Obligatory Pre-Blogher Freak-Out Post
Blogher, Part One

Quick. And Hurry.

I need ideas for things to keep a nine-month-old baby amused on an airplane that:

1) fit into a small diaper bag
2) do not make a shitload of jangly beepy noise
3) do not resemble some kind of sex toy and/or rudimentary weapon, thus arising suspicion at security, causing me to miss my flight while I explain that no, it's a spork. A SPORK!

So far I've got:

1) food
2) toothbrushes
3) a sippy cup of booze.*

*I may share.

**Probably won't.

***Also, have you have seen my camera?

****Or my phone charger?

*****These footnotes do not actually footnote anything, fail to cite sources, suggest a certain amount of procrastination is going on.




A spatula. Seriously. One of those rubber bendy ones you use to scrape out the last of the peanut butter. Also a potato masher and a whisk. Should last him a few minutes at least.


If you can switch to a larger diaper bag, and if you've got a dollar store near you, raid it for everything even remotely child-safe. I've flown with babies about six times and my rule is, one new toy for every ten minutes. It doesn't even have to be a good toy, just new.

Also, be SURE to nurse him or make him suck on the paci during take-off and landing for the ears. You probably already knew that, though.

Of course, you may get lucky, like I did on two flights, and have little man put to sleep by all the white noise. Here's hoping!

shriek house

Tape. It sounds choky, but safe if you watch him. put a 2 or 3 inch piece on his toes he will be amused trying to unstick and restick it. (Unless he hates the sense of sticky.)

Toy keys
Stacking cups
Finger puppets?
Any of those Mr. Whoozit toys


Do you know how to make those cootie catchers by folding paper? A baby I know loves watching them move. Just color different sections so it's bright or put images of characters Ez likes.


Books! New ones, that he hasn't seen before. And maybe some fun, lift the flap ones?


What helped when I took my 10-month-old on a plane ride:

-1 small word book
-2 empty cups, which you can get on the plane so no packing there.
-straws I stole from the airport coffee shop, which D loved to unwrap.
-a small make-up bag that I filled with a blush brush, a pipe cleaner, a small unbreakable mirror, and a few other knick-knacks that he had never played with before.

What he really loved playing with?

-our neighbors.
-the tray table.
-the window.
-the buttons above.

And then he fell asleep for most of the flight, which was awesome. Everyone cooed and thought he was cute. Sleeping babies always are.

Good luck and happy travels!!


My guy's FAVORITE airplane toy? The plastic cups that the flight attendants serve juice/soda/etc in. Seriously- it's been his favorite since he was about 6 months...and he's 4 now.


air sickness bag
in-flight magazines

nothing that I brought in the diaper bag

Oh, I'm sorry, were we talking about your child and your trip?


- Some disposable spoons from the plane/airport?
- Definitely a wisk from your kitchen - my daughter has always LOOOOVED the mini-wisk
- a roll of toilet paper or roll of dog poop bags from ikea that he can unroll completely then you can re-roll and let the fun start again
- headphones - with supervision due to extreme choking hazard - my daughter LOVES them because of the skinny wire, the foamy bits, the metal plug-y part, all of it - be sure that you don't actually want to USE those headphones ever again though since they will spend a lot of time in Ezra's mouth
- nearby passengers, willing or not. they don't even have to meet the "fit in diaper bag" criteria!
Have fun!


you mean you haven't left yet?! run! evacuate!


Small collapsible boxes? Kids are always playing with those instead of the toy that came inside.


I second the tape - for us, it was post-its. Great fun! His very first toothbrush (more of a teether with a brush on the end). The plastic airline cups, yes. Oh, and cheerios. Lots and lots and lots of cheerios. We had several 3hour flights and a few 12hour flights and when I reached my limit, the thing that kept him most amused was crawling (or trying to) up and down the aisles and poking at other people's shoes.


I hate to be a spoilsport, but you won't be able to get the booze through security. I'd suggest taking an EMPTY sippy cup, buying booze in the gift shop, and filling it up before getting on the plane.

Or you could try Benadryl.

Best of luck!


The cheap toy cell phones from Target. We put tape over the speaker holes to deaden the sound. We couldn't hear the beeping but the lights and buttons kept our guy entertained. And and bottle. I got hot water from the Starbucks in the terminal right before take off and mixed up some quick formula because nursing in those tight quarters can be tricky. Good luck!


