I thought I would write a post that includes some of the things we do, if we are taking the girls on a long flight. Of course it would also work on a short flight too, especially if you have a child who is a fidget bum like my youngest. So here are my ideas to keep the children aged 3 + entertained on a flight.
Sit down and work out your route to the airport, where the passports are, pack the tickets and money, find out how long you need to be at the airport before your flight. Make a check list and stick to it, it will honestly make you feel less stress, and so make entertaining the children easier on the flight in the long run.
2. Split the time.
I like to think of the flight split into sections. I know Miss A would only watch the in-flight entertainment for a half hour at a time, so I would plan on her doing this for a couple of times during the flight, and then work out other activities to do as well for the rest of the time. I also factor in meal, which keep her entertained usually for another half an hour each time. This helps me focus on what time is remaining. The first half hour and usually the last half an hour too, is spent chatting, buckling up, packing away our things and getting excited about the holiday usually, so that another section of time. You never know, you may even get them to squeeze a nap in there too!
3. Travel Journal
I like to pick up cheap notepads, and decorate them for the children. Make something that only costs £1, look a little bit more special and personalised. A lined one for Miss N who is 10 years old and loves writing stories or to use as a travel diary, she always loves making a start on this on the flight as well. It also a good idea, to add some inspirational ideas in the book, post it notes with suggestions or topics too.
Miss A (4) however as she is younger, I would usually buy a plain paper notebook. She can then doodle, colour and practice her numbers and letters in. Again I would add a few things in there, I usually glue a few photographs of the family in there as well, as small children seem to love looking at photographs.
4. Pens, pencils and colouring books.
A trip to the local stationery shop, to stock up on pens and pencils, all children (and lots of adults) love new stationery. I buy washable pens, even for my 10-year-old for the flight, it a cramped space, so makes life easier, if pen does get on their clothing. For my younger daughter, we love the twistable pencil crayons, they are mess free, you don’t even need a sharpener. I also buy a couple of cheap colouring books, only thin small ones, that aren’t too bulky, look out for ones that include stickers too.
5. Reading books and a bedtime story.
Bringing books on board an airplane, is perfect for helping to give you all some quiet time. It really depends on the child, but with us Miss N (10) being older she loves to choose a new book, to take with her on the flight, and that’s all part of the exciting build up of a holiday. Whereas with Miss A, she prefers an old favourite, she finds it comforting. Whilst on a flight its impossible to really follow the bedtime routine, but one area we don’t skip is a bedtime story, so we always include a small book for this.
Some healthy snacks are again really a great idea. We go for a selection of things, as in the above photograph, maybe some bread sticks too. You do have to remember that even healthy snacks contain sugar though, so space them out on the trip. You can also see Kinder Eggs, I think these are great as a treat and toy all in one, it helps that Miss A is obsessed with them. Last year I also bought strawberry laces and a small bag of cheerios, and Miss A spent such a long time trying to thread them on the lace, and she got to eat it at the end.
7. Handheld game
This is a great one I think for older children. You can control what the games are that they are playing, and it something the whole family can use. We don’t currently have one, but I recently have been looking at the Playstation Vita which I think would work brilliantly for a flight, just make sure you bring compatible earphones for it too.
8. Word Games
I was first introduced to Bananagrams last year, they are great to pop in a carry on bag, there are a lot of different games to choose from depending on the age of your child. You can even do you own, how about a game of hangman, children always love playing things like noughts and crosses or battleships too.
9. Wrap it up!
An important point I think, is to make sure that you get out the things you are entertaining the children with periodically. I have even been known to wrap a couple of cheap toys up and put them in the bag, it just adds to the excitement, and you really don’t need to spend very much. I love any of the Pound shops for this kind of thing.
I know that easy for me to say. However, if you can, you should all get some sleep, take advantage of the blankets and pillows given on the plane, snuggle down and catch a movie. Relax, daydream and chat about the holiday adventures you are about to have, or have just had. Bliss!
Thank you for reading
Like this post? Here’s another I wrote – What to have on your carry on, for a long haul flight.