Planning a trip? When it’s time for a family vacation or a visit to see family, a plane ride with kids can be stressful for the whole family. Whether you’re flying with kids for the first time, or they’re seasoned travelers, we have some fun ways to entertain the kids on the airplane and activities they’ll enjoy before take off.
Travel Activities for Kids
Before your trip it’s always fun to explore airplanes and travel through activities. Talking about what to expect, crafts, and even setting up a pretend play airport are all great activities that will encourage learning.
You can use these travel activities for kids to create an exciting experience for the whole family.
1. Find out what type of airplane you’ll be flying on and look up pictures of it online. Print out a coloring page of the airplane or make a paper airplane model.
2. Learn about the city you’ll be flying into and out of. Look up fun information about the locations and talk about what you’ll be doing as a family while you’re there.
3. Talk about interesting facts like, “how fast does and airplane go,” or identify the different parts of a plane.
4. Print out our kids’ travel journal (link below) to document your trip. It has fun activities and places to document your trip.
5. Pack a small travel backpack together with items to keep your child occupied during the flight. Include items such as coloring books, crayons, a few small toys, books, and snacks.
Traveling with Kids on a Plane
If your child is flying for the first time, there are a few things you can do to help them prepare for the experience:
1. Talk about what will happen during the flight. Explain that they’ll be sitting in a seat with a seatbelt and may have to stay seated for takeoff and landing.
2. Help them understand what turbulence is and that it’s perfectly normal. It may help to tell them that it feels like the plane is bouncing or going over bumps in the road.
3. Let them know that they’ll be able to see out the window and watch as the plane takes off and lands.
4. Help them understand what the different noises on the plane are and how they help the plane fly.
5. If your child is old enough, show them a map of the route you’ll be taking so they can follow along during the flight.
6. Most importantly, assure them that flying is safe and that you’ll be there with them the whole time.
Entertaining Kids at the Airport
Anyone who has been around children knows that they get restless easily. Having a place for a child to run around helps them get the wiggles out before they have to sit on the airplane for hours.
Here are a few helpful tips for entertaining the kids at the airport:
- When you’re at the airport, take advantage of the open spaces to let your children run and play.
- Check if your airport has a play area for kids. Some larger airports have dedicated areas for children to play before their flight.
- Take a walk around the gates and play the alphabet game or I-Spy.
Airplane Activities for Toddlers
Toddlers are full of energy and may need to be up and moving more than older kids. Running off energy in the airport might a good idea & be more important for little ones, so plan on taking a walk or finding an empty gate to play at while you wait to board.
You’ll also want to make sure you bring along a few favorite small toys to keep them occupied or mess-free activities. Hit the dollar store or Dollar Spot at Target for inexpensive activities that can be spaced out during the flight for entertainment.
A few more tips for traveling with a toddler are:
- Try to get a seat with an empty seat beside you so your toddler can have a place to play without bothering other passengers.
- Plan on bringing along snacks and drinks to keep them hydrated and fed.
- Make sure you have a change of clothes in case of spills or accidents.
- Bring along a favorite small blanket or stuffed animal for naptime or bedtime.
Activities for Kids On a Plane
Once you’re on the plane, there are still plenty of ways to keep your kids occupied. Here a few suggestions for things to do on a planer:
1. Bring along small toys, books, and coloring pages to help them pass the time.
2. If you have a portable DVD player or tablet, bring along some of their favorite movies or shows to keep them entertained. Just be sure to bring headphones!
3. Many newer planes have in-seat entertainment systems with a variety of kid-friendly options. If your plane has this, be sure to take advantage of it.
4. Pack some snacks and drinks for the flight to help keep everyone happy.
5. Get up and walk around the cabin with your kids every once in a while to help them stay active.
6. If your child starts to feel uncomfortable or anxious, explain what’s happening and offer reassurance.
There are several distractions on planes. Discuss each item you notice from where you’re sitting. Windows, exit windows, the aisle, the pilot, and the flight attendant are just a few of them.
There’s so much to talk about when traveling by air! As your children learn all of this exciting new information, watch their faces light up with each new discovery.
It doesn’t have to be a stressful experience to fly with your children. With a little planning and onboard entertainment, you can turn it into a fun and entertaining journey for the entire family!
With all of these tips, you should be able to get through that long plane flight with little stress for both you and your kids. If all else fails, remember that the trip will be over before you know it and you’ll be able to relax at your destination. Happy flying!