. If you’re not keen on singing aloud, whispering the lyrics or humming can work just as well.
  • Simple Conversation: Talk to your child about what you see outside the window or describe the plane’s environment. While they might not understand everything, the sound of your voice is reassuring, and it aids in their language development.

The Power of Snacks:
Never underestimate the power of a timely snack!

  • Healthy Options: Pack some baby-friendly snacks like rice cakes, fruit pieces, or yogurt drops. Opting for snacks that take time to eat, like raisins or small-cut fruits, can keep them occupied longer.
  • Safe Snack Options: Ensure the snacks are appropriate for their age to avoid choking hazards. Also, remember to offer drinks or snacks during takeoff and landing to help with ear pressure.

By leveraging these strategies, your flight can be more peaceful and enjoyable for both you and your one-year-old. Happy travelling!

DIY Airplane Toys for 1-Year-Old

Travelling with little kids can sometimes mean forgetting that one essential toy or needing something new to reignite their interest. Fortunately, with a bit of creativity, you can craft simple DIY toys that not only save the day but are also tailored to your child’s preferences. Here are some DIY airplane toy ideas perfect for 1-year-olds.

Safety First

Before diving into the DIY realm, safety should be our utmost priority. Ensure there are no small parts that can be detached and swallowed. All materials should be non-toxic, and the edges should be smooth to prevent any injury. Regularly inspect these homemade toys to make sure they remain safe for little hands to play with.

Simple DIY Ideas:

Soft Fabric Books:

How To Make One: Use different textures of fabric to create a small book. Add crinkly material between pages for an added sensory experience.

Why It’s Great: Soft fabric books offer tactile stimulation and promote fine motor skills as young toddlers flip through the pages. Moreover, it introduces them to the concept of books at an early age.

DIY Sensory Bottles:

How To Make One: Fill clear plastic bottles with colourful items like beads, glitter, or small foam shapes. Seal the bottle cap securely with glue.

Why It’s Great: Sensory bottles capture a child’s attention with their vibrant colours and the movement of items inside. It’s a visual delight and can be an effective calming tool when they get restless.

Homemade Rattles:

How To Make One: Use a small container, like a clean plastic egg from Easter egg sets, and fill it with rice or dried beans. Ensure it’s sealed tightly.

Why It’s Great: The sound created by the homemade rattle can engage a child’s auditory senses. It’s also an excellent tool for enhancing hand-eye coordination as they learn to shake it rhythmically.

These DIY toys not only offer a personalized touch but are also an easy way to ensure your child has unique toys that cater to their interests. With a little effort and creativity, the skies can be much friendlier for both parent and child. Safe travels!

Other Airplane Activities for a 1-Year-Old

Airplane journeys can be quite the adventure for young toddlers, but keeping them engaged for the duration of the flight can be challenging. Beyond toys, there are other activities that can captivate their attention and make the plane ride smoother for both of you. Here’s a list of some engaging airplane activities for 1-year-olds:

Interactive Books:

Melissa & Doug Soft Activity Baby Book - The Wonderful World of Peekaboo! - Lift The Flap Busy Book For Toddlers
  • Touch-and-Feel Books: These books are designed with different textures on each page, ranging from furry animals to smooth or shiny surfaces. For little kids, every page is a new tactile adventure, stimulating their sense of touch and keeping them engaged.
  • Lift-the-Flap Books: The element of surprise with lift-the-flap books can be utterly delightful for 1-year-olds. Each flap unveils a new image or part of the story, making it interactive and fun. It’s a great way to foster both curiosity and hand-eye coordination.

Sticker Activities:

  • Large, Baby-Safe Stickers: Opt for bigger stickers that are easy for little hands to grasp. Let them stick and re-stick these onto paper, their tray table, or even on the airplane’s window. It’s a simple yet effective activity to enhance their fine motor skills. And the best part? The joy they find in such a simple activity can be infectious.

Quiet Games:

  • “Where’s the Toy?”: Hide a toy under a blanket or napkin and encourage your toddler to find it. The anticipation and the reveal can elicit giggles and keep them entertained.
  • Finger Play: Use your fingers for tickling games or even simple finger puppet shows. Songs like “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” or “Where is Thumbkin?” can be accompanied by corresponding hand movements.
  • Window Wonders: If you have a window seat, showing them the outside views can be fascinating. Whether it’s the clouds, the ground below, or just the wing of the plane, the moving scenery can hold their attention for quite some time.

Having a mix of toys and these activities up your sleeve ensures that you’re well-prepared to keep your young toddler entertained, making the flight enjoyable for both of you. With the right tools and activities, the skies are indeed friendly! Safe travels!

