10 tips to keep kids busy (and entertained) on a plane
Travelling with children is a great way for them to discover the world! However, many parents are filled with dread at the thought of taking their little ones on an airplane. Get the creative juices flowing and follow these tips… we bet your family’s time in the sky will quickly fly by.
1- Plan ahead!
Keep in mind that after you board you are limited to what you brought in your carry-on. Think about each child’s needs and likes and pack their bag accordingly. Get the kids to help pack their own bag. They will then have their favourite things on hand throughout the trip.
2- Prepare your child
Let’s face it, flying for the first time comes with its share of firsts, some of which may not feel so good. Turbulence, safety warnings, the sensation of taking off, blocked ears – all of these things can be unsettling to children. Take the time to explain what is going to happen and what could happen. They will therefore have an idea of what to expect before they even set foot on the plane.
3- Plan fun surprises
Is your carry-on bag overflowing with games and arts and crafts supplies? Don’t bring take everything out at once and ruin the element of surprise. Unveil goodies in intervals. Buy a new toy before the flight as the ultimate distraction for a tired, cranky kid. You can even go so far as to wrap it to add a little pizzazz to the moment.
4- Consider creative crafts
A 2014 survey by British Airways revealed the top toys that keep children occupied the best and longest are playdough and bracelets made with elastics. Creative activities, such as drawing and crafts, can hold a young traveller’s attention longer than video games and give you a few precious moments to breathe!
5- Feed your imagination… and theirs
It is possible to turn a flight into a wonderful family memory. One of the ways to do this is using next to nothing to play a game. Immerse your little wonders in a fun atmosphere by creating a never-ending story or playing a guessing game like ‘truth or dare’ or ‘I spy with my little eye’ that can keep everyone busy for a while. We predict a lot of belly laughs.
6- The power of books
Books are an almost limitless source of entertainment. Pack some new comic books, youth novels, fairytales. Older kids can read by themselves and the younger ones will love listening to a story or doing a picture puzzle/spot the difference challenge. The perfect activity to lighten the mood and get ready for a nap.
7- Screens: when in need, a friend indeed
Of course, you want to avoid having kids hooked on a screen from takeoff to landing. So, take the time to download movies and educational games that will do the trick… after you have exhausted all your other options. Handheld game consoles can also be a good source of entertainment. Do not forget the headphones! Your fellow passengers will appreciate it.
8- Snack time!
Eating is a great way to keep kids busy and quiet. Add a few of their favourite snacks to your carry-on bag and offer at strategic moments. Do not forget to follow airport security regulations on food items. Be aware that some food, such as yogurt and apple sauce, is considered a liquid and cannot be brought through security.
9- Get moving
There are obvious limits to how much you can move around on a plane, but your little ones will be happy to unwind a bit during a long flight. Taking a stroll down the aisle or doing a few basic stretches when the seatbelt sign is turned off can raise everyone’s comfort level.
10- Sleep? Yes, they can!
While some people can fall asleep anytime, anywhere, the same may not be true for your child, who can display all the obvious signs of fatigue, yet remain bright-eyed and bushy tailed. Keep a few tricks up your sleeve to give you the upper hand and encourage a restorative nap, like having their favourite soft blanket and stuffed animal on hand. It is a well-known fact that you sleep better when surrounded by familiar scents. Headphones playing soft music, a travel pillow, your reassuring presence and voilà… with a whole lot of planning and a little bit of luck, your little adventurer will doze off beside you.