Toddlers on a Long Flight: Airplane Busy Bags
Entertaining a wiggly and sometimes-whiny little toddler or baby for ten hours in a teeny tiny contained space was one of those things I just pretended in my head I wasn’t going to be doing, up until, hmm....maybe the day before. DENIAL.
I'd say for this trip, we kept our expectations low. Jeff is the optimist in our family, but I am a realist through and through. THIS FLIGHT IS JUST GONNA SUCK.
I guess that’s the good thing about being a realist, is that you can be pleasantly surprised when something is actually better than you thought. We were fortunate enough to have extra leg room (aka play/sleep space) on the way over, and a full extra row all to ourselves on the outbound trip. (Hint: it never hurts to ask! Ask for extra seats even if you have to sit in the back). Between crawling all over the place, taking little naps, cruising the aisles a little, eating, pounding on the iPad and destroying my phone, the girls made it out okay, and so did we. (Wine helped significantly...do yourself a favor on this one).
In addition to taking little naps, here are the WINNER items that kept Lola (age 1) busy. I’m only including the things that she actually played with. And I don’t know how you all feel about kids and screen time but we are….100% fine with it on flights. Have at it, kiddos. The glazed-over look will eventually subside in a day or two. Ella (age 5) entertained herself quite nicely with about four movies, and maybe five minutes of coloring and reading.
Snacks galore. Snack grabber container, fruit roll ups, baby food pouches, goldfish or other crackers, Little Duck dried fruit
Sippee cup - I love the Pura bottle for travel (and zero plastic in this! More on nasty plastics in another post).
Ziplock with big crayons and paper. This was one of Lola's top picks.
Little mini animals - she set these up all over the place.
Masking tape. Stick it on everything in sight, roll it up into sticky balls, make designs, tape your hand up and let them peel it off!
Books - peek-a-boo and pop-up
Mini magnetic coloring pad
Finger puppets - Ikea
Cassette tape - unroll it!
Rubber gloves - blow them up! Another winner.
I grabbed an old toiletry bag and loaded it up with junk from around the house…a roll of floss, keychain, a giant clip, cotton balls, sunglasses, a mini flashlight, a bracelet, you get it. It took me two minutes of fishing through our junk drawer in the kitchen. Random crap no one cares about that a toddler will love to fondle.
Scroll through family pictures / videos on your phone or iPad.
Make some friends on the plane…chatting definitely passes the time and kept Lola entertained.
Go for walks down the aisles.
Take a nap. Lola actually slept on the empty row! I couldn't believe my eyes.
And then, there are the baby apps. I didn't really even know they existed but alas, there are other parents in this same position, who resorted to letting their babe play on the iPad at an embarrassingly early age (I told myself that to feel better). Below are some interactive apps geared for her age, that kept Lola happy here and there when we needed it! (We always put the device in airplane mode beforehand).
This little iPhone cover protects the home button so baby can't push it. They also make them for iPads. There are several different ones available.
And lastly, don't forget things like PJs, diapers/wipes, a change of clothes, blankies, sanitizing wipes, hand sanitizer (I use Honest), and a cozy sweater that can also double as a nursing cover.
Are you thinking about traveling with your kiddos? Drop me an email if you have any questions!
Nighty night friends. xoxo!