Surviving an Airplane Trip with Littles - FREE printables
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Are you feeling a little overwhelmed at the idea of flying with your small children? Do not worry - you are not alone. Not even close!
Even the moms who look like they think it will be smooth sailing are always worried in the back of their mind that something, anything, will go wrong.
Anything being from missing a nap, to having a blowout, to a screaming tantrum, forgetting the snacks to having a downright exhausted little person on your hands on a plane full of other people... who may or may not like kids.
I have flown quite a bit with my children, but never with all three of them on a long 6 hour flight. Honestly, being prepared is all you can do. And that is exactly what I have been doing all week - getting prepared!I have been collecting activities to keep my 18 month old, 3 year old and 6 year old busy while we fly and wait in the airport.
Here is what I came up with:
Everything to keep us busy for a ten hour travel day!
My 18 month old is VERY busy, and even that feels like an understatement. I flew all the time with my oldest when she was this age, but flying with my youngest right now sounds pretty much terrifying. This is what I have compiled to keep her engaged and happy.I actually saw another mama entertaining her toddler on a plane a couple years ago with these adorable finger puppets
I ordered them for our upcoming trip and we tried them out when they arrived. Sure enough she was delighted! It was actually perfect because my two older girls were playing with them too... everyone was entertained for a solid 30 minutes. Once I saw they were a win, I took them and hid them for the trip!
Here are a few shots of her playing with them on the airplane.She loved playing with these adorable finger puppets off and on throughout the flight, and a little boy sitting behind us even joined in. It was pretty cute (and the mom behind me was thankful for the entertainment too!)These window clings are absolutely genius when traveling with toddlers and younger children! I have always used these when I fly with my littles, and they love them! They can play with them on the windows or the tray.All three of my children played with these throughout the flight.
My six year old played "teacher" and quizzed my 3.5 years old on her letters and practiced spelling sight words.
We almost always have a window seat, but they can also play with them on a tray. Grab these window clings----> HERE
***UPDATE*** On our latest plane trip, this was my 18 month old's absolute FAVORITE activity. She kept coming back to it, and I was so incredibly thankful I had these on hand for her. She mostly played with the window clings on our tray, and it kept her busy for over an hour (off and on.)These reusable sticker scenes are so much fun too! All three of my children used these on our last flight (I can't remember where I bought the one found in the photo above.)
This Melissa and D0ug set comes with FIVE scenes and 200+ stickers. You pretty much can't go wrong with the Melissa and Doug brand. We have used these in the past, and they are well worth the price!!This activity is super easy and engaging for 1-2 year olds. Grab some washi tape and colored popsicle sticks and that's it! I place a piece of washi tape over each popsicle stick on the airplane tray, and she goes to town picking them up, examining the tape and pressing them back down.The flight attendants always laugh and comment at this game... so clever yet so simple. Tape and sticks do the trick to keep them busy.Toddlers love these little animals and cards! Its one of my favorite games for this age. We just play with each animal, make sounds, and match them to the correct card. Best of all.. I made the cards and you can print them for FREE!
They come in three sets: ocean, wild animals and farm. Go HERE and scroll down to print these free cards and find where to get these adorable mini animals.This game satisfies a toddler's love of putting objects in and out of containers. I just grabbed a snack cup (with handles) and some large colorful chips (large enough she can't choke) and we are good to go. I also sometimes throw some cut up tulle in there that she can pull out (ha! think tissue boxes or baby wipes!)Other than that I bring crayons, yummy snacks, her blanket, a lovie and pray for the best!
3-6 Year Olds
I made these activity boxes for my 3.5 year old and 6 year old. I really try my best to stay away from screen time, or at least save it for when I really need it.Have you seen stackable crayons? They are the best for traveling! No more lost or broken crayons! I also threw in mini pads of paper, mechanical pencils, and Wikki Sticks.Have you used Wikki Sticks before? I discovered them when I taught kindergarten, and we use them all the time! They are awesome - you can cut them, bend them and shape them into anything. They are slightly sticky so they will stick to surfaces, but come right up with 0ut leaving any residue on hands or surfaces.
My kiddos love doing dice patterns! Bottom line they love anything with dice. It can be a tad annoying if they drop the dice and we are searching on the plane floor, but they know the rules and if one gets lost... so it goes.
The goal is to make their six dice match the pattern cards. Grab this free printable here ----> Dice Patterns Math Game
If you need dice too, you can grab those HERE
I found the tower blocks at our local Dollar Tree and they looks so fun I had to grab a pack for each kid. Jenga anyone?!
This is a fun busy bag just to have on hand, or use in the classroom if you're a teacher.That pretty much completes my travel kits, but sometimes I also throw in a few of my kids' Scholastic Mini Readers. We love these little books and they fit perfect in their bins. There are a few different levels available depending on where your child is at.
Level B (my daughter was reading these at age 4-5)
Level DLastly are the Melissa and Doug Water Wow Packs! These are my absolute favorite must have if you're traveling with children 18 months - 6 years because all of my children absolutely engage with and adore these packs.They have a ton to choose from, depending on your child's interest, but here are a few:
Or buy a Variety Bundle
My 3.5 year old is practicing all her letters, so I grabbed this alphabet kit for her! I used this as a station in my kindergarten class too - kids go nuts for these packs. It is no prep for you and no clean up (or small pieces to lose!)And towards the end of the long flight (or when the baby is napping) I let my kids play on their kindles We love these kid-friendly tablets for so many reasons!
My 3.5 year old only has an attention span of about 20 minutes for a show, but the animal, alphabet and number games keep her engaged for quite awhile. It has an 8-hour battery life, so we charge them before we leave home and it lasts the entire trip!
I have had a lot of questions about my kids' headphones, and they do not come included. I have learned the hard way that quality kids headphones are worth the investment. The cheap ones fall off, are too loud/not loud enough and don't stay on well. I finally broke down and did a little research.
I found headphones by Kidz Gear we are really happy with in both blue and pink to match their kindles. There are a variety of other colors too, and I love the volume feature that ensures they cannot turn up the volume too loud that it hurts their ears. They stay on really well and are easy for the kids to put on themselves. On road trips these have really come in handy, because I let my kids wear these if the baby is crying.
Because my kids are getting older, I thought would be fun to have them keep a travel journal on our vacation.My 6 year old was thrilled when I show her what we get to do!They are really into playing "I Spy" right now, so I made sure to add that into our Airport games.
You can grab a copy of the I SPY game for FREE ---> HERE
I thought it would be fun to have them work towards earning Airplane Bucks to earn special snacks, prizes, screen time, etc.
I also included "I've been caught" tickets since I like to focus on the positive behavior I see. They love earning their Airplane Bucks and cashing them in for prizes throughout the trip (think fruit snacks, a special new pen, silly putty, iPad game, etc.)
This kit also comes with coloring pages to help them get excited and ready for the trip!
This is a fun activity to get your kids excited and ready to travel. Have them "pack" their suitcase by drawing/coloring/writing everything they need to bring in their suitcase!
You can download and print this coloring page for FREE here ----> FREE SUITCASE
Grab this complete 20 page Kids Travel Pack ----> HERE
Good luck with your travels!!