Ten Ways to Entertain Toddlers on an Airplane

Mother and child in car safety seat

Travelling with a toddler can be rather taxing, especially when your toddler is confined to a small space thousands of miles above the earth. Taking a toddler on a airplane is sometimes necessary, but quite often a great deal of work for the frazzled parents. If you’re facing a trip in the near future, be sure to bring along a large collection of distraction methods sure to entertain your little one while you fly.

1. Movies

Toddlers love to watch television and movies – especially if it’s a rare treat. Use your iPod or personal DVD player to distract your toddler with the latest offerings in shows for those under five. You can even download some of this favourite television shows and store them or burn them to create a highly personalized entertainment venue sure to capture his attention for a short while at least.

2. Songs

Toddlers love songs. Sure you might be surrounded in very close quarters by two hundred of your closest neighbours, but don’t let that stop you from belting out a few time tested favourites. Sing as many toddler songs as you can think of complete with hand motions and then get creative and make up your own versions of songs using his name.

3. Snacks

When you start to run out of songs and movies aren’t holding his attention any longer, break out the snacks. Be sure to pack a small arsenal of finger foods that are safe to eat, delicious for little appetites, and easy to clean up should some spill in transit. At some point you might decide you need a break, too so pack enough for both of you.

4. Toys

It may be extra work lugging that full tote bag with you on the plane, but do it anyway if it means you can bring his favourite toys. Grab a variety of toys and hopefully he can distract himself for a little while.

5. Presents

Everyone likes presents, and toddlers especially like to unwrap gifts. Buy some inexpensive trinkets before your trip and wrap them in left over wrapping paper. Then, as you need them, unpack the items and let your toddler discover new and exciting things. No matter how mundane, a new toy will always be more exciting than a old one for a little while.

6. Tours

Toddlers have a hard time sitting still, so don’t force your toddler to stay in his seat once you’re allowed up and around the cabin. Take him on a tour of the plane from one bathroom to the other. Just be sure to not hold up aisle traffic. If you’re particularly lucky, a flight attendant might let your toddler peek in the cockpit or behind the curtain into the little kitchen they use to warm up those delicious meals.

7. Books

Why not use your time on board to enrich your little one’s education. Or just entertain him with a few good books. Literary classics might be entertaining, but you can also pack a collection of books with your child’s favourite cartoon characters available at your local grocery store. Books with stickers and sounds will be even more treasured.

8. Games

There are so many terrific games you can play with your toddler that you might never have had a chance to try before now. Sitting in close quarters for hours on end gives you lots of time to try I Spy, Simon Says, and any game you are creative enough to make up. Don’t forget to include word and sound games such as “What does a pig say?”

9. Forbidden Treasures

On a typical day you’d be irritated to find your child going through your purse playing with your things. But this is no typical day. Pull out your bag and let your child discover all the many treasures forbidden to him on any other day. Sitting beside him with nothing but time on your hands will let you supervise him well enough to save your lipstick and cell phone while giving him plenty to do.

10. Juice

As the end of the flight draws near, be sure to break out the old staple. Grab that sippy cup and hold your toddler in your lap while he relaxes with some juice. You can ask the flight attendant from some juice or you might even be able to get some milk. A nice glass of milk on a quiet plane might be enough to help him drift off in your arms and you can finally have a rest, too.

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