Any parent that has packed their kid’s bag for a trip is always trying to think of the latest and greatest to bring on an airplane. One of my first rules of traveling is keep things as simple as possible. I don’t like bringing a lot of excess with me on the plane, however, I do try and remain realistic that a child sitting anywhere for a long period of time (even the best of children) are to get bored. Most of the things that I pack for an airplane are things that they don’t get to use anywhere else. It helps keep their attention a little longer, unless it is their tried and true, beloved without fail toys (those come too). I have seen some ideas of people wrapping the news toys, bringing a baggie of surprises…I don’t have time for that. I think that keeping these things out of sight until you get on the plane (or while you are packing at least) helps build the excitement just fine. You know your kids best, but here is a helpful guide of seven fun ideas for your kids carry on luggage to help keep them entertained for the flight, and while on vacation.
Hot Wheel Cars
The wonderful thing about Hot Wheel Cars is the sheer fact that they are cheap and portable. If you lose one, its fine. My son is a total car fanatic and could stay busy with Hot Wheel Cars for days. I limit the number of cars to his age. That is a good way for us to keep track of them on the trip. So for example, he is 6, so he gets to bring 6 cars with him.
Deck of Cards
One of the best things about being on an airplane, is uninterrupted family time. I know that sounds kind of corny, but sitting on an airplane actually forces you to sit down and interact with your kids. So put down the phone and engage with them! I love using plane rides to teach the kids new card games. Even the younger ones can learn how to play “Go Fish” or “Old Maid”. Another favorite card deck of ours (that I use not just on planes but also at restaurants) is the Disney Eye Found It game. My daughter and I started playing it when she was 2 and a half.
I am still trying to see the obsession with these toys, but I have embraced the fact that they are small and keep the kids entertained for hours. I like to pack all of these in a small travel cosmetic size bag. We take them with us on the plane, but they end up coming to the pool and restaurants with us as well.
Coloring Books , Color by Number, Dot to Dot, Crossword, Suduko, Tic Tac Toe
If your kid is into coloring, then I recommend bringing along a fun new coloring book, a color by number, or even a dot to dot book. They make so many different types of these books now, with varying degrees of difficulty, it’s easy to find one that is perfect for your child’s skill level. I put all of the coloring tools and books in one freezer size Ziploc baggie.
Sticker by Number Books
Have you ever seen these? My daughter received one for her birthday last year, and we all fell in love. Perfect activity to keep the kids occupied and entertained on the plane. They have to match the stickers to the correct number on the pages to create a picture. My younger daughter (born in 2014) is able to do these with help from me. The older two kids (2010 & 2012) are able to do these independently. It’s amazing how quiet it gets when they are working on these!
These little books are super popular with my kids. They work with all ages, although I think most enjoyed by the little ones (toddler and preschool age). All you need is the book, and access to water to fill the magic paint brush. The best part about them is that you can reuse them over and over again. *mom tip* I don’t let my kids play with these at home. I only bring them for plane rides. It helps keep their interest if it is something that they don’t get to use everyday.
Old Phone/ iPad
(there is that iPad idea…guess who decided to add this to the list? My husband, Dave! I am not an iPad mom. Does this mean I don’t let my kids go on an iPad. No! Absolutely not. Our kids do not get iPad time at home, so this is anabsolute treat and holds the kids attention indefinitely. Is an iPad easy, and super convenient, yes! If my husband was in charge of the packing that is all he would pack the kids. And they would love it! Make sure you upload age appropriate games, and apps before leaving for your trip. Also make sure to upload at least one, but probably 2-3 movies if memory allows. Also- I just found these amazing headphones called CozyPhones. They are perfect for the little ones that can never seem to keep headphones on! If you don’t have an iPad just laying around, an old phone would also work for the kids. Erase all the old stuff, and upload some engaging apps and movies.
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