The last time I flew with the girls, I was by myself. So I schlepped two kids, a couple of carry-ons, Peeper’s lovey and a whole bunch of anxiety onto a plane. I was, understandably, worried about flying with kids solo.
How do you keep your kids busy on the plane—especially when you only have two hands? I wondered.
With luck, and the kindness of a few understanding strangers, we survived that flight. I learned a few lessons, though, that I want to share here: tips on building travel activity kits we’ll be using when we’re doing road trips and flying with kids over the holidays. With Thanksgiving, Christmas and the busiest travel days of the year staring us down, we could all use some ideas to travel as a family.
Looking for ways to keep your kids busy on the plane, too? Want to limit their screen time? Want to survive the flight without the rest of the passengers threatening to throw your family out an air lock?
Learn from my experience—and be prepared. You’ll stress less at 30,000 feet in the air when your kids are happy with these DIY travel activity kits!
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How to put together travel activity kits
- Keep everything corralled. When you’re sandwiched in those too-tiny plane seats, the last thing you want to do is rummage around an oversized bag for stray crayons. So when you put together travel activity kits for your kids, store everything in a gallon ziplock bag or a big pencil pouch.
- Pack a kit for each kid. Children don’t like to share under the best of circumstances, and being cooped up in a plane with 300 cranky strangers doesn’t count as the best of circumstances. So create a travel activity kit for each kid. You can even personalize it with their name.
- Make it new. Novelty is a parent’s second-best trick when traveling with kids. (Snacks are #1, obvi.) So buy new stuff and don’t show it to them until they’re buckled in their seats.
- Prep for the return flight, too. When you assemble your kids’ travel activity kits, make two so you’ll have a new one for your trip home. After all, they might lose their toys—or lose interest in the Curious George coloring book.
Supplies ideas for kid travel activity kits
Packing a variety of activities will get you through flying with kids (or that family road trip). So buy a little of this and that, and chances are your kids will stay entertained.
Most of this you can pick up at the dollar store, Target or a craft store.
- Coloring books
- Crayons (I tossed a handful of crayons from home into a baggie instead of buying a new box)
- Markers (washable, of course, and only for older kids/kids who don’t still try to eat markers—Kiwi I’m looking at you!)
- Small pieces of construction paper
- A small notebook
- Melissa and Doug Water Wow (these have entertained my kids on SO MANY trips!)
- Small Magnadoodle
- Flash cards (see this post for ideas for a bunch of games to play with flash cards)
- Small puzzles
- Small toys, such as Matchbox cars or plastic dinosaurs
- Stick-on rhinestones and google eyes
- Craft kits with self-stick foam pieces
- Magnifying glass
How about you—how do you keep your kids busy on the plane?