Packaging and Storage Tips for airplane travel with one year old

Packaging and Storage Tips

Every parent knows the importance of being prepared, especially when embarking on a journey with a young toddler. Long flights can test your little one’s patience, and having their favourite toys at arm’s reach can be a lifesaver. But how do you ensure everything is neatly packed yet easily accessible? Here are some practical tips for packaging and storing your child’s toys for a flight:

  1. Compartmentalize: Invest in travel organizers or zippered pouches to categorize toys. For instance, keep all sensory toys in one pouch, books in another, and snacks in a separate one. This not only makes it easier to find what you need but also prevents the toys from becoming jumbled together.
  2. Opt for Multi-functional Toys: Toys that offer different activities but take up minimal space are your best allies. For example, busy boards or toys with different textures and movable parts can keep a child engaged in various ways, all while conserving space.
  3. Prioritize Accessibility: While it’s tempting to cram everything into your main luggage, keep a separate, smaller bag or backpack for your child’s essentials. This ensures that during the flight, everything is within reach without having to rummage through the overhead compartment.
  4. Limit Quantity: While variety is essential, you don’t need to pack every single toy. Choose versatile toys that can entertain in multiple ways and rotate them during the flight to keep things fresh.
  5. Use Clear Bags: Transparent storage bags can be a game-changer. They allow you to quickly identify what’s inside, reducing the time spent searching for that one particular toy your child suddenly wants.
  6. Stay Ready for Spills: Given that accidents are bound to happen, especially with little kids, keep a small pack of wet wipes in an easily accessible pocket. This ensures a quick cleanup, whether it’s for spilled snacks or a toy that’s landed on the airplane floor.
  7. Remember the Essentials: Beyond toys, ensure that other essentials like an extra set of clothes, diapers, and baby wipes are also within reach. A separate compartment or pouch for these items can make diaper changes or unexpected messes manageable.

By keeping everything organized and accessible, not only will the flight be smoother, but you’ll also feel more at ease knowing that you have everything you need to keep your young toddler entertained and comfortable. Safe travels and happy packing!

Considerations When Buying or Making Airplane Toys

Taking a flight with a one-year-old can be a unique experience filled with both wonder and challenges. Toys can be your best ally in this adventure, but choosing the right ones is essential. Whether you’re looking to buy or craft your own airplane toys, here are some vital considerations to ensure a smooth and enjoyable flight:

Age Appropriateness:

  • It’s imperative to ensure that any toy you choose is suitable for a 1-year-old. At this age, toddlers are still exploring the world around them, often using their mouths. The toy should match their developmental stage, providing the right balance between challenge and entertainment.
  • Toys that are too advanced might frustrate them, while overly simple ones could lead to quick boredom. Opt for toys that stimulate their curiosity and can grow with them for at least a few months.


  • One of the most critical factors is the safety of the toy. Little kids are notorious for putting everything in their mouths, so checking for small parts that could pose a choking hazard is essential.
  • Ensure there are no sharp edges or points that could injure them. Even soft toys should be inspected for any parts that might come off easily, like button eyes or other adornments.
  • For both store-bought and homemade toys, be cautious of the materials used. They should be non-toxic and free from harmful chemicals or dyes, especially if your child is likely to chew on them.


  • The primary purpose of bringing toys on a plane is to keep your child entertained during the flight. Consider how long the toy can realistically captivate your child’s attention.
  • Multi-functional toys, like busy boards or toys with different textures, can be particularly engaging as they offer varied modes of play.
  • It’s also worth thinking about the toy’s longevity. Will it only be interesting to your child for this flight, or is it versatile enough to be used on future trips or even at home?

While the perfect toy can make airplane travel with a one-year-old much more manageable, it’s crucial to choose toys that are age-appropriate, safe, and engaging. By keeping these considerations in mind, you can ensure a more relaxed and enjoyable journey for both you and your little one. Safe travels!

Wrapping Up The Best Airplane Toys For 1 Year Olds

Embarking on a journey with a one-year-old, especially on long flights, introduces a set of challenges unique to their developmental stage. With their innate curiosity and boundless energy, the right set of toys and activities can make a world of difference. Prioritizing safety, ensuring age appropriateness, and focusing on toys that provide lasting engagement are pivotal in making the skies friendly for both parent and child. As you navigate the world of travel toys, always consider the fine motor skills they promote, the imaginative play they encourage, and the problem-solving skills they nurture. Whether you’re prepping for a road trip, a plane ride, or a stay in a hotel room, being equipped with the best toys and activities ensures a smoother and more enjoyable experience for everyone involved. Here’s to many more adventures filled with wonder, exploration, and of course, fun! Safe travels to you and your little explorer.

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