I’ve already given you some survival tips for flights with children in tow. Now you need to know how to keep those little ones occupied.
How to Keep Kids Entertained on Family Vacations
1. Bring a few items in a small carry-on.
I’ve learned not to take very much to entertain my children on flights because they generally get distracted by all the new sights on the plane. But it is good to have a few things in your carry-on. If you ask me, the essentials are: stickers/band-aids/tape and something to stick them on; a snack that takes a long time to eat – like a lollipop; a couple of crayons or pencils (My daughter always likes adding her art to the in-flight magazine.); one new item that’s a surprise (pick up a coloring book or small toy from the dollar store); a couple of your child’s favorite books. You definitely shouldn’t take more than this.
2. Tell stories.
We tell stories in our family. Fiction and non-fiction. While we eat supper, we tell stories. On our family walks, we tell stories. On the plane, we tell stories.
Our 4 year old currently loves to hear stories about when she was a baby. Think of some of your favorite memories and tell them to your children. Our 2 year old asks us to tell him over and over again the same story about when he ate buffalo food when we went to a Bison Ranch in Cheyenne, WY.
When you run out of nonfiction, use your imagination and try fiction! Then give your child a chance to tell a story.
3. Play with your children.
Don’t expect your toddler to entertain himself for the duration of the flight – even with a bag of goodies. Hide a coin in one hand and ask him to guess which hand it’s in. Play tic tac toe. Draw a picture together. Try a game of “I Spy” with the in-flight magazine.
If you’ve been too busy lately, seize the opportunity to spend these hours with your little one!
4. Take a walk.
Getting out of your seat is permitted during much of the flight. If your child is having a tough time sitting, take a walk to the farthest lavatory. Challenge her to count the number of passengers she sees or to meet another child along the way. Do not allow your child to run down the aisles or wander unattended, however. This can be very disturbing to other passengers.
5. Ask the flight attendant for a child pack.
Especially if you’re on a long flight, asking about a special child entertainment pack may be well worth it. If the airline doesn’t offer such a thing, perhaps the flight staff can offer something else. A few plastic cups for your child to stack is better than nothing.
How do you keep your children entertained on flights?