Airplane Bag of Tricks


3 kids at airport watching the planesWe don’t travel much. And by much, I mean we haven’t gone in vacation in 4 years. It just didn’t appeal to me. But I wanted my kids to experience new places and sleep somewhere new. So, here we are, our first trip as a family of 5. I followed a lot of travel accounts to see what I should pack in an airplane bag to entertain my kids.

I immediately felt overwhelmed. It is so easy to spend a lot of money to occupy kids. I did my best to come up with affordable bags of entertainment. My one main requirement: They had to be able to carry their own backpacks. I started with what I already had, and I went for tried-and-true activities that work for my kids, are fairly clean, and are easy to contain.

My daughter is 6, my son is 4 and we also have a 6-month-old. I needed the bigs to be able to do everything on their own.

Backpack Activities:

New coloring books with a pencil pouch.

Their pencil pouch has new crayons, colored pencils, a pencil for activity book, markers for one kid and stickers for the other. Dry erase marker, and a washcloth. I prefer the twist up crayons and colored pencils. One kid really feels strongly that all crayons should be tiny pieces. (He snaps every single crayon that has ever entered our home) and one kid that loves sharpening pencils.

Dot book for my son with stickers instead of paint dot markers.

I read that the paint markers explode with altitude, and he sometimes thinks it’s really funny to paint a wall. I got the dot stickers that you use for garage sales.

Highlights 1st grade workbook for my daughter.

Preschool skills book for my son. We have a lot of dry erase workbooks for them, so I included one of each for them in their backpack, too.

Playdoh sensory kit.

I wanted to buy this, but my kids love making playdoh. And we have so many random trinkets to add that it made sense to make it. My kids love playdoh and spend hours playing it. I bought them a few small playdoh toys, and we are going to make playdoh. (some recipes last for a long time, so we can do this a few weeks in advance). I cut up a paper towel roll and hot glued their name on it, so they can use it as a roller. It will imprint their name. You can make fun designs, if you prefer. It was easy and cheap. I used pencil boxes that I had at home. I added buttons, googly eyes, a few beads and random small items so they can have a treasure hunt, and popsicle sticks.

Kindle Fire and headphones.

Both kids got a Kindle Fire for their birthdays. I loaded them up with games, a few of their favorite shows, and some books that we can read together.


I’ll be packing up the bento boxes that they use for lunch full of their favorite snacks. I’m doing some that we don’t have very often, because it’s more exciting that way.

Each backpack will have sanitizing wipes and hand sanitizer because I am going to do my best to keep everyone healthy for this vacation!

Total price: Less than $40 per kid. They will be entertained for hours… hopefully.

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I am almost a Colorado Springs native. My family moved here when I was 10. I went to college in Greeley and graduated with a journalism degree. I am married to my high school sweetheart, we just celebrated our 19th anniversary of dating. We have three kids and a 100 pound furball. We spend as much time outdoors as possible, and love doing family hikes. I love a good soapy teen drama, true crime podcasts and friends, I'm a self proclaimed coffee snob, and do my best to see the positive side of every situation.