My Dear Amalah,
Oh how I love you. You make me laugh and you are an incredible writer.
My husband and I just adopted a baby boy from Ethiopia and had to fly SEVENTEEN HOURS home with him. We took a book that had a mirror on the front, a puppet, and a small (not so noisy) rattle.
We survived with those things. He slept for the first 7 hours and decided sleep was for the weak the last 10.
Have fun!





Put a paperclip in an empty medicine bottle - instant magic rattle.




Benadryl. I can't believe no one has said Benadryl yet...


Parenthacks.com should have some good ideas...I think you can just look up "flying with kids" and it'll show everyone's tips that worked for them. good luck! And don't let anyone give you any shit about nursing on your trip. You'll rock it!


Rubik's Cube.


Hi Amy...I fly once a month to visit my parents with my 8 month old Jackson. The best invention ever are those red measuring spoons that are on a ring. They do make a little noise, but nothing bothersom. They are small, very entertaining and little Ezra will LOVE them. Also, a kid-friendly cardboard book (no tearing noises and/or mess). If all else fails, DO rip a piece of a page out of a magazine and he will go ape sh*t over it. Good luck. Can't wait to hear what you came up with.


Things that amuse my almost 8 month old on planes:
* Banana sandwiches
* A plastic cup from the flight attendant with a roll of stickers
* This book that you get in the baby section of Ikea with a buttload of things to squeak and pull and tie and untie and look at and put in your mouth
* a bunch of wool and ribbons all tied together randomly. It's like a ball, but my finger is stuck, wow it's cool
* my boobs (you can use your boobs, if you like)


Um, hello? I don't fit into a diaper bag, but I'm sitting next to you on that flight and I have an iphone full of games that amuse a 4 year old. And I'll amuse him.

Please share the booze.


A finger puppet and a board book with lots and lots of animals in it. Good luck! See you there (I hope).


When I flew across the country I brought every toy known to man, about...oh...I'd say five kajillion lbs. of them. Then it turned out that the seatbelt, the plastic beverage cup, the window, and most especially the TV's showing our flight's progress and a few free movies/TV shows was all I needed. Oh yeah, and we brought a doggie bed for him to sleep on. Which was AWESOME, because he passed right out on it.


Just traveled with a one year old.

More food...just keep feeding
Empty jewelery box
Dollar store toys that will not be choked on
painters tape (found this one online...it held his attention for about 10 minutes...I decided that was a success)

Good luck!


Okay, I have flown eleventy billion flights with Wito. I have schlepped around the works, trust me.

The one item that has kept him TRANSFIXED for hours on end? The plastic cups they serve you on the plane. Three or four should do it...and you don't even need to pack them. BONUS.

Miss Grace

What about your phone? Do you have an iphone?


are you saying you need a diaper bag into which will fit your baby? because if so, i'm gonna need some dimensions of the child.


yo boobs silly

have fun


On our last vacation our then-9-month-old was enthralled with tape and a little old makeup bag that I filled with random makeup brushes, sample tubes of lotion and The Best Toy On Earth, a.k.a. one of those little lipstick holders that snaps shut and has a tiny mirror in it.


I heard something about kiddy cold medicine being NOT DONE anymore, but when my big kids were little kids, that stuff came in SUPER handy on an airplane. And lollipops.


My doctor actually TOLD me to use Benedryl when I was flying with my infant children. Not only will it make them sleepy, he said, but it helped to keep their ear canals open...so knock him out!! LOL!


Scotch tape. Proven with 4 kids cross country flight. Buy 4 or 5 with the dispenser. And take pictures of the fun!

stephanie Moazami

An apple he can gum/ chew on. If it's new to him it should hold his interest for at least 5 seconds.

I don't second the benadryl rec. unless you already know it works. It can have the opposite effect and make him hyper.


large binder clips, an old cassette tape case,better yet, an old cassette tape that he can pull the tape out of, straws, cut a zipper off an old pair of jeans. okay, so some of these are borderline choking hazards, but you'll be right there.


my 8 mth old is pretty enamored with the sippy cup lid.

and the thermometer.

and any bracelet i own.

and pretty much anything that isn't considered a toy.


Ooo ooo! Big bag of those plastic made in China animal toys (http://tinyurl.com/lclgsn) but then you only take one out of the package at a time. When he tires of the first one, then and only then, give out the second one, etc. This once saved me through an entire 6 hour plane trip.


