How to keep kids entertained on a plane

If you’ve traveled with kids before, you know how crucial it is to keep them entertained during a flight. Being occupied helps to break the monotony of being in the air, and helps the time to pass faster. It therefore makes sense then for parents to do everything in their power to ensure that their children have the necessities on board to stay occupied on the plane. Read on for some of the ways you can make the next trip as painless as possible for you and your kids.

Wait. Opt to purchase assigned seats if you can, and board the plane at the last minute. This allows your kids the maximum amount of time on the ground, which will keep them from getting too antsy in the plane before the flight is over.

Have ample games. Bring a deck of cards, peg games, and other portable games with you. Variety here is key; the more different kinds of games you have, the longer the whole family can spend time playing together without getting bored. Be sure not to pack anything too cumbersome or complicated with you, as you want setup and breakdown to be easy and quick, without losing pieces in the process.

Take interactive books. “I Spy” and “Where’s Waldo?” books are great for quiet time when Mom and Dad need a few moments to themselves. Books that have brain teasers or other puzzles are great for flights because they require a pen at most to complete. Plus, they can help your child develop critical thinking and eye for detail, which can be an important part of learning.

Charge up those devices. Tablets, phones, portable gaming consoles — if it’s got a battery, chances are good your child will want to use it on the plane. Load up their favorite games, apps, and movies for some serious screen time. Ultimately, you’ll have to decide for your kids how much screen time they get. Balance the “electronic” activities with some non-electronic ones, and you should set yourself up for a calm and even fun flight.

Put a “busy kit” in your carry-on. Young kids will appreciate the little toys that make up a “busy kit.” This small pack of action figures, coloring books, trinkets, puzzles, and other toys are a great way for children to get creative by making up their own stories, inventing new games, and having all the tools to have an unstructured time, fun time. Have them assemble a kit of their own using their home collection of toys in the days before you leave on your trip. Pack the kit away before the trip to increase their anticipation of being able to use the kit.

Have them pack a favorite stuffed toy. Sometimes, kids just need to snuggle up with a soft toy. Bringing a stuffed buddy or two for the trip can make things more comfortable for your child, and the more comfortable they are, they higher the likelihood they’ll get through the trip without incident.

9 Ways to Entertain Your Kids on Planes [Conde Nast Traveler]

50 Ways to Entertain a Kid on an Airplane [Parenting]