The 11 Best Airplane Toys for Toddlers of 2023

Adorable little toddler girl traveling by plane.

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  • Prioritize lightweight, multi-purpose, engaging travel toys, and limit them to only one or two, depending on the size.  
  • It’s best to limit the number of devices or toys that need batteries or require charging because they can be difficult and tend to take up a lot of carry-on space.  
  • In addition to toys, toddlers love creative play activities like coloring and finger puppets. 
  • Sensory toys are especially engaging and can keep toddlers occupied for hours. 
  • Your toddler will love the autonomy of having a small carry-on with some of their belongings inside.  

Many parents get a little nervous when flying with a small child because they don’t want to be that parent with a screaming toddler for most of the flight. 

Rest assured that most babies and toddlers do very well flying! Still, you can make the trip more pleasant when you pack accordingly.  

The best airplane toys for toddlers are engaging, quiet, lightweight, and multi-purpose to keep your little one busy in a small seat for hours! Also, having the right balance of toys makes each one you bring quite important. 

We’ll cover what to bring for travel, plus our favorite airplane toys for toddlers. Based on our first-hand experience and reviews from thousands of helpful moms and caregivers, this list features the best 11 airplane travel toys for toddlers in 2023.  

Best Choice
Busy Board - Toddler Backpack with Buckles and Learning Activity Toys - Develop Fine Motor Skills and Basic Life Skills - Learn to Tie Shoes - Children's Travel Toy - Ideal Gift
Best Entertaining Toy
Oiuros 20pcs Different Cartoon Animal Finger Puppets Soft Velvet Dolls Props Toys Easter Basket Stuffers
Best Sticker Book
Melissa & Doug Puffy Sticker Activity Books Set: Dress-Up, Princess, Mermaid - 208 Reusable Stickers - Dress Up Doll Stickers, Restickable Puffy Sticker Books For Kids Ages 4+- FSC-Certified Materials
Busy Board – Toddler Backpack with Buckles and Learning Activity Toys
Oiuros Animal Finger Puppets
Melissa & Doug Puffy Sticker Activity Books
$18.99
$16.99
$19.99
Best Choice
Busy Board - Toddler Backpack with Buckles and Learning Activity Toys - Develop Fine Motor Skills and Basic Life Skills - Learn to Tie Shoes - Children's Travel Toy - Ideal Gift
Busy Board – Toddler Backpack with Buckles and Learning Activity Toys
$18.99
Best Entertaining Toy
Oiuros 20pcs Different Cartoon Animal Finger Puppets Soft Velvet Dolls Props Toys Easter Basket Stuffers
Oiuros Animal Finger Puppets
$16.99
Best Sticker Book
Melissa & Doug Puffy Sticker Activity Books Set: Dress-Up, Princess, Mermaid - 208 Reusable Stickers - Dress Up Doll Stickers, Restickable Puffy Sticker Books For Kids Ages 4+- FSC-Certified Materials
Melissa & Doug Puffy Sticker Activity Books
$19.99

Our Choice: Busy Board – Toddler Backpack with Buckles and Learning Activity Toys 

Sale
Busy Board – Toddler Backpack with Buckles and Learning Activity Toys 
  • 【Fine Motor Development】The sensory toys on the backpack assist toddlers and those with special needs, to develop fine motor and cognitive skills, hand-eye coordination and problem solving.
  • 【Math and Counting】The soft shoulder straps are decorated with numbers and shapes, which will encourage children to learn early math and counting.
  • 【Large Capacity】This toddler backpack has enough space for daily necessities, such as diapers, food, kettles, books, toys, etc., and there is a compartment in the school bag, you can sort the items and store.
  • 【High Quality】All backpacks meet ASTM, CPSIA, US Children’s Product Certificate, Made of high quality plush and accessories, all materials are environmentally friendly materials, very suitable for babies.
Pros
Cons
  • Multi-functional
  • Strengthens motor skills and cognitive development
  • Only holds a few lightweight items

The Busy Board Toddler Backpack is a unique buckle toy and backpack in one! The main asset is that you don’t have to worry about forgetting travel toys on last-minute trips; even errands with parents can be more fun and keep little hands occupied.  

