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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Flying with Toddlers... Tips and Tricks

As my golden tan lines begin to fade into a distant memory from our amazing family vacation to Hawaii, I figured it would be a good time to share my tips and tricks for flying with toddlers and young kids.  I know this list will come in handy for a lot of my friends flying with little ones this holiday season.

Our flight was a little over 5 hours and our 4 year olds did great. Some of these tips and tricks found below were also used when we flew to Hawaii when they were 2 years old. Both trips were a complete success and we were complemented on how well behaved they were.
The only pictures from our plane ride...
My best piece of advice, especially for the 2-3 year olds, is bringing the car seat on the plane. I know it may seem like one more thing to deal with in the airport, but trust me, your kids will be more comfortable, safer, and they will stay in their seats. Our kids even had them on our most recent trip and they were four years old!  They were comfortable and they understand that you don't get out of your seat in the car so you can't do it on the plane either. At the end of the day, every parent knows their own child, but this was a lifesaver for us and we had to schlep 3 car seats and I still think it was worth it! (Also it was a fortune to rent car seats in Hawaii and I didn't want to check them, but that's another story....)

I collected a bunch of these tips before I went and came up with a few of my own. You will see I linked where to purchase/find out more info on most items (click on the item), but some things you can either make or you have already at home. Enjoy and feel free to comment with your favorite tips and tricks!

 Tips and tricks for plane rides with young kids:

·        Wrap toys up to make it exciting... This can even be in a brown paper bag with colorful tape. Kids don't care :)

·       Put snacks in individual baggies (Bring new interesting snacks that take awhile to eat... Cheerios, cut up grapes, goldfish pretzels, veggie sticks, alphabet cookies, etc)

·        Lollipops for take off and landing (not ones they can bite, find solid thick ones)

·        Headphones (We used these...)

·        Lots of wipes

·        Change of clothes for you and child

·        Extra ziplocs

 **When settling in on the plane stick a jacket or blanket in between window and seat so toys don't fall in between

 Toy ideas:

·        Post it's and crayons/pencils/pens

·        Foam stickers with sticky back and paper to out it on

·        Stickers and notepads

·        Colored cotton balls in a small container for sorting

·        Washi tape

·        Lightweight books (Heavy books are going to make your carry on too heavy to carry)

·        Hidden picture books or highlights magazines

·        Silly putty

·        Bring a string a make a Cheerios necklace

·        Cheerios stacking (use play doh and coffee stir straw) *see my previous post here and modify it using silly putty and a coffee stirrer

·        Foam/floam (99 cent store sells it... Doesn't dry out and is not messy)

·        Gel window clings... They can stick them onto the tray or window or back on the clear paper (99 cent store)

·        Mini magna doodles

·        Pretend cellphone ($3-$5 bins at target or Toys'r'us always have these and my kids play with them non stop)

·        Tegu Magnetic blocks (worth every penny IMO)

·        Boogie board writingtablet (the new version of a manga doodle, highly recommend!)

·        For older kids we just got the Leap Frog Leap Readers and head phones for our birthday and these were amazing. The kids were so engaged and interested in them. I would highly recommend them especially since they work with headphones. They also have the Jr. version for younger kids. Just make sure to download the books to the leap reader before your trip and introduce it to them so they know how to use it and don't get frustrated with it on the plane. We had these and lots of books to go with:

·        Crayola wonder markers and coloring books/paper... So many to choose from!

·        Mini reusable stickerbooks (lots to choose from on amazon)

·        Wikki Sticks (they make different sets, but I got this awesome book for the plane on amazon. I also love the party packs and keep them in my purse for restaurants)

·        Mini puzzles

·        Melissa and Doug Memory Game Saw these at a restaurant and it kept the kids busy forever...These are awesome:

·        Lacing cards (Or you can make your own using card stock, yarn and a hole punch)

 *Leave the play doh at home. It's too messy in my opinion. Your flight attendants will thank you.

Some more great websites with ideas to keep them busy in the plane:

And when all of these ideas are no longer cutting it, don't be afraid to bring out the iPad if need be. We had ours loaded with Sesame Street and some brand new apps, but we ended up only watching one episode of Sesame Street the whole flight. (Keep in mind my kids don't watch tv, movies or play on our iPads or iPhones so they aren't used to this anyways.). My motto for the airplane though is "Do whatever it takes to get everyone there happy and quietly even if it means using the iPad".

I hope you found this list helpful and I hope you have a great and successful trip with your little one(s)!

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