What I Packed in my Toddler’s Carry-On 16

Pooky and I travel a lot, and since she turned two, I now have to buy her a seat on the plane.  The silver lining to this added expense is that now I don’t have to cram a ton of stuff into my one bag that I take on board.  (We never do carry-on because I can’t really man-handle a toddler, diaper bag, and a suitcase by myself while boarding a plane.) Now Pooky can bring her own small bag (loaded with goodies) for the trip.

To keep things manageable, we just use a small backpack that she can wear and carry herself.  This is the one she got for her second birthday.

what to pack in a toddler's carry-on

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1. A quart-sized baggie of legos keeps her focused for a considerable amount of time.

pook's book.jpg

2.  Books – This is a pic of daddy reading her Goodnight Moon
(one of her favorites). We also packed First Numbers (My First Lift and Learn)
flap book.


3. We played counting and matching games with a deck of miniature cards.

Pooky's markerbook.jpg

4. Doc McStuffins Imagine Ink Mess Free Game Book
with marker – I love these because Pooky can color with the marker but it won’t mark on anything except the paper.  Pooky seems to really like these too.  They keep her attention for almost half an hour straight.  I’m sure she’ll get even more enjoyment out of them as she gets older and can actually understand the activities on the pages.  Right now she just likes to color in it.

Pook's coloring book.jpg

5. A few Crayola Washable Crayons and a mini-coloring book provide more quiet time fun. Here she is using My Pretty Pink Coloring Purse Traveling Coloring Book.

6. I also packed a baggie full of these Magformers.  Because they’re magnetic, there’s less of a concern of them falling into hard-to-reach places and getting lost.

7. Reusable stickers present lots of fun over and over.  This is a large pack, so I carefully tore out one background scene and the corresponding page of stickers.  Then I folded those pages up to fit them into the backpack. The creases on the pages didn’t seem to affect Pook’s enjoyment of the stickers.

8. Wikki Stix offer some variety since they present a form of open-ended creative play. I packed only a handful of them.  They hardly took up any space at all.

9. This Leap Frog Chat and Count phone is one of my daughter’s current favorites.  She seems to really enjoy all the counting games and songs, so we always have this with us wherever we go (even just to the grocery store).

10. In addition to the activities listed above, I also included a pacifier, a pack of goldfish, a dried fruit snack, and her water bottle (in the mesh pocket on the outside of the backpack).

It was very helpful to have so many activities always at hand to stave off boredom and restlessness.  It was also nice to have more space in my purse/diaper bag for my own items.

pack these items to entertain toddlers while traveling

I hope you find this list useful in preparing for your next trip. Since novelty is key in capturing a little one’s attention, I’d love to hear what you like to pack for your young child’s traveling entertainment.

For more travel packing tips, check our our post with printable packing lists for kids and adults.

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