The best part: Teaches real-life functional skills that strengthen your child’s fine motor skills and cognitive development.

Babies learn to buckle, zip, button, and tie a shoe with the adorable hands-on activities attached to the outside of the backpack. The inside of the backpack is the perfect size for toddlers. It’s big enough for them to bring quite a few things like a fun toy, book, stuffed animal, or small blanket.  

Need to know: Reviewers love this little backpack, but it isn’t heavy-duty. It’s not large enough to hold all your child’s things (and it would be too heavy). Plan on leaving space in your bag for a few more of your toddler’s things.  

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Best Entertaining Toy: Oiuros Animal Finger Puppets

Oiuros Animal Finger Puppets Collage
Sale
Oiuros Animal Finger Puppets
  • 20 pieces of different animal finger puppets. All animal puppets with hands and feet, small and cute.
  • Material: durable soft velvet cloth. Size: Height: about 7cm; Width: about 3cm.
  • 20 different animals include: hippopotamus, elephant, rabbit, duck, cattle, dog, panda, bear, frog, mouse, Turtles, crabs, seahorses, whale, sharks, dolphins, grouper, starfish, shrimp, octopus
  • You can tell a lot of stories about the animal finger puppets to your children.Smiling animal finger puppets can certainly bring more fun and imagination to your child’s everyday play time activity. These also make cute props for story time and baby shower decorations for girl or boy.
Pros
Cons
  • Great for multiple ages
  • Developmental benefits
  • Well-made
  • Not a good option for teething babies

We tested these adorable Oiuros Animal Finger Puppets out, and they’re at the top of our list—they’re entertaining for kids of all ages, small, lightweight, and much more than a travel toy.

Toddlers learn animal recognition and sounds, colors, and shapes while bigger kids create characters and stories—these little critters are an excellent developmental travel toy for toddlers that can be engaging well into your child’s grade school years. 

The best part: This set is adorable, well-made, and durable. My family especially likes that this set features ocean life and land animals. With so many creatures, you can make them into mini playsets. This allowed me to swap them out for variety or to pack them in separate activity bags.  

Need to know: Finger puppets are fun for toddlers but are not intended for teething babies in the phase of putting everything in their mouths. Make sure to supervise little ones while they play with these and all toys.  

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Best Quiet Book: deMoca Quiet Book 

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deMoca Quiet Book
  • ✔️ FOR PLANNED OR UNPLANNED RIDES, TRIPS, OR VISITS – A must-have toddler travel essential when traveling with your little one. No pieces will fall or be lost during trips, and this busy book for toddlers 1-3 has all elements securely attached to it. A great travel companion for toddlers 1-3 years old.
  • ✔️ DEVELOP REAL-LIFE SKILLS – Fun textures to explore in our sensory toy for toddlers 1-3, will make them want to come back over and over again. deMoca montessori toys for 1 year old kids or older are filled with educational activities that encourage healthy development and sensory stimulation. Fun play that develops fine motor skills, suitable for preschool learning activities.
  • ✔️ SAFE MATERIALS WITH NO LOSING PARTS – Our busy book for toddlers 1-3 is made from fabric and felt, strong stitching, with no losing parts. All elements are tethered to the activity book, helping kids learn through play and naturally practice new skills. Safe, durable, works well in home, classroom, rides, travel, trips, or learning center.
  • ✔️ MONTESSORI TOY TO BUILD FINE MOTOR SKILLS – Montessori toys for toddlers with 9 quiet time activities that focus on skills like matching the velcro colored shapes, practicing on buckle toys, telling time and other interactive activities for toddlers. My quiet book for 1 2 3 year old, designed to represent real-life activities and skills.
Pros
Cons
  • Won’t entertain older kids

A quiet book is considered a must-have by many traveling toddler parents, and the deMoca Quiet Book is a great choice.

The best part: This Montessori sensory toy builds real-life hand-eye-coordination skills like zip, tie, buckles, buttons, and snaps, plus cognitive learning like time, shapes, colors, and textures—with no loose parts and noise-free! 

