I’ll never forget traveling from Rome to Toronto in executive class with a one year-old who didn’t sleep a wink. (I’m quite certain the airline had to appease many of our fellow travelers!) Every parent has a ‘bag of tricks’ and we’d love for you to add your own ideas to our 15 ways to entertain kids on an airplane. Having their full attention for so long is a great way to bond and can reveal amazing teaching moments. Even looking at the maps in the airline magazine is an opportunity!
1. Presents: small quiet toys (dolls, cars, puzzles) or treats (jelly beans, sugar-free candy). Allow kids to open a new present every hour.
2. Snacks-grapes, cheese, crackers.
3. Kid friendly doctor’s kit + doll – a great way to teach anatomy (or have the birds and bees discussion)
4. Arts and crafts-coloring their own placements, pictures of places they are visiting, stickers
5. Play simple pen and paper games like tic tac toe, hangman, mazes.
6. Card games-go fish, old maid, poker….
7. Interactive learning toys (iPad, Leapfrog) Make sure they’re all charged! With older kids you can edit videos and work on photo books.
8. Books-bright picture books about your destination and the culture you are visiting.
9. Photographs-small albums with pictures of family/friends you are going to see. They can write stories and make lists of questions to ask about their lives.
10. Finger puppets are great for creativity and storytelling
11. I spy
12. Videos (on tablets, phone). You can rent beforehand from iTunes – the rental period doesn’t begin until the video is played.
13. Take your child for a walk up and down the aisles-they might find the galley interesting
14. Wear colorful beads/jewellery that babies can safely play with
15. Get a map of your destination and your schedule of what to expect for the trip: older kids will like figuring out where they are on the map as well as the places they are going to visit.. Also for older kids-give them a schedule with what to expect for the trip.
Have fun and remember – you hear the crying and fussinees much more then the other passengers do!