When your baby is still an infant, flying is mainly about keeping them comfortable enough to sleep, since they aren’t old enough to stay up long stretches anyways. As they get older though, you’ll need to find some age appropriate toys that can be brought along.
It took a bit of trial and error to figure out which were the best baby toys to keep our kids happy on the move. Not only do the toys have to be stimulating for your baby, but they also have to fit in a carry on (or a stuffed car), and it can’t be anything that gets lost too easily.
The best travel toys for babies also won’t make to much noise, you don’t want to piss off your neighbors on the airplane, or get a headache from listening to things on repeat in the car.
With that in mind, we’ve rounded up some of the best baby travel toys on the market. A few of them are better road trip toys, and a few are really mean to be a baby airplane toy, but for the most part the toys are great no matter how you plan to travel.
If you find that these toys are too young for you child, try checking out our roundup of the best travel toys for toddlers.
The Best Baby Travel Toys
One of the best toys for young babies are soft books. They can’t tear out the pages, or bang them against tables, or hit anyone in the head with them. Every page brings something new for your baby to explore.
Especially if you choose one of the options below, the books have stimulating additions, like different textures to feel, or to crinkle.
The Big Early Learning Basic Life Skills Book, is another good one. This one is filled with learning and coordination activities, from closing buckles, to pull down flaps, zippers and more. You can check it out here.
Lamaze toys are great because they are comforting, interactive, and great for teething. The Freddie the Firefly toys is especially popular with babies.
They have a specific teething piece attached and different textures in different parts of the toy. The different textures are great for both for feeling and hearing the differences.
It also comes with a small mirror, which most babies find incredibly engaging. The toys all come with a hook so you can connect it to the diaper bag or car seat so it doesn’t get easily lost.
Another similar option to the Lamaze toys are Bandana buddies which have most of the same features. You can check them out here.
Suction Toys (Best Airplane Toys)
This one is more geared towards airplanes, but they really can be fun any time. Though originally created with highchairs in mind, toys with suction cups on the bottom make the best baby toys for airplane travel.
Suction it to the tray table and you are good to go. There wont be any losing these toys under seats and in the aisles.
You can get suction activity toys that give your kids fun things to look at, turn and explore. Check it out here.
You can also get this one that is a suction cup that you can attach up to three regular toys to. When you are not using it, it turns nicely into a key chain that can be attached to your diaper bag or other convenient places. Check it out here.
These squishy stress balls are great for keeping babies occupied for long stretches. They love feeling the weird textures while they squish, squeeze and pull, reshaping the ball.
As a bonus, these are also functioning stress balls you can use, if flying with a baby is giving you anxiety.
The only thing with these is that you’ll want to make sure to watch that your child doesn’t bite on it. It can be unsafe if they burst it open with their teeth.
Toys that serve multiple purposes is always a bonus when you need everything to fit into one bag. These caterpillar stacking cups are so versatile and can be played with in so many ways.
Link them together and you have a bright, colorful caterpillar toy, or separate them for your baby to practice their stacking skills. My kids always used to love putting things inside other things, so you can bring some cotton balls or small toys to sort into the cups, or even use found things on the airplane, like napkins.
They also make a great toy for when you arrive at their destination. Play with them in the bath, pool, or sand! Check prices on stacking cups here.
Dimpl Baby Toys
This Dimpl baby toy is an incredibly simple concept, that babies absolutely adore. It’s a plastic frame that features five brightly colored silicone bubbles.
Babies and toddlers have been known to spend ages popping the bubbles back and forth. It’s great for their fine motor skills and sensory exploration, and it is made from food grade silicone so it’s safe to chew on.
The best part is that it’s small and easy to bring along on your trip! Check out the Fat Brain Dimpl toy here.
Shape sorters are always fun for babies and absolutely great for sensory learning. They learn shapes and visual spacial skills from trying to maneuver the correct shapes into the correct holes.
This travel version of a classic shape sorter by Melissa and Doug comes in a smaller, softer container then the regular ones. The sides are made from padding so it can be fit into small bags.
