British Airways lists Top Toys to Take while flying with a Child

Gabriella Nnatu, 3, Naomi Nnatu, 8, and Sharon Nnatu (British Airways_-David Dyson)
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Gabriella Nnatu, 3, Naomi Nnatu, 8, and Sharon Nnatu (British Airways_-David Dyson)
Gabriella Nnatu, 3, Naomi Nnatu, 8, and Sharon Nnatu (British Airways_-David Dyson)

Keeping children busy for more than 30 minutes on a plane journey can be challenge. British Airways, led by Prof Robert Winston, conducted a social experiment to explore the top toys to take on a plane.

The findings revealed that it is actually the cheapest toys that keep the children occupied the longest. Play-Doh and toy-of-the-moment Loom Bands topped the list with 80 percent of children and 70 percent of parents saying they would take these on a flight in the future.

The most popular toy among two to five year olds was Play-Doh, while Loom Bands were a firm favourite with the five to 10 year olds. Timeless classics such as Lego and Top Trump cards also scored highly with this age group; keeping them entertained for an average of 37 and 33 minutes respectively.

Prof Winston said: “Although the temptation is for parents to play a film in the hope that their child falls asleep, activity based toys, such as Lego, sticker books and travel games are also a great way to keep them engaged. Bringing out a different toy at regular intervals is guaranteed to keep them quiet for longer than 90 minutes.”

The airline conducted a social experiment, placing 30 youngsters on a flight for two hours with a selection of toys. The children, aged two to 10, were given 90 minutes playtime and observed by scientist and TV personality Robert Winston and a team of educational psychologists. To view a video of the experiment visit:

In the poll of 2,000 people a quarter of those surveyed said they worried about their children disturbing other passengers, while more than half were nervous about disrupting their youngster’s sleeping pattern.

 Dr Vivian Hill, educational psychologist from the Institute of Education, said: “Toys that spark the imagination and encourage creativity, rather than static toys like soft toys and dolls, are proven to keep children occupied for sustained periods.

Ian Ellis, toys buyer at John Lewis, said: “Loom bands have been hugely popular. We started selling them at John Lewis a couple of months ago and in the last few weeks we have really seen them take off. It has been such a big playground phenomenon with children wanting the newest colours and sets, we will be introducing more to our range as the trend continues.”

British Airways top ten toys to take on a plane:

  • Loom Bands

  • Play-Doh

  • Lego

  • Top Trumps

  • Uno

  • Usborne Activity Cards

  • Magnetic travel game

  • Aquadoodle!

  • Finger puppets

  • Sticker book

Dr Vivian Hill shares her top tips for a stress free flight with children:

  • Have drinks to hand they can sip on for takeoff and landing so they don’t concentrate on the air pressure; which can affect children more than adults

  • Buy new toys and games for the flight as newer toys entertain them for longer

  • Bring out different toys at regular intervals. Wrapping them and giving them as presents works really well

  • Concentrate on packing activities as opposed to static objects such as dolls and cuddly toys

  • Think of games with extended play. Finger puppets and activity cards are both toys that can be drawn out to last a lot longer

  • Think about games that you don’t need to carry. Verbal games like I Spy and Twenty Questions are good ways to pass the flight time

  • If it’s an evening or night flight take pyjamas. Getting children ready for bed will help avoid disrupting their sleep pattern.

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