We flew on an airplane a lot with Nora these last 6 months. I think I counted 6 round trips- 12 flights- each way 3-4 hours long. So as a follow-up to my other posts about traveling with babies, here is my top ten list of ways to entertain a toddler on a plane. Or more specifically, my toddler. I'm not sure if these will work for you or not. But I'm going to have to start getting creative because some of these things she's already bored with. Hope they can help someone else out!
1) Playdough. Click on the link for my favorite "recipe". Just pack this up in a ziplock baggy. It's actually not all that messy. I rolled a bunch of little balls and then Nora liked to smash them together.
2) Crayons and a coloring book. I tried markers but they get too messy. So crayons are better for the plane. This is something that is easy to pack and if you get a new coloring book for the plane, it will be a little more exciting.
3) These reusable stickers. I mentioned these before and they really are great toddler entertainment. My biggest complaint is that the book they come in are not very travel-friendly- it's quite large and can be cumbersome on those small trays. Still, it's one of the things that has kept her occupied the longest. And it helped her learn how to say "cheetah", "zebra", "hippo", and "butterfly".
4) But speaking of those reusable stickers, another great way to use them for entertainment is to bring some board books along and hide some of those reusable stickers in different spots. Nora gets really excited when she finds one unexpectedly, and then she spends a long time putting them all back in the book in different spots. Books can get heavy so I usually just bring two to three.
5) Real stickers. I pick up some packs at the dollar store before we leave so they are new. I let her pick off as many as she wants from the sheet. One time Kevin and I wer basically covered in stickers by the time the plane landed.
6) A small jar of random items. It's best if the jar has a somewhat narrow opening so the objects are harder to get out. Like maybe a plastic water bottle (we use an old Medela pump bottle). I put string, one of those empty baby tylenol syringes, q-tips, and some other random crap in there. The first few times I brought this out on the plane it entertained her for like an hour. Now it's lost some of its appeal, but it's so easy to pack.
7) Videos and photos, either on your phone, camera, or other device. This is another major time-user. Nora especially likes home videos with herself and family members involved. Kevin showed me that there are also programs out there that will allow you to save YouTube videos as files, which can then be uploaded to your iPad (or wherever). And if you have an iPad, there are some great toddler apps out there (still testing some out on my new device- if anyone has any great recs, let me know!)
8) Toys with magnets, like this Curious George Toy. I'd say Nora wasn't quite as into this toy but it does entertain her for a little while and it's handy for traveling. There are similar toys out there too.
9) Snacks. Lollipops are good entertainment for take off and landing and provide some entertainment, though it gets sticky so have wipes on hand. We always bring fruit pouches, and cheerios and graham crackers are also easy to pack. If we travel during a meal I usually just get something at the airport that I can share with her, like pizza or a sandwich.
10) Sitting in the window seat. Opening and closing the blinds provides a fair amount of entertainment, as does waving "bye-bye plane" to all the other planes taking off. Though, this may be annoying to other passengers. I figure it is less annoying than a screaming toddler.
I'd have put napping on the list but we're rarely that lucky. I guess the plane is just way too exciting! But that's of course the best activity of all. :)
p.s. Happy birthday to my sister today!! We love you!