Need to know: Toddler books like this are excellent educational tools, but they will only be age-appropriate for a couple of years (around 3–5 years old). 

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Best Sensory Toy: JCREN Wooden Lacing Apple Threading Toys

JCREN Wooden Lacing Apple Threading Toys
  • WOOD LACING FRUIT TOY – Wooden Lacing Big Apple Toy is a new kind of learning toy for Toddler. This Apple lacing toy is an exceptional gift for boys and girls.
  • IDEAL FOR PRACTICING FINE-MOTOR DEVELOPMENT – Doing traditional teaching Montessori activities helps to inspire children and develop lacing and sewing skills, strengthen their fine-motor skills and hand-eye coordination, while encouraging independence.
  • ATTRACTIVE DESIGN – A cute wooden caterpillar is connected to the apple toy by a 30-inch lacing string. When children thread the string through the holes of the apple, it looks like the caterpillar is “eating” the apple. Kids will love getting busy with this Montessori lacing toy!
  • STURDY WOOD TOY – Lacing big apple is made of high quality wood with non-toxic water paint, no chemical smell, up to safety standard EN71.
Pros
Cons
  • Durable
  • Lightweight
  • Builds problem-solving skills
  • Basic—you’ll need to bring additional toys

This adorable Apple Threading Sensory Toy by JCREN is so cute and whimsical that even adults want to play!  

The best part: This toy keeps toddlers busy for hours in cognitive problem-solving play as they figure out how to navigate the adorable wooden worm through the apple maze. This toy is ultra-durable, and even though it’s made from wood, it’s light enough for travel.  

Need to know: A great toy for home or travel, don’t load up your carry-on with more than one sensory toy (unless your child is especially sensory seeking). It’s a small travel toy but throwing too many fidget toys into your bag can get bulky.  

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Best Sticker Book: Melissa & Doug Puffy Sticker Activity Books 

Sale
Melissa & Doug Puffy Sticker Activity Books
  • Set of 3 reusable puffy sticker play sets.
  • Includes double-sided scene cards with Dress-Up, Princess, and Mermaid themes
  • 65 plus reusable puffy stickers with each set
  • Convenient carry-handle format–perfect for travel
Pros
Cons
  • Small and lightweight
  • Reusable stickers
  • Lots of themes to choose from
  • Can be messy

We enjoy a puffy sticker book like this one by Melissa & Doug because it’s small and lightweight while providing so much engaging activity for little ones. 

The best part: There are many book themes to choose from based on your toddler’s favorites: dress-up, princess, mermaid, dinosaur, farm, or safari! The puffy toddlers stickers are re-adhesive and can be used over and over without drying!

Need to know: A lot of little parts to keep track of. While they all stick neatly inside for safe keeping, if your kid likes to bulldoze through toys or make messes, you might find an option with fewer pieces.  

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Best Buckle Toys: Buster Square Learning Activity Toy 

Buster Square Learning Activity Toy
  • LEARNING TOY: Our mom-approved, child-tested toys are made for learning and development. As an adult, this toy helps train your curious children to learn about colors, numbers, counting, and more.
  • SENSORY STUFFED TOY: Multiple ways to play and teach (ages 12 months and up) early life skills with a zipper pocket, numbers and shapes, and 6 colorful buckles with different clasps. Measures 6.5” x 6.5”.
  • QUIET TRAVEL FIDGET TOY: This engaging activity toy is easy to take wherever you travel. This stuffed figure can be clipped to a stroller, high chair, and a car seat to keep kids busy.
  • DESIGN: For toddlers and those with special needs, this happy green plush square made of pillow-like material is the best quiet toy that aids in the development of fine motor and problem-solving skills.
Pros
Cons
  • Not a great choice for bigger kids

The Buster Square is a best-selling, highly-rated plushy stuffed square with six toddler-friendly buckles around the outside.  

The best part: This adorable, light toy is a great hybrid toy; it’s a sensory, educational toy and a stuffed plushie to comfort little ones during a long flight. 

