Travelling with Children
Are you looking for fun things to do on a plane to entertain your children? Travelling with children on a plane can be the worst part of any family holiday. A long flight for little ones is often boring and with boredom comes restlessness and as the saying goes, ‘An idol mind is the devil’s playground‘.
Parents spend countless hours trying to entertain their children. Surveys report that the most annoying part of any flight is noisy and disruptive children; not to mention crying babies. Anyone with children however will know how hard it is, and embarrasing when your little one just wont sit still (or quiet).
If you are planning a family holiday and looking for some fun things to do on a plane, here are 20 activities for children that should keep them entertained over and over. These activities will help keep them out of trouble and hopefully stop them disturbing other passengers who are not happy when their seat is repeatedly kicked or those who are not interested in your child’s quirky face-pulling antics.
If you have a fear of flying yourself, keeping your mind off the flight works wonders. Maybe you will enjoy these activities too.
In no particular order, here are 20 fun activities to do on a plane.
1. Scavenger Hunt: With the help of the FREE in-flight magazine, take your child on a scavenger hunt. As you flick through the pages, ask questions such as, “Can you see a red shape?”, or “Can you find three different animals?”. Be as creative as you can depending on the content of the page. For older children, you could get them to trace letters or words to practice their writing and spelling.
2. Where’s Wally: The good old-fashioned entertainment book which requires you to locate the character of Wally in very detailed scenes. Tough even for the adults.
3: Animalia: A beautifully illustrated book which requires you to locate items specific to the letter of the alphabet, and with a keen eye you will find thousands of animals and hidden objects. If you are not keen on the lugging the book on holiday, you can download the app from iTunes for your iPhone or iPad.
4. Creative Story Time: Have your child make up a creative story. Use the things surrounding you in the plane as inspiration, or their plans and dreams for the holiday. You could also start off a story and have them fill in the gaps.
5. Creative Writing: With the art of letter writing fading due to the use of technology, how about asking them to put pen to paper and start to write a diary for their holiday, a postcard to grandma or a letter to a friend about their trip so far. You could extend this activity throughout the holiday and make it a memorable record of their trip. Equip yourself with one of these newest boogie boards to write on and the kids will love it!
6. Create their own backpack: Pre-purchase cloth backpack and have your child color it and decorate it in the theme of their choice and then it can be used to carry all of their activities with them off the plane. These backpacks come in a variety of themes – sea life, sport etc so there is surely one to suit your child.
7. Temporary Tattoos: For a bit of fun, put some temporary tattoos on the arms or hands of your children. You can get tattoos that are themed so if you are travelling around halloween, for example, get some halloween tattoos. No mess and easy to wash off.
8. Scratch and Sniff: Have some fun with a scratch and sniff book or a sheet of scratch and sniff stickers. The smelling options are almost endless.
9. Magna Doodle: Always a lot of fun, for adults too and in a travel size this is a great way to get their fingers active.
10: FREE iphone or iPad games: Pre-load some free interactive games from iTunes onto your iPhone or iPad and surprise your children. There are so many free apps these days. Just make sure that the games do not require internet access as you are limited to use in most airlines.
Things to do on a plane – Tips
Pack a surprise pack – if your child has been a part of helping to select their in-flight activities, make sure you keep a couple of things ‘secret’ from them and produce them when needed. This surprise pack can be small and can contain some of their favourite snacks, stickers or anything else that is small.
Another idea is to make a number of small surprise packs which you can produce at intervals throughout the flight. For example if your flight is a 3 hours, produce one ever hour or mid way thorough.
11. FREE fun games: For the smaller children, games like peek-a-boo can provide endless joy and for the older children, more interactive games such as ‘I Spy With My Little Eye’.
12. FREE airline activity kits: Most airlines offer children free activity packs that can often contain pencils, a coloring book and some other toys. They may not freely provide these so just ask; it may be worth asking the flight attendants as you board the plane to bring one as a surprise for your child.
13. Go for a walk: Depending on the size of the plane and the level of patience your child has, going for a short walk up and down the aisles can provide enough entertainment for them. They can chat to the flight attendants, look out the door windows and maybe they will see other children on the plane that they can interact with.
14. Visit the Cockpit: A pre-arranged visit to the cockpit of a plane for the older kids is a great treat and incentive for them to behave. This is an exciting activity for kids of all ages!
15. Relax time: As hard as this sounds, children also need a break from activity. A short break can free up their minds and give them the energy to go on. It could also mean they use this time to entertain themselves. You never know what they may come up with alone.
16. Activity Kits: Using a pre-packaged activity kit means all the hard work has been done for you. These kits come with lots of different pens, papers, and puzzles.
17. Get crafty: Make a collage of pictures using images, faces, words, shapes and anything else that catches your child’s eye. Using a glue stick, a scrapbook and some old magazines that can be disposed of at the end of the flight.
18. Origami: Folding colorful paper into different animals and shapes is lots of fun. You can download free guides from the internet and use your own colored pieces of paper or buy an origami kit which will have papers, a book and lots of activities.
19. Card Games: Depending on the age of your child, you could play UNO, Snap, Fish or make up a game of your own. Use a standard pack of cards or cards in a particular theme that they enjoy.
20. Magnetic Games: There are many suitable travel games you can take on a plane using a magnetic board. Scrabble, dominos or just letters and numbers. The magnetic board means less chance you will lose bits and pieces.
Hydrate Hydrate Hydrate
Remember to drink water ~ keep your children hydrated on all flights!
Limit sugar intake
Before the flight, try to limit sugar intake and any foods with caffeine or artificial coloring. This will avoid any overstimulation.
When all else fails and nothing, absolutely nothing will make your child quiet or entertained then just realise that the flight will soon be over and you will never ever see these people again. Let’s just hope they do not get on your tour bus! Anyone on the flight with children of their own will understand your frustrations and those without just have to deal with it. Sometimes the flight attendants can help to entertain your children for a short time too. Be creative and be adaptable.
Have a fun and safe holiday.
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