Kids Airplane Activities: Ultimate Guide to Happy & Entertained Little Travelers

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Flying with kids can be a challenge, but not when you’re armed with the right activities!Kids Airplane Activities: Ultimate Guide to Happy & Entertained Little Travelers If you’re tired of hearing “are we there yet?” and dreading the next in-flight meltdown, you’ve come to the right place. In this blog post, we’ll share the best kids airplane activities to make your next flight a breeze!

✈️ TL;DR:

  1. 40% of kids get bored within the first 30 minutes of a flight
  2. Preparation is key for stress-free family air travel
  3. Children under 2 are more prone to ear pain during flights
  4. Discover fun and engaging activities to keep kids entertained
  5. Learn insider tips and personal experiences from travel expert Kevin Erickson

Also check out: Airplane healthy snacks

🧳 The Importance of Pre-Flight Preparation

Fact: According to a survey conducted by Expedia, 40% of parents reported that their children get bored within the first 30 minutes of a flight. Preparation is key to a successful family trip, especially when it comes to keeping your little ones entertained on long flights. As family travel expert Nancy Schretter says, “Air travel can be stressful for families, but with a little preparation, it can be a lot of fun too.”

✈️ In-Flight Activity Ideas for Kids

There’s no shortage of airplane activities to keep your kids entertained. Here are some favorites:

  • Activity Books: Crossword puzzles, coloring pages, and sticker books are great for keeping kids engaged.
  • Tablet or Smartphone: Download kid-friendly games and apps before your trip. Don’t forget your headphones!
  • Travel Games: Bring travel-sized board games or card games that are easy to play in a confined space.
  • Arts and Crafts: Pack pipe cleaners, origami paper, or embroidery floss for DIY in-flight fun.
  • Books and Audiobooks: Choose age-appropriate books or audiobooks to encourage reading and listening skills.

👂 Ear Pain Prevention and Relief

Statistic: A study by the American Academy of Pediatrics found that children under the age of 2 are at a higher risk for ear pain and discomfort during air travel due to changes in cabin pressure. To minimize discomfort, try these tips:

  • Encourage swallowing: Offer a pacifier, bottle, or snack during takeoff and landing.
  • Use earplugs: Child-sized earplugs can help reduce pressure changes.
  • Try an over-the-counter pain reliever: Consult your pediatrician before administering any medication.

🕵️ Insider Tips and Personal Experiences

As a seasoned travel journalist and father, I’ve learned a thing or two about flying with kids. Here are some of my favorite tips:

  • Set expectations: Explain the travel process to your kids and let them know how long the flight will be.
  • Involve them in planning: Allow your kids to choose some activities and pack their carry-on bags.
  • Stay organized: Use a packing cube or zip lock bag to keep activity supplies together and easy to access.
  • Practice patience: Remember, kids can sense your stress. Stay calm and positive to set the tone for the entire trip.
  • Take breaks: Encourage kids to stretch their legs and move around when it’s safe to do so.

🌟 Bonus Activities for the Creative Traveler

Looking for something a bit different? Try these unique and engaging kids airplane

  • Window Seat Art: Bring washable window markers and let your kids turn the airplane window into a canvas.
  • Travel Journal: Encourage older kids to document their trip with a travel journal, including drawings and thoughts about their experiences.
  • Scavenger Hunt: Create a list of items for your kids to find on the plane, like a blue suitcase or a flight attendant wearing a certain color.
  • Storytelling: Invent stories with your kids using the people and objects around you as inspiration.
  • Learn a New Skill: Use the travel time to teach your kids a new skill, like knitting or solving a Rubik’s Cube.

🌍 Making the Most of Your Family Adventure

Remember, the journey is just as important as the destination. Embrace the challenges and joys of family travel, and create memories that will last a lifetime. By implementing these kids airplane activities and tips, you’ll ensure a smoother and more enjoyable flight for everyone on board.

You should also read: Airplane Wifi costs

✈️ FAQs: Kids Airplane Activities

  • Q: How can I keep my child entertained on a long flight? A: Pack a variety of activities, such as activity books, travel games, arts and crafts, and electronic devices with kid-friendly apps.
  • Q: What can I do to prevent ear pain in young children during flights? A: Encourage swallowing during takeoff and landing, use child-sized earplugs, and consult your pediatrician about over-the-counter pain relievers.
  • Q: How can I set expectations for my kids about air travel? A: Explain the travel process, including airport security and flight duration, and involve them in planning and packing for the trip.
  • Q: What are some unique airplane activities for kids? A: Consider window seat art, a travel journal, an in-flight scavenger hunt, storytelling, or learning a new skill.
  • Q: How can I stay organized while traveling with kids? A: Use packing cubes or ziplock bags to keep activity supplies together, and encourage kids to keep their carry-on bags neat and tidy.
  • Q: How can I minimize stress when flying with kids? A: Practice patience, remain positive, and take breaks when needed. Remember, kids can sense your stress, so stay calm to set the tone for the entire trip.