My son's favorite thing when we traveled with him at that age was a ziploc bag. No, I am nt kidding. Only mildly crinkly sounding and you can put things in it and take things out again and YOU CAN SEE THEM THE WHOLE TIME. ZOMG.

Also scotch tape. Like putting tape on the feet of a puppy, it is endlessly amusing.


Those plastic half-can of soda airplane cups are more fun than anything you'll bring.

Sprite's Keeper

How abour Noah? Just a suggestion!

Alyssa R.

Skwish Color Burst or a Winkle from Manhattan Toy Company is great.

I work at a Toy Store in Oregon and we sell tons of them!

Good Luck!

Jaye @ canadian-mom.ca

Holy shit. Did you happen to find that sport at the adult fun superstore? ;) I don't think I'd be able to keep a straight face if my son was holding that thing! lol


plastic cups, barf bag, old cell phone


You need to hit up the Target dollar section. Grab a bunch of things that he can't swallow etc. The important thing is for the items to be things that Ezra has never really seen. Then wrap the stuff. I know it sounds strange and messy, but tearing paper is really interesting to kids that age and the fact that there is more inside the paper will only prolong the interest. Have done this with my son since we first flew and it works every time. Trashed or out of service cell phones are great too.


I also don't second the Benadryl. We tried to give it to Snackbox because he is teething as if he is sprouting mammoth tusks and it had NO EFFECT. I even overdosed him a little, and NOTHING. Not sleepy, not hyper, nothing.

I love all the suggestions - we are going to Kauai in September and I am dreading the long flight (particularly because I am cheap and did not buy a seat for my preshus). Please report back and let us know what was most popular with Ez.


Quick! Get a slinky! Big and metal or small and plastic and colorful... Hours of amusement ahead. And Noah can play with it on the stairs when you get home.


Probably too late, but my child is about the same age as Ezra. She is obsessed with straps, snaps, strings, tags, buttons, and zippers. I keep meaning to just make her a toy out of all those things, but I'm too lazy. I prefer to lie on the couch while she lurches about the living room. But I'm pretty sure that if I ever did get around to it, it would be the awesomest toy ever.


I was drugged with Benedryl as a kid and turned out just fine (or so I think). Beyond that, I have no ideas. :) Have fun!


Silly woman, don't you know they'll make you drink the booze from the sippy cup before you go through security? And it would take a heck of a lot of those tiny bottles on the plane to refill the sippy. Must come up with a different plan.


A roll of foil and some wrapping paper. This kept my kids entertained for hours on a long car trip. Make masks with the foil, or a ball, or just wrap things in it. The wrapping paper is to wrap stuff that he can unwrap and rewrap. Oh, and a portable DVD player with his favorite shows.


My girls always loved measuring cups and measuring spoons....the kind that are held together on a plastic ring. Those would give them amused for along time!


I thought I would comment but all your comments were so funny I forgot what I was going to say.


Take your boobs. Always a winner.


As a frequent "flying across the world" traveler with 2 small children...BENADRYL is the only way to go!!! But I'm not sure you can give it to a 9 month old, so your booze solution might be better:)
Our other lifesaver has always been portable DVD player and assortment of DVD's. At that age, we did the Baby Einstein ones. Probably more fun for you to watch if YOU drink the booze-filled sippy cup first!


Definitely rubber spatulas! Also works well when you want to hit the person in front of you for being annoying. :)


Speaking as the grandmother of three, I say there actually are no such toys.
However, in reality you have gotten some good ideas here. Maybe a booklet of those cheap adhesive stars and you will arrive dressed to go, plus stars.


I would say not regular tape - painters' tape if you have it. It's easier to stick and restick over and over and over again. Plus - bright blue!


restaurant packed oyster crackers - the little bags crinkle and crunch and after he gets tired of that, fed him the crackers. Also, I've always done the Benedryl - my ped also recommended it to help with their ears. Lastly, and I know it's too late now but my friend has a website called www.kidstravelhappy.com with all sorts of travel toys - you can search by mode of travel, age, BRILLIANT! We alsways stock up before flights and long drives!

Plano Mom

Dum Dum pops. I know, I know - what a horrible thing for a baby. However - they WORK!


Whenever I travel with my son, I use those link-a-do things (that I got loads of at my shower and never otherwise use) to attach the toys to the handle of my diaper bag. Don't have to worry about toys fitting in the bag, and easy access on the flight.