Need to know: This toy is suited for babies and toddlers under three years old. If your little one is getting older (the pre-K stage), then you might opt for a different toy.  

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Best Fidget: Fat Brain Toys Baby Dimpl Fidget 

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Fat Brain Toys Baby Dimpl Fidget
  • Features 5 vibrant silicone bubbles built into a plastic frame
  • Push and pop, poke and grab; A portable sensory toy
  • Great for babies and toddlers ages 6 months+; BPA-free’ Bubbles made of 100% food-grade silicone
  • Engages the senses; Encourages fine motor skills, sensory exploration, cause-and-effect learning
Pros
Cons
  • Multi-sensory
  • Easy to clean
  • Light for travel
  • Designed for babies and toddlers, not for older kids

Fidget toys are a must-have for toddlers, and the hot-selling pop-its by Fat Brain Toys, like this Baby Dimpl Toy, are among the best, designed especially for little fingers.  

The best part: Simple yet brilliant, these pop-it toys of varying sizes of colorful silicone bubbles offer multi-sensory engagement and hours of play. Easily washable, non-toxic materials, small and light for travel!  

Need to know: This baby pop-it design is for ages 10 months–3 years. However, you can find different-sized pop-it toys in endless styles for bigger kids who like more of a challenge.  

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Best Stacking Cups: The First Years Stack N Count Cups 

The First Years Stack N Count Cups
  • Colorful Baby Toys: This set of stacking toys features 8 brightly colored cups that stack together with unique holes in the bottom for pouring and water play at bath time
  • Montessori Stacking Toys: Your kids will love creating a rainbow in the water by fitting the cups together, stacking them up, or turning them over and hiding treasures underneath
  • Baby Development Toys: Each of these stacking cups doubles as baby learning toys by featuring features large numbers on the bottom to help toddlers practice counting
  • Bath Baby Sensory Toys: Each of the cups in this set of colorful stacking toys are easy to clean and made without BPA for toddlers and kids ages 9 months and up
Pros
Cons
  • Compact
  • Quiet
  • Builds fine motor and problem-solving skills
  • Multiple pieces to keep track of

Another toddler basic that doubles as an excellent quiet travel toy is a set of stacking cups like these by The First Years.  

The best part: Small and compact, quiet, and one of the few teething-friendly toddler travel toys on the list, stacking cups are excellent for developing fine motor skills and problem-solving. 

Need to know: Stacking cups are for babies to toddlers around three. Also, to keep track of eight little cups, take it from me and keep them in a resealable zip-lock bag!

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Best Mess-Free Coloring: Melissa & Doug Water Wow!  

Melissa & Doug Water Wow!
  • Three fun activity/coloring board books, each with refillable water pen
  • Engaging and entertaining animal, alphabet, and number themes
  • Reusable white pages feature simple line drawings when dry; filled with color when wet
  • Chunky-size water pen for easy filling, easy gripping
Pros
Cons
  • Creative play
  • Mess-free
  • Lots of themes to choose from
  • Great for multiple age
  • Will need a place to dry

The Water Wow! Water-Reveal Activity Pads by Melissa & Doug make the best toys for creative, mess-free play!  

 The best part: Choose by your child’s interest—animals, numbers, colors, shapes, and storytelling! Use regular tap water to fill the special pen, write and reveal, let it dry, and do it again! Great for bigger kids, too.  

Need to know: Keep the cap screwed on tight or dump excess water when you’re done. Also, make sure you’ll have time and space to let this pad dry when your toddler is finished playing. 

