I’ve been brainstorming ideas to keep my 20 month old happy on our upcoming airplane ride to Florida.  She is a busy body who is not into TV and only reads two books – Once Upon a Potty and Pinkalicious.  I took a trip to Walmart and Toys ‘r Us to see if I could find some little toys that would keep her entertained.  I came away with a book of stickers and a small pad of paper, a Pop On Pals dog, a Tinkerbell toy, and a baby doll that cries when you take away her pacifier.  I will also have my iPad which has several apps that she really enjoys.

DIY Airplane Tray Cover - Perfect for air travel with kids

I know for the 3.5 hour flight I will really need several activities, but they can’t take up a lot of room – we are packing as light as possible because we don’t want to have to check more than one piece of luggage.

As I started thinking about airplanes, I thought about the tray and how that is prime real estate and the airplane tray cover was born! I did a Google search for airplane tray size and found that there is not an industry standard, but most are within 16.5″x 10.5″. I didn’t want to be too small width wise, so went with 17″ for width. I figured it would be OK a little long because there are arms that hold the tray out, so it would still fit if it is too wide. I went 11″ high and added ribbons on the back so that it could be tied around the tray back.


Two cars are parked in the garage and can drive on the chalkboard fabric road.  The middle door opens to reveal a felt cat and dog that can play with either their fish or their bone.  When you remove the dog and cat, they reveal pictures of our two family members that we will have to leave at home (adhered to the fabric with Mod Podge)!  Lastly there is a velcro closure pouch to hold a few smaller toys – a Polly Pocket and a couple of Littlest Pet Shops.


I actually messed up on the back – but was halfway done when I realized it, so just went with it.  The flaps were actually suppose to flip UP so that no velcro was necessary to hold them shut – and I still recommend you make it that way if you choose to try this!

Getting past my goof – flip the flaps down and a picture of each family member is revealed!  The pictures were printed on Xerox machines so the ink will not run if these get wet.  I glued the images to a thick cardstock and then added velcro to the back so that the images can be moved around for a fun game of hide ‘n seek!  I also added a velcro closure pouch to hold chalk.

I added tags along the edges for texture and ribbon on the top so that it can be secured to the tray.
UPDATE:  The tray was a success!  It was a tight fit though, so definitely go 17.5″ wide if  you make this.  I think the first flight stretched it out, because the second flight it definitely went on easier and fit properly, where as in these photos it isn’t all the way on.
My daughter LOVED the little pom-poms.
My kiddos figured out a great use for the ribbon tabs: A way to hold the chalk while they weren’t using it (since the chalk pocket was on the other side of the cover).