Keeping the kids entertained on a long-haul flight is no easy feat. Looking for a few alternatives to handing them an iPad? Here are six tips to stave off mid-flight boredom for an all-round happier trip.
1. Pack a toddler aeroplane bag
Letting the kids pack their own flight bag is a great way to get them excited about a trip. Encourage them to pick out their favourite books, toys, games and colouring pads. You might also want to treat them to a few inexpensive pocket toys or sweets to add to their collection. Once they’ve chosen their preferred items, pack the bag away until your flight. Once you’re up in the air, you’ll instantly have a bag full of goodies to keep them busy.
2. Bring washable crayons, paper and colouring books
Pretty much all kids like to colour, and it’s an activity that mums and dads can easily join too. To avoid the potential of them scribbling all over the seatbacks, invest in a set of washable crayons so you can easily clean their wayward doodles with a wet wipe.
3. Stage storytime with finger puppets
Give storytime an added sense of fun by retelling a classic fairy-tale using finger puppets as the characters. You can buy themed finger puppets online, but even better – get the kids to help you make your own handmade versions at home. As well as retelling a classic story, you could get creative and encourage your kids to help you come up with your very own finger puppet-led fairy-tale.
4. Pack a surprise (or two)
During your flight, you might quickly realize you’ve exhausted all the distractions intended to provide hours of entertainment. Now’s the time to whip out your secret surprise toy(s). Picking up a new toy or game before the flight is a great way to put a smile on their face mid-flight. Alternatively, buy a selection of inexpensive toys and wrap them up like a gift. Make it a rule that they can unwrap a treat every half an hour – a tactic for spreading out the entertainment.
5. Bring interactive books
Given that a lot of children’s books take minutes to read, it’s worth packing a few with interactive elements to them. Touch-and-feel books are ideal for toddlers, while a classic “I Spy” or “Where’s Wally”? is perfect for older ones. As well as being noise-free (a big plus when flying long haul), interactive books will keep them entertained far longer than your standard children’s tale.
6. Write postcards to send home
Before your trip, pick up a special pack of pencils and postcards for some inflight scribbling. Ask your child to think about all the new sights and sounds they’ve seen that day, from arriving at the airport to getting on the aeroplane. During the flight, they can then write a postcard to a friend or relative describing their adventure so far – a game that can easily be replicated for the return journey home.