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Top 10 Toys for Kids on Planes

Big Kid Judy Dutton Jul 29, 2014

My 2-year-old nearly got me kicked off a plane. The reason? She refused to sit in her seat during takeoff, and that was just takeoff. How would I survive the next five hours? Suffice to say, long plane flights with kids can shave years off a parent's life. Children just aren't designed to stay in the cramped confines of an airplane seat for hours, and even an endless stream of on-demand movies can only entertain for so long. That's why British Airways conducted a study on the best toys for plane trips with kids, placing 30 youngsters aged 2 to 10 on a flight with a selection of toys, then observing what happened. (Believe it or not, the iPad paled in comparison to more basic options.)

Here are the toys that occupied the kids for the longest amount of time.

10 toys for plane trips with kids

What toys do you bring on a plane for your kids?

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The possibilities are endless with Play-Doh: Kids can spend hours fashioning animals, cakes, and other shapes. Not sure how kindly the flight attendants will take to it ending up smushed into the floor, so just keep it contained to your kid's fold-down tray.

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2Loom Bands

Loom bands, colorful rubber strings that can be woven into bracelets, require hours of careful attention. And by the end, your kids have some jewelry to wear!

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Uno, that classic game where you try to whittle down the number of cards in your hand until you've got one left and can triumphantly shout "Uno!" provides the thrills of victory, the drama of defeat, and an insatiable itch to play over and over. Plus, cards are small and easy to pack.

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Legos, those amazing interlocking building blocks, are perfect for long trips because kids can build, tear down, and build again, over and over and over.

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Stickers are addictive for kids, and if you get a reusable sticker set in a book with backdrops, your little tykes can keep sticking and un-sticking them in various places to their heart's content.

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6Finger Puppets

With finger puppets, dozens of dramas can unfold, literally, at your kids' fingertips. They could even end up entertaining the passengers behind you, too.

Image via Myubam.com


7Trivia Cards

What's the largest animal? The smallest? The deadliest? Quiz or trivia cards on a range of topics from astronomy to Shakespeare can educate while they entertain for hours on end.

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8Doodling Devices

Drawing can distract kids for hours, and if you get a reusable erase-and-start-over device, you won't waste so much paper. The AquaDoodle is particularly genius because the pens are filled with water; that way, if the pen leaks or Junior decides to draw on the back of the plane seat, it's no big deal.

Image via Amazon.com

9Magnetic Travel Games

Chess, checkers, Scrabble, Bingo ... board games can eat up huge swaths of time. Plus, magnetic versions will keep the pieces from sliding -- crucial for bumpy rides or shifting laps.

Image via TopTrumps.us


10Top Trump Cards

Combine trivia cards with the thrill of winning, and you've got Top Trumps -- a British card game gaining popularity in the U.S. that comes in various topics from cars to dinosaurs. Players pick a category on the card -- i.e., top speed or engine size for cars -- and whoever holds the car of superior speed or engine size wins the other players' cards. Whoever ends up with the most cards wins; plus, everyone comes away a bit smarter.


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