👨👩👧👦 Traveling With Kids of Different Ages

It’s important to consider your children’s ages and interests when planning airplane activities. Here are some age-specific suggestions to keep everyone entertained:

Toddlers (1-3 years)

  • Soft toys or stuffed animals
  • Simple puzzles or shape sorters
  • Magnetic drawing boards
  • Interactive storybooks
  • Favorite snacks and sippy cups

Preschoolers (4-5 years)

  • Coloring books and crayons
  • Memory games and flashcards
  • Reusable sticker sets
  • Small building sets, like LEGO
  • Age-appropriate movies or TV shows

School-Age Children (6-12 years)

  • Activity books or word searches
  • Travel-sized board games
  • Tablet or handheld gaming device
  • Drawing or sketching materials
  • Age-appropriate novels or magazines

Teens (13-18 years)

  • Books or e-readers
  • Music or audiobooks with headphones
  • Journals or notebooks for writing
  • Portable chargers for electronic devices
  • Travel-size beauty or grooming products

🔋 Keeping Electronics Charged and Ready

Long flights can drain your devices’ batteries, so it’s important to have a plan in place for keeping them charged. Here are some tips for managing battery life during flights:

  • Bring a portable charger or power bank
  • Carry extra charging cables
  • Set devices to airplane mode to conserve battery life
  • Check if your airline offers in-seat power outlets or USB ports
  • Charge devices fully before boarding the plane

By following these tips and incorporating the suggested kids airplane activities, you’ll be well-prepared for a smooth and enjoyable flight with your family. Remember, the key to a successful trip lies in preparation, flexibility, and a positive attitude. 

🎁 Creating a Travel Surprise Bag

One of the most exciting ways to keep your kids engaged during a flight is by creating a travel surprise bag filled with new and interesting items. This can not only capture their attention but also build anticipation throughout the trip. Here’s how to make a travel surprise bag for your little ones:

  • Choose a bag: Pick a small, lightweight bag that’s easy to carry and open. A drawstring bag or a small backpack is ideal.
  • Fill it with surprises: Include a mix of age-appropriate toys, games, and activities. Opt for items that are small, lightweight, and easy to pack. Think about including items like mini puzzles, stickers, coloring books, small action figures, or a new book.
  • Add snacks: Include some of your child’s favorite snacks, as well as a few new ones to try. Opt for non-perishable, mess-free items like granola bars, dried fruit, or pretzels.
  • Wrap individual items: To add an element of surprise, wrap each item in colorful tissue paper or reusable cloth bags.
  • Hand out surprises throughout the flight: Space out the surprises by giving your child a new item every hour or so. This will help maintain their interest and excitement throughout the journey.

🤹 Fun Group Activities for Families

While it’s essential to have individual activities for each child, involving the whole family in group activities can make the flight more enjoyable and create lasting memories. Here are some fun group activities to try during your flight:

Play “I Spy”: Take turns looking for objects around the plane, and have the other family members guess what you’re looking at. This simple game can keep everyone engaged and promote observation skills.

Tell stories: Share personal stories or create fictional tales together. Encourage your kids to use their imagination and contribute to the story. This can spark creativity and foster bonding.

Watch a movie together: If your flight offers in-flight entertainment, pick a family-friendly movie that everyone can enjoy. Share headphones or use a headphone splitter to make it a shared experience.

Create a family quiz: Before your trip, prepare a list of questions about your family, past vacations, or the destination you’re visiting. Take turns asking and answering questions to test your family’s knowledge and create a fun, competitive atmosphere.

Learn about your destination: Bring along a guidebook or use the in-flight magazine to learn about your destination together. Encourage your kids to ask questions and discuss what they’re looking forward to experiencing on the trip.

📚 Sources

Expedia. (n.d.). Expedia Family Travel Survey. 

With a combination of individual and group activities, as well as a focus on age-appropriate interests, you’ll be well-equipped to keep your children entertained and happy throughout your flight. Remember, the key to successful family travel is a positive attitude, flexibility, and a bit of creativity. Enjoy your journey and treasure the memories you’ll create together!

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