1. A set of plastic measuring spoons
2. A set of plastic nesting cups.
3. His favorite blankie, one corner discreetly soaked in chloroform. (KIDDING!)


Calms Forte for Kids by Hylands. Check your local health food store. All natural. Homeopathic. Soft tabs melt when they hit the mouth so there's no chance of choking. You can read more about them at drugstore.com or Hyland's website.

Of course, give your pediatrician a quick call to confirm.

Is he too young for Crayola's ColorWonder markers?


Also, when I was traveling to Hawaii with my then almost 2-yo, the pediatrician discouraged Benedryl and Sudafed. On some kids they have the opposite effect, they make the kids hyper and jittery. IF you do go that route, test it first.


Benadryl. He'll sleep the whole way and you can too.

We are headed to the Jersey Shore next week and I'm a little stressed, i.e., so totally freaked out that I can't even think straight. What should I pack for 3 kids ages 7, 10 & 12 for a trip from SeaTac to PHL that will be 10 hours long so I don't end up on the evening news as an unruly passenger who had too much to drink????? It's times like these that I'm glad my husband is calm, cool and collected.



Is he too young for that?

Amber Mc

OK honestly? I sucker. I brought a Blow Pop on the plane with my 9 month old. When he refused a bottle and his ears where hurting and the screaming began, I pulled it out and he shut up and stared. I let him take a lick and he swallowed! Works for emergencies. (Srsly, I don't normally give my 9 month old candy)


When my son was 9 months (he just turned a year) I had & wore a couple specific pieces of jewelry that were cheap & sturdy but had great flexibility & shine. One was a wide beaded bracelet with buttons all over it he would gum to DEATH. That thing got disgusting but it was worth every penny of the $10 i spent on it (plus I could wear it, therefore no need for space in the diaper bag). I used to live in DC - I'd suggest Beadazzled in Dupont Circle to find one. Second was & still is a looooong necklace I can double or triple that has beads randomly placed on it - think hemp string with knots & a few big big but awesome chew toys. It's super simple & sturdy as hell. It creates a small choking hazard (to me, forget the baby!) but works like a charm. Hope that helps!

By the way - I'm flying with my soon-to-be 13 month old in a couple weeks (we flew at 4 months & 10 months when i was still nursing: awesome) & i'm nervous about the noise. A friend suggested I just concede in being "that mom" with the busy kid ... any thoughts?


I flew with my 12 month old last week. TSA didn't give me any trouble with baby food over 3 oz or the 4 oz bottle of Benedryl (which I didn't end up using). Kid was entertained with snacks, books and a portable DVD player (laptop).


The only thing my then 8 month old twins played with when we flew across country with them was my boobs. Nursed almost the whole way. Both of them.

So, don't forget to pack your boobs!


Okay so I've taken two flights with my 9 mo son. And the thing that was always the magic "flight saver" was my husband's digital Timex. My husband would take it off and PRESTO! CHANG-O! Instantly calm and transfixed baby. So if you have a sports watch, wear it and take it off and give to Ezra as needed. Also, would LOVE to know how it goes nursing on the plane. Breastfeeding my baby was not fun. He's 29 1/2 inches now and it was impossible to 'fit' him or make it work well in those seats. We did it...but I was silently cursing the whole time (as my body turned into a human pretzel). Good luck & have fun!


Ditto on the plastic cups, too!


From my sister, who takes her baby on lots of planes:

It's crazy to try to think back that far ... hmmm ... with Adam at that age we always took TONS of books - and not just normal books but books that had cut outs in the pages, movable parts, etc. The content was probably too advanced but it kept him entertained (Elmo's World: Opposites! was one of his favorites - so was One Fish Two Fish with
movable fish). I think at that age he was pretty smitten with fingers ... his, yours, mine, anyone's. And he really liked the Melissa & Doug Peek-a-boo barn but you have to keep your fingers under the 'doors' so the click-clack noise of opening and closing it doesn't annoy everyone. Small price to pay if it keeps the baby happy. Food is good ... and the sippy cup of booze is very important ...


I got a set of finger puppets from Target that kept my daughter entertained for quite a while which was awesome because when I bought them my husband didn't think she would like them. Oh how I love to be right:)


I'm sure your phone charger and camera are in the same place that my camera charger is. If you find them, please alert me!


