Before our big trip, I solicited a few friends’ advice for the plane ride. One friend suggested that I buy some new toys just for the plane, another suggested that I hide her favorite ones for about two weeks so that they are novel when she sees them again, a third friend suggested we download special apps on our iPod touch, and yet another suggested that along with all the toys I take a new Sippy cup and snack container so that they seem special and novel too. When I finally finished packing the toy bag with all their recommendations, it was huge! Would she really require all this stuff? After much discussion, my husband and I decided that we would rather be safe than sorry, so it all came. I felt ready for any airport delay they would throw at us.

Once we were situated in our seats and our daughter finished rifling through the seat pockets and opening and closing the window the pilot came on the intercom to let us know we would be slightly delayed in departure because they needed to change a tire on the plane. In a way I was excited about the delay. I could test out all the treasures we had in the toy bag. To our surprise, the biggest hit was a Ziploc bag. I had separated toys into Ziplocs to keep everything organized and easy to grab. She thoroughly enjoyed taking the contents out, and then putting them back in. We showed her how to zip the bag and that added an extra 10 minutes of entertainment! Before we knew it we were at our destination. The four-hour fight seemed short and was very much enjoyable. So, while I don’t regret having all the toys we took (since each and every one was used) I highly recommend taking a few extra Ziploc bags!

If you are planning on flying or taking a long car drive, here is a list of items you might want to add to your “toy bag.” Remember that I recommend that each bulleted item be placed in it’s own Ziploc bag for convenience and organizational purposes:

-       Toddler crayons and a small unlined drawing pad

-       Silly putty, play dough or other “no mess” dough

-       Different sized and colored binder clips

-       Different colored balloons (she liked to play with them deflated too!)

-       Mini hour glass

-       Matchbox cars

-       Finger puppet

-       3-D puzzle

-       Action figures or farm animal figurines

-       Colored pipe cleaners

-       Six or more beaded bracelets on stretch string

-       Clacker ball

-       Keys

-       Make your own jewelry kit (I got one with sting like a shoelace, which was really easy to thread through the big beads. Plus, she enjoyed moving the beads into all the different containers)

-       Small etch-a-sketch (we took a teeny one – the kind on a key chain)

-       Empty plastic Easter eggs – the kind that open (several sizes and colors)

-       Two or three books of a genre you know your child would like (we took non-fiction animal books so we could practice identification, counting and sounds)

-       One small light up toy with volume control

-       Flashy dollar store jewelry

-       Empty seven day pill container (opening and closing those little lids was VERY entertaining)

-       Silly bands

-       Small stacker toy

-       Fancy water bottle

-       Fancy snack dispenser

-       Wipes

-       Hand sanitizer

In case you get stuck in the terminal, miss your flight or have a really long lay over, we found these to be really helpful to get some of that excess energy out:

-       Chinese jump rope

-       Jump rope

-       A small inflatable ball

-       A soft ball

-       Cars

-       Toy airplane or helicopter for comparison games

-       Jacks

-       Yo-yo (especially one that lights up)

While these toys could be used with the kids, it is important to entertain the adults as well while the kids are asleep (that is if you aren’t sleeping too):

-       iPod touch (for my 16 month old we downloaded: WOOO! Button; flash cards: ABC animals, iTot Cards, Baby flash cards, Animal fun and Farm sounds; fish school; some book games: Bus, Itsy Bitsy, 3 Pigs, Miss Spider; Talking Tom and Shapes)

-       Pick-up sticks

-       Travel board game like Connect Four

-       Deck of cards

-       Good book or magazine