As both a father and frequent traveler, it’s fun to share the magic of travel with our children – and a challenge to keep them happy and amused. Having experienced the spectrum from sleeping children on a flight cross-country to screaming children on a flight cross-continent, I am always searching for ways to keep kids entertained without “plugging them in” to a variety of electronic devices. Our kids love the idea of travel, but like most adults they enjoy most the part “when we get there”. I’ve compiled a list of the ways that our kids love to keep busy on airplane flights, with an emphasis on creativity and education. A few electronic items are included.
1.) Mini Board Games: Game makers today offer a wide variety of games that can easily be enjoyed on a flight. These include the games of our youth such as Scrabble, Cribbage, Checkers, Backgammon, Yahtzee, and Uno. It’s a great way to get to know your child better and challenge their mind. Disadvantages of this plan can be the tiny pieces which you may be searching for under the seat after a turbulent section.
2.) Sticker Sets: New from the boomers’ youth, kids can use stickers (versus coloring books) to design amazing dioramas and even some that are scratch-and-sniff. By taking a variety of different figures of animals, shapes, colors, and vehicles — kids can build their own story in a detailed background word. We have tried the stickers
sets from Peaceable Kingdom as a good value (under $5 per set), they provide a nice variety of stickers without breaking the bank. These sticker sets have choices including dinosaurs, puppies, sparkly critters, robots, and many more. Disadvantage of sticker sets can be the cost and short term of use if your kids is a “quick sticker setter”. Our kids really enjoyed the sticker sets and put together some very creative pictures to share with family.
3.) We can’t leave out the Nintendo DS: With the prices of these kid-friendly devices dropping dramatically in competition with the iPhone, Android phone games, and iPod Touch — Nintendo has chosen to specialize. There are great sets of games that are directly designed for adults and kids to build up brain power with intellectual challenges. Nintendo DS still offers the classic Mario and Donkey Kong games, but don’t overlook the wide set of games that are intellectually challenging for the Nintendo Platform. Two of our current favorites are Puzzler World and Scribblenauts. Our kids love Scribblenauts which allow kids to write out words that drive the character’s actions. Let’s Draw is also a great way for kids to express their creativity and store their best drawings to share.
Whether you are flying to San Francisco or Sao Paulo with your family, keeping kids entertained is a top priority to keep your sanity and those around you. We hope these suggestions help you to have a great next trip, please share your favorites with our community too!