Entertaining a toddler with never ending demands and an attention span the size of a peanut can be extremely daunting, this is especially so, when said toddler has to be confined to 18″ wide seat for what some might feel like hours on end, even if it’s only an hour long flight. So, wether it really is an hour long flight, or 15 hours, here are some ideas for entertaining small children on the airplane.
Books, Puzzles, and (some) Electronics
So… I tend to over pack in all aspects of the term. I recently got the boys new carry-ons to hold all of their traveling fun and they are the perfect size for someone like me (and my boys) who wants to bring ALL the things! First things first, books. Both of my boys, like most children, LOVE books. I try to pack at least 8-10 of our favorite books, small/ lightweight ones for the plane, and the others get checked with the luggage. Books are the easiest entertainment in my opinion. My boys read the whole library of books I bring, repeated amounts of times, on every trip we go on together. Sooooo books are a no brainer, and I’m sure you all knew that.
Small puzzles are such a great airplane activity. We like these Melissa and Doug ones and I just recently got this Djeco AnimaBasic for Remy because they help with his sorting skills in addition to his fine motor skills. Speaking of fine motor skills, this Melissa and Doug Lace & Trace is sooooo good for killing time, but the little ones might need more of your attention because they will need a bit of help, but my kids “need” my attention 100% of the time, so nothing new here…
As for electronics, we do have iPads for the boys, and we do use them often on flights, but I prefer that to be a last resort option (more about that later). The electronic I like to whip out first would be this LeapFrog My Own Leaptop. It has different levels of skills for toddlers which is nice because what Remy is learning in school is certainly not what Bennett is learning. It’s nice that you can change the program to something a little more advanced for the older kiddos.
Play-doh & Planes, Trains, and Automobiles
Ok, if you have kids on a plane and you do not bring Play-Doh, I don’t know how you do life. In fact, I don’t want to know, because there is no better place to bust out play-doh than on a plane (I NEVER DO PLAY-DOH IN MY HOUSE). I keep this sacred activity special by only allowing it on the plane. Now, they play with Play-Doh at school almost every.single.day… they certainly are not deprived of it. I just prefer the nasty crusty mess to be somewhere else. K, thanks!
P.S. bring ALL the accessories- not just the Doh. Again, part of my over packing problem.
We also tend to over indulge in small airplanes, trains, and monster trucks, but who doesn’t?
I feel like this is another “duh” product that everyone knows about and uses, but in case you haven’t seen these things before, or maybe you haven’t thought to bring them on the plane, do it! This most recent flight, Bennett was more interested in the Play-Doh than the window clings, but let me tell you, when we had downtime at the resort, those boys proudly displayed almost every single window cling we brought on the windows in our room. The best part, they can be used again and again. I found these to be the most economical.
More random small stuff...
The fox sweatband is Bennett’s headphones that he just started allowing me to put on him. They are soft on his ears so if he happens to lean his head against the window or lay in our lap they are not all bulk and in the way. He can easily sleep with this on his head.
I always find a lot of small travel activities in the dollar section at Target. The little Dinosaur book, card games, stickers, etc… all from that (soul sucking) section that you cannot avoid when you first walk in to the mega store.
Have y’all played with Kinetic Sand?!? Ummmm… can we all agree it’s so much better than Play-Doh?!? I always grab a couple packs of it when I see it to throw in for extra fun on the plane. To me it is not nearly as messy.
I also bring a pencil bag (the shark one pictured above) full of those special markers that only mark on special paper. Such magical little things!
Now this Skodzy set was initially introduced to me by Bennett’s speech therapist who has really been such a blessing to our family. For those who may or may not know, Bennett was a late talker and struggled behaviorally (think frustrated because he couldn’t express what he wanted, when he wanted) for a while before starting the therapy. He started right when he turned 3 years old and not even a year later, he is a totally different child. He talks with ease (almost too much now) and is so much happier in life now that he can communicate. I highly recommend this for anyone who thinks their kid needs a little push with speech. Anyway, this activity is great for helping your kids learn their prepositions such as over, under, beside, and on top of. You can say something like, can you put the green peg on top of the red peg, and they will do as you ask. You can make it more complex with numbers and color coordination. My son loves this “game”.
Thoughts about the iPad
So, here are my thoughts on the iPad… I am ALL ABOUT the iPad. My problem is, the iPad is a special treat while traveling, so my kids are not the best navigators on the iPad which causes a lot of melt downs at the absolute worst times on the airplane. Which sucks, this is a double edged sword for me. I don’t want them playing on an iPad at home. When my kids have access to YouTube Kids on the iPad- its like a crazy vortex that takes over their ability to be human beings and they instantly become zombies. Then, when you are on an airplane and you cannot stream YouTube Kids- they are psycho!!! It’s seriously the worst. Now, Bennett is getting better at navigating around and finding matching games that can entertain him an entire 2 hour flight (crazy!!), but with Remy, he is unreasonable and I dread the moment he loses it while playing on the iPad which happens within minutes of getting his little hands on it. I know I will grow to like to iPad… Remy just needs to mature a little bit before I do. For now, it’s my last resort.
The New Carry-On!!
I’m obsessed. Great size, fits right under the seat in front of you on the plane. Some might not like it because it is quite large for small kids, but if your kids are like mine and enjoy having their own bag of tricks, this is a great option! It holds ALL the things! Seems that’s the theme of this post… ALL THE THINGS!
You can find it here.
I hope this post was somewhat helpful! Oh! And if all else fails, SNACKS!!! Bring ALL THE SNACKS!!