They’re excited! Traveling by plane is new and exciting. Most kids can’t sit still while waiting to board the plane, never mind expecting them to sit in a seat for hours. And for me sitting in a cramped spot for a number of hours with my fidgety children doesn’t exactly top my list of my favorite things to do. However, when it comes to traveling, it is something we all must face, whether it be an airplane or a car and it really can be fun for all. I see you shaking your head, but it can be a good time with a little planning. Really!
As my family and I are getting ready to head to Disney in a matter of days. I’ve compiled my favorite fairly inexpensive, easy to pack and still entertaining products to keep them busy while we fly the friendly skies.
We all know about electronic devices whether it be a tablet or phone, a travel DVD player, or other small game playing device, so I’m going to focus on non-electronic devices in this post.
My boys big and small love Aqua Doodle - Travel Doodle. It’s thin, thus making it easy to pack in your carry on. It comes with its own pen that uses water to draw. This is a great mess-free drawing pad! If you’re taking it on a plane, you will need to bring it through security without water. Then fill up the ‘pen’ in the bathroom sink. Now draw with the water pen on the Travel Doodle. The magic is as it dries, it disappears so your kids can draw over and over again.
Pick up an unlined journal and washable markers and your child can make their own “book”. My younger child loves to draw pictures and then togehter we create a story to go with his pictures. My older child loves to write a story complete with illustrations. It’s fun, educational and keeps them busy. Also, with the washable markers, easy cleanup if they write on themselves or on the tray table.
If you want to get fancy, Lakeshore Learning has a Draw and Write Children's Journal that is pretty awesome for writing and illustrating a story.
Always a favorite for little fingers are Sticker books. Using their fine motor skills (or mom/dad’s help) peeling the stickers off and being able to pick where they go is a fun activity! A search on Amazon for Sticker books will pull up lots of results. Here are some my recommendations that my kids have enjoyed.
Build Your Own Cupcake Sticker Book. This is a tiny, fits in your hand sticker book
Frozen Sticker Book – Disney’s Elsa & Anna and all their friends in this full color fun sticker book.
LEGO DC Comics Super Hero Sticker Book- Great for fans of all ages!
Like a pipe cleaner but better! Wikki Stix are made of a waxy material that not only make them safe for little hands but they stick together much easier than pipe cleaners. I have always been nervous of my child poking themselves in the eye with a pipe cleaner. Also, I’m not even sure pipe cleaners would make it through airport security so play it safe and order some Wikki Stix for your next airplane trip and see what fun creations you and your kids can come up with!
Reading books although fun may be hard to do with the airplane noise, never mind the people around you may not want to hear you reading a story. Picture books are easy to go through especially for toddlers.
My First Body Board Book was one of my son’s favorites when he was younger. Pointing at each of the pictures and telling your child what each body part is or just let the child flip through the book themselves.
A Squirrel's Tale was a favorite of my older son when he was a toddler. This book has a cardboard cut out of a squirrel which passes through a slot on each page. The squirrel got used so often, we had to buy another copy of this book so he could continue his adventure over and over again!
This is probably one of my favorite things to get due to the sheer multitude of variety available.
Melissa & Doug On The Go Books are awesome due to their size, easy to do and come with their own marker. Some of our favorites are ColorBlast! Dinosaur, Jungle Animal Safari Drawing Pad and Secret Decoder.
Nothing beats a few crayons and a coloring book or some plain paper. But if your child intentionally or not, colors on the airplane tray, you may wish you had something like Crayola Color Wonder Disney Preschool Coloring Pad which allows your child to color but mess free! The markers only work on the special Crayola paper. Win-win!
Another Sticker Activity
This is a twist on the normal sticker activity books. It’s like a puzzle with puffy sticker pieces. Better for kids with better fine motor skills. My older son is very excited to take on the challenge of Melissa & Doug’s Undersea Fantasy Stained Glass.
When you go
Don’t show everything at once! Keep the element of surprise on your side. Show one thing at a time and then wait. Let them have a snack and stare out the window. Maybe, just maybe they will close their little eyes and you could all have a little quiet!
Consider packing half of your airplane activities in your suitcase for the way home! The way back can be just as long as getting there else you now have a fussy kid because the excitement of getting to a new place is long gone. So be sure to keep some fun stuff on hand for the return trip!
And finally, don’t forget snacks, a small blanket, their favorite cuddle friend and wipes!
Have a great time on your trip!
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Originally published October 2015. Updated September 2017.