As a bonus, it has lift up flaps on the bottom with pictures of real object that take the shapes the are sorting, to help your kids make the connection and add some extra fun! You can check out the Melissa and Doug shape sorter here.
Alternatively, you can check out this awesome version of a shape sorter, that will be especially great if your baby love to throw things. The shapes are attached to the cube so they can’t get lost on the ground. Check it out here.
Baby Teething Toys
This one might be a given but it needs to be said. No one wants to be trapped in a car or an airplane with a screaming baby, so it’s important to be prepared for everything.
Even if your child wasn’t teething today, he/she may start tomorrow, so it’s always good to have a teething toy on hand. Some of the toys I mentioned above can double as a teething toy but it never hurts to have an extra one on hand since they are so small anyways.
If you don’t already have teething toys at home, this Mombella one comes highly recommended. Babies love it and it’s really easy for them to hold. Check it out here.
Baby and Infant Car Seat Toys (Baby Car Entertainment)
This one is obviously for road trips but if you plan on bringing a car seat on board the plane, it could work for that as well.
The Toe Time infant car seat toy is especially loved by mums and babies. It has lots of different options for playing, with the bottom playing music whenever your baby kicks it, hanging toys for grabbing, and a mirror for you baby to enjoy her own reflection in.
It comes with adjustable straps as well, so you should be able to adjust it so that it doesn’t interfere with your backseat mirror and so that your child can reach all the toys.
If you are sensitive to noise and your child kicks a lot, you may want to take the batteries out before a long car journey so you the endless music doesn’t wear you down.
Another great option is a car seat spiral toy. These toys wind around car seats carry handle and have fun toys hanging down.
These are great because there is little to no way to lose them in transit. As a bonus, when you aren’t on the road you can also use it on your stroller or crib bars. Buy a spiral car seat toy here.
Sassy Developmental Bumpy Ball – Baby Ball Toy
The Sassy Developmental Bumpy ball makes a great engaging toy for babies. The bright colors and bold patterns are great for your baby’s developing vision. The chunky bumps all over the ball encourage you baby to reach grasp and transfer the ball from one hand to the other.
The different bumps on the ball are also made from different textures and materials, variety which will help keep your baby’s attention longer. One of the bumps also have some small beads in it which creates a gentle rattle.
Finger puppets are small, easy to pack and lots of fun. My kids loved putting them on their own fingers, as well as watching us put them on and play around.
You can get a set of them, and take them out a few at a time, letting your baby learn about the different animals. Plus it’s like a whole new toy every time you take a new one out. Buy a set of finger puppets here.
Having new, stimulating toys is essential for keeping your baby occupied for long stretches of time. However, it’s also essential to have a few familiar, comforting objects along with you.
Many babies get uncomfortable or overstimulated when taken from their routines, familiar smells, sounds and sites. They adjust quickly but if you want your child to be able to settle down and go to sleep, it’s very helpful to have a familiar toy, lovey or blanket along.
The familiar sight and smell of the toy will go a long way in calming them down, particularly if you have an overnight flight.
Cups, Napkins, and Found Objects
If all else fails, we’ve created hours of fun with found object on the plane like cups and napkins. My kids used to love crushing plastic cups, chewing on them, and throwing them.
Many babies also find the window shade absolutely fascinating. Once they start crawling, everyone and everything on the plane is potential entertainment, just beware that they aren’t grabbing anything they shouldn’t!
If they need some time to crawl around and get some energy out, try asking a flight attendant if there is a place that you can take up some space. Very often, if they aren’t in the middle of a meal service, they are happy to let your baby crawl around in the back of the plane.
Obviously, at this age it’s not ideal for you baby to be watching videos. However, if you’ve got a particularly fussy baby and you are stressed about the plane ride, having downloaded kids videos can be a lifesaver.
Make sure to bring a tablet or your phone with some downloaded videos. You’ll have to keep the volume down, but even without sound, brightly colored cartoons are often enough to calm babies down.
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