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Best Educational: HarVow Felt Montessori Busy Board Book 

HarVow Felt Montessori Busy Board Book
  • Children’s Day Great for Montessori Toys for 1 2 3 4 Years Old, Our 7 in 1 Toddler Busy Board Book Contains A Wealth of 72 Pieces Learning Accessories. All These Preshchool Learning Activities Can Help Toddlers Learn Independently and Develop Basic Abilities in Life and Fine Motor Skills. It Is Also A Autism Sensory Toys for Autistic Children.
  • Preschool Learning Activities Busy Board For 1 2 3 4 5 Year Old, Why Are There 72 Pieces Accessories from Activity Board : The Baby Busy Board Includes Life Skills Learning Board, Color Board, Number Board, Alphabet Board and Shape Board. The Number of Accessories Respectively Are 14, 10, 10, 26 and 12 Pcs. Also Including a DIY Board, Let Children Create Independently While Learning Cogitation, Perceive Colors and Enhance Logical Knowledge.
  • A Very Cost-effective Montessori Board that Throughout The Age Group of Children 1-4 Years Old: The Left and Right Two Are Suitable for 1-2 Year Olds, with Simple Zipper, Button, Shoelace and Other Exercises. The Middle Three Activity Pages Are Suitable for 3-4 Year Olds, with Letters, Colors, Shapes, Number Recognition and DIY Blocks, The Detachable Zipper Design Helps for Several Children to Play Together.
  • Advantages of HarVow Baby Sensory Board:Advanced Design Concept and The Emphasis on Children Experience. Use Busy Book Design So That Children Can Flip Book to Provide A Richer Preschool Learning Activities. Skin-friendly Material Solf Super Fiber Thick Felt, Pay Attention to Children’s Feelings and Safety.
Pros
Cons
  • Lots of activities
  • Educational
  • Open-ended
  • Felt doesn’t always stick well to the velcro
  • Toddlers may need some guidance

If you’re looking for something with endless educational value, look no further than the HarVow Felt Montessori Busy Books. Including 74 pieces that teach everything from numbers and the alphabet to the DIY Busy Board that encourages open-ended, free play. 

 The best part: Many reviewers commented on how surprisingly long their toddlers remained entertained by these busy board books. They offer many opportunities to make new ways to play with the materials to learn about the world around them.  

Need to know: Some parents have found that the felt doesn’t stick to the velcro well and advise that parents encourage toddlers to pull and stick gently. 

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Best For Busy Hands: Aaron’s Enchanting Thinking Putty 

Aaron’s Enchanting Thinking Putty
  • Crazy Aaron’s Thinking Putty Enchanting Unicorn Glows in the Dark, and includes fun neon rainbow speckles
  • Made in the USA from nontoxic silicone and never dries out
  • Stretch it, bounce it, pop it, tear it, and sculpt it! Fun for ages 3+
  • Includes 1/5 lb. (3.2 oz) of Genuine Crazy Aaron’s Thinking Putty
Pros
Cons
  • Toddlers will need to be supervised
  • Not for younger toddlers who may put it in their mouths

Little ones always love an excuse to get their hands dirty and play with squishy things, and with Aaron’s Enchanting Thinking Putty, you can do that with this mess-free travel toy.  

The best part: this putty is an endlessly enjoyable sensory experience complete with rainbow glitter and cool scents, available in a variety of colors—it glows in the dark, too! 

This is a great hand-strengthening fidget toy for bigger toddlers, especially those who tend to experience travel jitters.  

Need to know: Putty is intended for supervised play of toddlers past the stage of putting things in their mouths.

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Recommended Accessories 

Traveling easily with children doesn’t end with toddler toys. These are also recommended accessories that can help you have a smoother flight:

  • Noise-canceling headphones: We love these CozyPhones Over The Ear Headband Headphones because kids love their adorable Panda print, and their comfortable stretch headband fabric makes them comfortable to wear and sleep in during a flight. 
  • Mess-free snack cup: Without a doubt, airplane snacks for toddlers are an essential part of the process. A snack container like this one from Skip Hop allows you to refill and always have a spill-free way to offer your little one something to eat.  
  • Leak-proof sippy cup: Any leak-proof sippy cup will work. The Bunnytoo Baby Sippy Cup is a highly-rated favorite for transitioning babies to drinking upright like a toddler and comes with a cap and easy grip handles. 
  • Wipes: A refillable baby wipe travel pack is a parent’s best friend because you can refill it with whatever wipes you have or can buy during your travels.  
  • Comfort toy: Your child probably has a blanket or lovey stuffed animal they can’t leave home without. If not, you could always make it a special occasion and get them a special comfort toy to be your child’s brave travel companion.
  • Puzzles: An excellent way to keep inquisitive children busy is with puzzles for toddlers. Make sure it’s a good fit for his age and developmental stage to keep his interest.

