Hi! Japanese Illustrator Mom, Koko here!
Since my son, Z is born, I have flown back and forth between Europe and Japan,
so I have a quiet experience of long haul flight with kids.
Having “good toys” is key to have a successful long flight with kids.
I am going to share my tips and advice, and have listed ” WIN toys” here. I hope this post helps you!
Successful Toys that Kept him Busy
Here I am going to list toys that were a hit. It worked for my son, I entertained him mostly the +10 hours flights. I don’t have that many advice for girls, unfortunately, but some are unisex so it’s a worth check for you!
1~2 year old
Those age was the most difficult to keep entertaining, when I look back! 😅
Here are some toys I bought for Z and enjoyed:
It’s simple and beautiful toy to play.
2. Gel Stickers
This is GOLD. Z still enjoys it when he was 1.5 year old, and up to 4 year old, today. I strongly recommend you to buy some! They are re-usable for multiple times! Z liked this one A LOT.
For girls, something like this will be nice.
Other than sticking them onto window, your kids can stick them to glasses (if you wear them). Note, that those stickers stick dust, so if you keep using them it will eventually won’t be sticky. Always keep the plastic sheet that came with, because you will need them when you’re packing stickers back – you will place them back to the plastic.
If the airplane seat has black leather, you can see a beautiful reflection, which my son was amazed by. The picture is when he was 3 year old, but this gel stickers are enjoyable from 1-2year old kids + ! Definitely a must have item.
Looks pretty cool with clouds background!
3. Weird Animal Creatures
buy some weird looking bug, and play that it’s coming to get your kid. Z loved it, and it kept him smile and happy for a while. Give personality to the bug, maybe it’s a shy bug who wants to be friends with your kid. Make a story, be fun, you can kill some time for that! How about these crazy (but somehow adorable!?) creatures!?
4. LED light portable Fan
Amazing toy that we could kill 45 minus with just this toy, with Z. Actually this is the one that we bought for him. It has lasted for years for us.
Alternative choice wise, this one looks pretty popular too.
5. Cute Animal Set
Kids also like cute animals too, after weird creatures … lol They are squishy and fun to play with.
3 year old~
6. “Water” coloring book
This is a genius idea. You only use water – kids can paint! No Mess paint activity!
7. Sticker Activity books
Kids simply like to peel stickers and place them.
8. Airline Model
It’s a double fun for kids, to play with airplane when they are actually IN the airplane! Be careful, some are heavy materials. I think they are made with steel?? some sort …. try to buy plastic, it’s light so easier for kids to hold and play “flying”. Also, it’s cheaper! Try to find the actual airline company’s that you’re flying with for a kick ☺️ *Always be careful with Choking Hazards. Some planes come with small parts.
9. Miniature Cars
If your kids like cars then you must buy a few. Remember, always buy NEW cars that he hasn’t seen! Buying some brand new toys for a long flight is important in order to keep kids entertained!
Kids enjoy gel stickers to the airplane window!
4 year old~
This one comes with smaller containers. You can pick some colors and pack.
note: Be careful with Slime. It’s liquid base and I can’t guarantee that you will pass the airport security. In Japan or Scandinavia, less than 100ml (3.4 oz) is passable. But please do double check with the airport that you’re going to use. I wouldn’t risk it, it’s too sad to see kids’ favorite Slime to be tossing away – so I’d pack in a suitcase.
11.Car Assembling Kit
At this age kids start to like to building stuff. I bought some small package of blocks that he can build, as a car. Big Hits! Again, they don’t have to be expensive – buy no brands, kids won’t care too much as long as they can enjoy building. I bought some none-brand for $4 from grocery stores. You can find some cheap LEGO set as well.
12. Airplane model with jet sound
My son has airplane model from All Nippon Airways, with jet engine. The sound actually merges with real jet engine sound during the flight, so it is not too annoying for other passengers. This one even has LED light on, I hope your kids will enjoy this model!
This is a All Nippon Airways model that Z owns. It has a jet sound, and he thought it was very funny that we flew with ANA, when he had the ANA model on his laps
13. Picture Books (ghost, bugs, )
This may be a culture thing, but Japanese kids tend to like Ghost Stories. Not gory ghost, but a cute, charming ghost stories. I bought some Japanese Ghost Story Books (yup, Kid-friendly) and he enjoyed reading with me.
Yup, still at this age, Z likes Gel Stickers!
Key Points. What kind of toys are good?
Simply: No Mess, No Loud, No “Fat”. What do I mean?
Toys that don’t make too much of noise!
Airplane is quite noisy. Some noise can be washed away with jet engine, but high tone noise is hearable.
It’s safe to buy toys that don’t make a noise.
Toys that are new.
If you want to entertain your kids, (if you want him to be quiet), then give new toys. Bringing his favorite toys is good, but there is a high chance that kids get bored faster.
I know it’s costly! 🥺 – but when I travel with my son, I gave up that there is no cheap way of traveling. It’s a fact, that kids traveling usually cost more money. I suck it up and buy some (cheap) new toys. They don’t have to be fancy and expensive, just something new!
No Fat Toys.
I am not talking about eating fatty and get fat. Here, I am talking about – you want to get toy that are packed “thinely”.
If a box is too thick, it’s not going to be easy to pack with other stuff. You will have to carry many other items other than toys, so let’s try to choose toys that are packing-friendly. 😄
A Secret Tip (that nobody think of)
It sounds silly and pain in the butt, but if you have time I recommend you to wrap some toys, nicely like Christmas Presents!
Why? There are 2 reasons.
Kids like Presents & Unboxing
All the kids like presents!
You can buy time
When you are flying all you want is : your kids stay happy and quiet, right?
You have limited toys to give. The flight is long …. so for kids to unwrap the wrapping paper, means you can buy some time! Make some awesome, exciting wrapping and WOW kids.
Check out this Video from Danish DIY store, Sostrene Grene! They have tons of fun wrapping ideas.✌️
Hope this post helped!
Going to Japan with Kids? Make sure to read my other advice of Japan Tokyo Trip!
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