Electronics have become a go-to way to keep kids entertained in airports, on car rides, and during airplane flights. But what if you’re committed to a week of unplugged travel and decide to leave electronics behind? Yes, the prospect of flying without gadgets to keep kiddos quiet can feel daunting. But when it comes to how to entertain kids on a plane, there are other ways.
Don’t believe me? Let’s check out some of my favorite kid-tested, parent-approved ways of keeping little ones happy while mid-flight.
The Pros and Cons of Sticker Books
Kids love stickers. They can entertain little ones for hours. The downside of most sticker books, though, is that you have to assist your kids in removing each of the stickers from the page because they’re delicate. That said, sometimes it’s worth it to get hours of quiet time.
From National Geographic Kids’ Cutest Animals Sticker Activity Book to Melissa & Doug’s Reusable Sticker Pads Set, you’ve got many options. There’s also the Workman Publishing’s Paint by Stickers book series that let kids fill in images with geometrically-shaped stickers of various hues. Because of their simple shapes, they prove less fragile and require less involvement from you.
Say “Yes” to Mess-Free Painting
Paint with water activities offer hours of entertainment without the mess, from Sesame Street’s Elmo Imagines to Animal Rescue’s Painting Puppies. But the best sets for in-flight entertainment remain the Melissa & Doug Water Wow! Reusable Activity Pads. They come with their own paintbrush/water dispensers, and no water cups or extra brushes are needed. So, your risk of plane accidents drop to zero. They’re also reusable, which means endless fun.
Not Your Mother’s Magnetic Drawing Board
Magnetic drawing boards have come a long way since we were kids. First of all, many are much larger than they used to be. (So, make sure you purchase one your kids can easily stow in their backpacks.) Secondly, instead of grim grayscale, they now come in multiple colors making them a vibrant, captivating plaything for little ones.
Nix the Play-Doh and Go with Wikki Stix
While many parents who travel swear by Play-Doh, I’ll choose Wikki Stix any day. Why? Because Play-Doh still leads to messes. (Remember the last time you had to remove mashed Play-Doh from your carpet?) But Wikki Stix offer all of the fun of Play-Doh without worrying about messes, drying clay, or colors getting jumbled.
Never heard of them? Wikki Stix are strands of brightly colored yarn dipped in food-grade wax to make them pliable and sticky. Kids can manipulate them into a variety of shapes and creatures using the activity booklet that comes with sets. Check out the Wikki Stix Traveler! for a handy kit that comes with a red carrying case for voyages.
Engage and Entertain with Interactive Books
When it comes to stress-free flying with kids, books remain excellent ways to keep little ones calm and happy. For infants and toddlers, I recommend books that they already know and love. Reading a book they regularly encounter will comfort and calm them.
As kids get older, though, they enjoy the surprises and twists of new stories. Why not bring along an interactive book such as What Should Danny Do? by Adir and Ganit Levy? Like other “choose-your-own-story” style books, readers make decisions for Danny, a Superhero-in-Training. The book empowers kids and helps them understand the connection between actions and consequences.
How to Entertain Kids on a Plane
How to entertain kids on a plane? Start with the mess-free options listed above. Whether you opt for Wikki Stix, interactive books, stickers, or all of the above, your kids can build a backpack filled with fun activities. Not only will this get kids excited to travel, but it’ll ensure a smooth flight for you. And your fellow passengers will thank you, too.
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