Long haul flight (or even an epic car journey) ahead? Sweaty palms be gone. We have some fabulous and some free Kids Travel activities and games to help keep you and your kids sane, while cooped up on a plane. I’ll run you through a few of our personal faves to keep little eyes off screens for a few hours and also give you access to our Free Printable Travel Activity Book for your next trip. That’s right- Part 3 is all about the Entertainment!
Ps: If you missed Parts 1 and 2 you can check them out here.
Activity boxes are seriously worth their weight in gold. One of my all time favourites are from Box For Monkeys. There is something for everyone in their boxes with lots of options to choose from. You can also choose a box based on your child’s age which I love because you know you are going to get fun activities that are actually suitable for your child. I also love that I didn’t have to roam the shops with two young kids trying to source all these fab games and activities myself. Activities can include colouring in books, sticker books, travel sized puzzles, cards and even little craft activities. Conveniently packaged and ready for the trip ahead! The best part is they don’t stop giving after the flight, they are great for keeping the kids entertained for your whole trip.
TIP: If you have a toddler you take it one step further and individually wrap each new item before you leave. Trust me, the excitement of a new toy/game to unwrap every few hours on a long haul is priceless. Make sure you layer the sticky tape on nice and thick (hehehe).
Read more about Box for Monkeys and all their goodies right here.
Have a flying enthusiast or junior pilot in the making? Then you absolutely have to check out the Simply for Flying Flight Log Book. Created by a Mum who also has a love for flying and all things technical, the Flight Log Book allows your child to record each and every flight they take. A bit like their own personal passport for planes.
How it works is really quite simple. The book has two sections to each page, an area for your child to record their flight experiences and an area for the pilots to record actual flight details. At the start of each journey, your child hands their book to one of the flight crew. The flight crew will take it to the pilots during the flight to record the data from the cockpit. Once they return it, your child can then record their experiences. They might like to include what they ate, their seat number or even the flight duration. There is even enough space for a picture for children who prefer to document in images.
The log book is passport size so it will fit in your other documents and has enough space for 42 trips! A whole childhood of flight memories to look back on, priceless. At only $19.95 it is certainly well worth the investment. And because we are massive fans, they are featured in our directory.
Activity Books and Pens/Pencils/Crayons
Who can go past some good old pens and pencils or crayons for entertainment value! They really are the gift that keeps on giving. Grab some paper or an activity book and kids can play games, draw pictures, complete puzzles and write until their hearts content. Not only that but they will actually be learning as they play. Encourage them to draw something they are excited about doing, or something they love about the journey there. They can make fabulous travel mementos to keep with a journal or logbook and look back on. We love Lunables Magic Waxi Crayons– not only are the colours amazing, they’re super easy for all ages to draw with and they’re water soluble! Grab that wet wipe and the tray table colouring in just fades away. Phew. Another great option are TigerTribe’s Magic Painting Worlds. Just fill your brush with some water, let your kids ‘paint’ with it and when it dries it is back to black and white- ready to go again. You can find some TigerTribe options at Urban Baby.
Ok, Ok. I know I said earlier that we were avoiding screen time. But lets face it, sometimes it can be the only way to pass a few hours. I would still recommend keeping it to small sessions rather than an 8 hour binge of Peppa Pig, but if that’s what you need to do in the midst of a mid air tantrum, then you do what ever you need to get through!
An Ipad, tablet or portable DVD player are all great options for travel. They’re readily available from any electronics store like JB HI-Fi, Harvey Norman etc. and because of their popularity you can get something that’s quite reasonably priced too. A lot of budget airlines don’t have entertainment options (unless payed for), so having your own means A. You know what is available on your device and that it is age appropriate for your child, and B. You have it in case of delays and for the duration of your holiday. Kids love to watch their favourite programs or play games on a tablet. They really do help pass the time. Load it up before you leave with educational apps and games (that don’t need internet access) then they can still be benefiting from the time as well. I recommend a good mix of old and new movies and shows, as well as a lot of different apps. My kids love the duplo apps and play school among others. Bonus- They’re FREE.
Investing in some Child friendly Headphones is also a good idea. Kids ears are far more sensitive than ours as adults. BuddyPhone Headphones are specifically designed with this in mind. Theyse noise limiting Headphones include a 4 way audio splitter (perfect for those with one device but a few kiddies), come in super cute designs and are bendable, pull-able, kid proof goodies. Now is the time you grab that shut eye you desperately need, or eat some of the delicious plane food you missed out on before!
Old Fashioned Travel Games
Last cab off the rank that’s always a crowd pleaser are the old fashioned games that you can all play together. Games can work on many skills, counting, imagination, memory, vocabulary. But the best part is they most often work on the vital skill of laughter and communication. We love;
- The Alphabet Game- Someone chooses a theme (travel, food, movies, sport etc). Start at A and name something from that theme beginning which each letter of the alphabet. You can take turns with one letter per person, or if you have older kids you can make it a little more competitive and continue with say, letter A until someone cannot find a new word beginning with that letter. That person loses the round. Continue through until ‘Z’.
- Scissors-Paper-Rock- Enough said really. It brings out the fun in any scenario!
- I-Spy- A fabulous one to play with the toddlers. I can assure you that looking for something starting with “T” is not the toilets. It is in fact the Apple they have sitting in their bag under the seat haha. Play it, trust me!
- Celebrity Head- All you need is a pencil and a piece of paper. Lick it and stick it to your head. Older kids adore celebrity head, as do parents. It’s a great way to connect with your kids and start conversations about who people are as well, after they have or haven’t been guessed of course.
- “I packed my Bag” Memory Game– Each person takes a turn in adding to the packed bag. For example- I packed my bag for (destination) and in it I put (my shoes). The next person then adds to the list. I packed my bag for (destination) and in it I put (my red shirt and shoes), and so on. Not only is it fun- your brain is doing a lot of recall work too.
While being cooped up in a plane for hours on end may not seem ideal, a good way to look at it is as quality time with your kids. Very few distractions and nothing but time to connect and learn more about them. Have a conversation, listen to their stories and tell them your own. Play some games or relax and watch a movie together. Before you know it they will be flying off on their own adventures and you will be wishing you could lock them down for 8 hours straight again. Take a deep breath, get yourself organised and prepared, then try to just enjoy it for what ever it may be.
Do you have any winning travel activities for kids that keep them entertained when all else fails? Share them with us so we can stay sane together x