TIP! Check out some airplane activities for toddlers before the flight and plan the fun travel toys and activities that interest your child most, and you know you’ll be well prepared! 

What Toys Can You Take on a Plane? 

Little boy play with toy plane in the commercial jet airplane flying on vacation.

Most baby and toddler toys are fine to take on an airplane, with the exception of items that resemble realistic weapons, like knives or firearms. Leave the toy swords and Nerf guns at home when traveling.  

Squirt guns (water guns) are okay to bring in checked baggage; empty the water thoroughly before you pack it. 

How to Choose the Best Airplane Toys for Toddlers 

Choosing the best travel toys for toddlers is mainly based on your little one’s interests. Some toddlers can be engaged for hours with toy trucks, while others might not. Here are some tips for choosing the best toddler travel toys:

  • Keeps your toddler entertained 
  • No messy materials or lots of small parts 
  • It doesn’t require batteries or charging 
  • It’s compact and lightweight 
Oiuros Animal Finger Puppets Collage

FAQs 

If you haven’t flown with toddlers before, there can be a lot of nerves—and questions. Here are a few of the most often-asked questions about plane toys and traveling with toddlers.  

How can I keep my toddler engaged with their toys on a flight? 

The best toddler toys are the ones your child loves most. A tablet with toddler-friendly games and movies is a lifesaving backup, but plan several mini activities for your child, like stickers, coloring, snacks, puzzles, and reading. 

Repeat any activity they’re enjoying until they lose interest and be prepared to change activities if your child isn’t into it.  

Can airplane toys be used for imaginative play and learning? 

Water Wow
  • Three fun activity/coloring board books, each with refillable water pen
  • Engaging and entertaining animal, alphabet, and number themes
  • Reusable white pages feature simple line drawings when dry; filled with color when wet
  • Chunky-size water pen for easy filling, easy gripping
Wiki Sticks
  • Perfect Vacation Companion: Wikki Stix for Doodlers is a kid’s travel essential, providing endless creative entertainment without the need for screens. Ideal for long journeys, it ensures a mess-free and engaging alternative, making every moment of the vacation memorable.
  • Stress-Reducing Fidget Fun: Beyond creative play, Wikki Stix for Doodlers doubles as a stress-reducer and fidget toy. The tactile sensation of shaping and molding the sticks provides a soothing experience, making it an excellent tool to calm fidgety fingers and promote relaxation in any setting.
  • Perfect Small Gift For Both Kids And Adults As A Christmas Stocking Stuffer, Party Prize, Or Any-Time Gift
  • Small Compact Tube With 24 6” Wikki Stix! Convenient Take-Along Size For Those Moments Of “Down Time”.

Of course! Kids that love imaginative play and learning will have a blast with Water Wow; Wiki Sticks, art supplies, finger puppets, and putty or slime are great options when packing travel toys for toddlers. 

Can airplane toys be used to help my toddler overcome a fear of flying? 

Sale
My First Airplane Ride
  • Hubbell, Patricia (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 36 Pages – 07/23/2013 (Publication Date) – Two Lions (Publisher)

If your toddler has pre-flight jitters, try preparing them with a show or books, like My First Airplane Ride, so they know what to expect. 

Things like hand puppets are not only wonderful for fine motor skills, but they are great for distracting little ones with stories and play. 

It can also be a great way to address the situation head-on. For example, saying Panda is feeling scared, what can we say to her to help her feel better? Playing the role of caregiver does amazing things for a child’s confidence. 

What materials are airplane toys typically made of, and are there any materials I should avoid? 

Avoid travel toys for toddlers made from thin plastic that can break easily, are big and bulky, or require batteries and charging. Also, just like with all toys for toddlers, you need to watch for choking hazards or anything that could be sharp or unsafe for small hands. 

Best Airplane Toys for Toddlers


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