How to Keep Kids Entertained on an Airplane

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How to Keep Kids Entertained on an Airplane

When is the last time that you had little ones with you on an airplane?

It can be good…bad…or downright ugly, right?!  Today, I’d like to share my tips on how to keep kids entertained on an airplane.

First step – fill their backpacks!

It’s all about packing the right airplane tools in their backpack, so to speak.

If they are as comfortable as possible, they are more likely to be in a happy mood and entertained.  And that takes preparation!

Good to start a few days before your trip, so that you’re not scrambling the night before (when you’re already scrambling to pack the whole family to leave!).

Besides the activities, games and books you plan to pack your kiddo, make sure each kid backpack has:

1. A clean T-shirt (and shorts or leggings, if they fit in the backpack!), an extra pair of underwear for each kid (if potty trained), and an extra pair of socks for each kid (tootsies can get cold).

2. Empty freezer Ziplock bag (for any toys that drop on the airplane floor that would be in danger of being put back into your kid’s mouth. EEW).

3. A pack of travel Kleenex.

4. A small package of hand wipes (or baby wipes).

5. A handful of travel sized, kid-friendly snacks.

6. Something to help their little ears pop – my go-to is the “Dum Dum” lollipops (they get one for take-off and one at landing).  You can also have empty sippy cups or water bottles (to fill with water once you’re past security).

How to Keep Kids Entertained on an Airplane 

Pick your favorites!

– Traditional coloring books (or activity books) and crayons (just a small pack or a handful of crayons in a small Ziplock baggie)

Crayola “color wonder” coloring books (no mess!)

– Sticker books

– Fun kid card games, like Old Maid, Go Fish, Crazy Eights…and our new favorite, Uno!

– Mini travel sized puzzles or “board” games (just beware of lots of teeny tiny pieces)

– Small reading books (I put a limit on two per kid, for the plane).

– Mini magnetic “paper dolls” – we like this one.

– Mini Etch-a-Sketches (love these, because NO mess)

– Any Melissa and Doug travel games (so many cute options!)

– Flash cards (think sight words, shapes, colors, math practice, etc.)

– Several small Dollar Store or Target “Dollar Spot” new toys or trinkets…it’s cheap, it’s new, and it makes it feel special for the airplane.  Just make sure to ration out the new items for your trip over AND your trip back.  Avoid anything that makes loud noises!

– Play good old-fashioned games, like “I Spy,” “20 Questions,” – make up silly songs, make up silly stories…just quality time with your kiddos.

– You know all those magazine you take with you on a plane?  Choose one (that is family/kid friendly!) and have your older child circle sight words or make up stories about pictures they see.  Have them tell you, or even write it down and draw their own pictures.

– Have them work on any over-due handwritten thank you notes (or pictures!).  If you don’t have any over-due notes, have them color pictures for friends or family…ideally, the ones you are on your way to see!

– Have your older kiddos start a “travel journal.”  I usually have a few composition books in stock (you can find them almost anywhere).  Have them start their first entry about their airplane experience).

– A portable DVD player with a few DVDs (Make sure to bring kid headphones! And make sure to charge the DVD player in advance).

– And, of course…the infamous iPad or tablet of choice!  Loaded with age appropriate learning games!

 What are your favorite games to play with your kids on an airplane?  Share below!

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