Take a pair of Ezra's socks. They can be balled up OR you can put each of his hands in one and let him to try free his hands. This trick works with my 13-month-old on the changing table when she's particularly crazy and squirmy. And it's funny. Good luck!


A handpuppet.
A SKWISH (if you have one).
A book with moving parts (we have the Gallop! book, one of the most fascinating things for Little Miss Kickboxer).

Best of luck to you with your trip. Remember to bring your sling.

Dr. Wendy

1 box of kleenex. Let the baby pull out all the kleenex, then stuff it back in the box, then pull it out again.


I've been told that kids like to play with cornstarch (don't laugh till I explain it). One of my professors in college said she used to carry a little ziploc bag or tiny tupperware container of cornstarch with her. When at a restaurant or somewhere she needed to keep her kids busy, she'd dump out a little pile on the high chair tray for them. It has an interesting feel and they like making designs in it.

And you can tell the airline attendants that it will vacuum up easily. ;)


Finger puppets.
An old calculator - he can push buttons to his heart's content, but no beeps or flashes.
Small soft toys (I had little rubber cars) from his repertoire. Ideally, new ones he hasn't played with -- pull them out on the plane, a couple at a time.


bubbles. the little no spill container the liquid well in there has to be less than 3 oz.


Get some elastic string and make bracelets out of Cheerios and Froot Loops for his wrists and ankles. If the snacks on the plane are lame you can eat them, too.


I'm a loser and I actually looked for what you were citing...only to find out they footnotes cited nothing.

Hope the plane ride went well!

Melissa C

Too late now, but maybe for the flight back...'baby flash cards' app for your iphone. It's a big hit at my house!


benedryl and bottles or pacifiers to help with the ears.


@Sunny...mirror! Damn, you are already a brilliant, brilliant mother.


Here's what worked for us last week with a very active nine month old:

Wax paper - I put a bunch of pieces of it in my ergo pocket. Then I could just pull one out when she got bored. Doesn't dissolve in mouths like regular paper (and slightly harder to rip).

Cups (from airplane)

Barf bag

Skymall magazine

Tray table

Stacking cups and one book (that has texture of some sort on the pages - we used "That's Not My Dolly"

Good luck!


OMG! totally off topic but THANK YOU for that amazon link because NONE of the stores in this area carry those stupid things. Walmart, Target, Babies R Us... all strikeouts.

I've been looking for them since... well now that I think about it and calculate it... I have basically been looking for them since Ezra was born. I didn't bother to look online.

Of course, now that I read your description of them to my husband, I may not be allowed to give them to the baby.... *snicker*


After endless countless international flights with multiple children, my advice is to get a few small new toys (no more than three) to bring out one at a time only when you are desperate. He will probably be entertained by the flight attendants and your neighbors and you won't need to do much other than feedings/diaper changes/baby wrangling when he tries to get away from you and spent some time with those nice people across the aisle.

It'll be great! If anyone can do it, you can!


P.S. He might be a little young for Benadryl. I didn't Dramamine with my son until he was four.

Mama Coyote

The last time my boy and I flew anywhere--when he was 7 or 8 months--he nursed and slept the whole time. I suspect the above poster's "a new toy every ten minutes" would help if he stayed awake... also talking to other passengers and waving at them.



sorry, didn't read all other comments before this. Keys, cell phones, remote controls, garage door openers, sippy cups (with nothing in them), board books, Leapster (they age quickly now, you know...), DVD player, stickers, trains, cars. anything you older one is playing with.


I'm sorry I'm late, maybe this will work for the flight back...
We flew with our 10 month old on a 12 hour flight last month (hell hell hell on earth) and eventually resorted to letting him a) rip up the in-flight magazine b) chew on the emergency procedures laminated hand-out and c) chew on the wire from the head phones. All of these things were WAY more effective at occupying him than the toys we brought to keep him busy. Thank G-d we don't have to fly again for another three weeks : )

Wife and Mommy

I'm so glad I got to meet you and baby Ezra!


A flashlight. Mini-maganlight size. Make shadow puppets on the seat on front of you, illuminate baby's body parts. Also comes in handy when the power goes out the hotel.


eh - I meant Magna-lite.


What a great blog you have here. I'm going to make this quick. I would like us to exchange links with my humor blog. Let me know if this is possible.


Nancy R

I'm totally late to this party, but I suggest an O-ball...the 'O' not meaning what you think, so get your mind out of the gutter.

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