Airport parking, check-in, security lines, boarding: travel by plane is rarely a walk in the park. Add kids to the mix and things can get stressful, with the slightest mishap escalating quickly to meltdown of the year. We’ve made the rounds with kiddos in tow: domestic flights, international flights, layovers, delays — and we’ve always arrived to our destination in one piece.
Based on our experience entertaining little ones at 35,000 feet, we’ve put together this list of activities with the hope that you won’t just get to where you’re going, but you and your children may actually enjoy the journey (or at least parts of it).
And don't forget your neck pillows!
Here are a few in-flight activities our kids have loved:
So simple, yet so effective. These stick to anything: Windows, tray tables, seat backs, armrests: wherever is entertaining for your tot. We recommend the mini multi-colored ones for more variation. Layer them, make patterns with them, draw on them, put letters on them to spell words, play tic-tac-toe — post-its offer endless opportunities to pass the time.
While a game of dress-up is tricky on a plane, stick-on mustaches can provide some hilarious entertainment. Stick them under your nose, above your eyebrows, on your chin… get creative! (This one may have been more amusing for us parents than for our babe at the time.)
At home, we do our best to feed our kiddos with healthy, well-rounded meals. When traveling, we let some things slide — and snacks are one of those things. While we still try to give our children the best organic nourishment we can, we also need to keep them happy and occupied for long periods of time. Snacks can make all the difference, especially with foods they’ve never tried. While we always bring a few tried-and-true favorites, we’ll usually also pack some new treats to test out. It’s a gamble since they might not like an unfamiliar snack, but if they do, it’s a lifesaver.
7-Day Pill Box
You may not use a pill box in everyday life, but in the air, we bet your little one will really enjoy discovering a small treat in each of the tiny compartments. Fill each section with something special, then let your kiddo open them one by one to find an exciting surprise inside. This is a perfect place to dabble in your supply of snacks.
This classic toy is easy to bring along and can provide lots of entertainment without a lot of noise — especially if your child has never played with one before! Why not introduce a slinky on your next flight?
The opportunities for fun with this compact toy are endless. Make up storylines as basic or elaborate as you like — or let your kids take the reins and put on a show of their own.
Flights are a great time to introduce your tot to the joy of picture books by authors like Richard Scarry in which there are dozens of illustrations on any given page. Your little one will surely love any books you bring along, but you may find Scarry’s give you more bang for your buck.
A Change of Clothes
If you live with a toddler, you know how many sets of clothes they can go through in a day — and the laundry pile is the proof! The rules don’t change in the air; be sure you’ve got at least one extra pair of clothes so you’re not stuck wrapping them in an airline blanket. On that note, you’ll probably want to pack some layers (and socks!) to put on or shed if the plane is running warm or cool.
Space is at a premium when packing your carry-on bag, but as you choose items to bring, consider what will be a novelty for your toddler. Perhaps a toy that’s been sitting at the bottom of their toy chest for months will feel new again and exciting to rediscover mid-flight. Or if they’ve never played with play dough before, this could be a great time to introduce them (acknowledging the fact that it could get a bit messy). For the sake of your seatmates, leave noisy toys like harmonicas, kazoos or singing toys at home — or stashed away in your check-in.
Note: All of these activities should be done with adult supervision. Also be sure to avoid anything that may be a choking hazard. We can’t underscore enough the importance of preparation for flying with kids. Think about what your child may most enjoy ahead of time so you’re not rushing around the night before, regretting that Amazon order you never got around to. We also find that wrapping each item is a bonus as it will build the excitement and take more time to open.
If your little one drinks formula and you’re traveling within the U.S., the Organic Baby Food Shop is happy to send our organic formula to wherever you are: hotel, rental, anywhere with an address. That’s one less thing for you to pack! Our shipping is fast — and free — with shipments sent daily from each of our four warehouses around the U.S. And our prices can’t be beat.
Have you flown with your toddler? We’d love to hear about how it went and any activities they enjoyed along the way in the comments below.
Author Bio: This post was written in a collaborative effort between the parents of the Organic Baby Food Shop. Our shop proudly offers the best baby formula in the world (made in Europe) to parents here in the U.S. for low prices. Our children love it and yours will, too!