Thursday, January 5, 2012

10 things to keep your toddler/preschooler entertained while traveling

Flying with 3 little boys is always an adventure. Especially when you're by yourself and 6 months pregnant! We flew to Seattle for Christmas and Pete had to come home early for work. With or without Pete there, it's not easy to keep little ones entertained for an almost 5 hour flight, so I tried to be as prepared as possible. Every kid is different as to what will keep them busy and happy, but these are 10 things I brought that worked for us. The night before we left, I spread everything I had prepared out on the table and let each of the kids pack their own backpack. Not only did that get them excited to travel, but it helped them be more independent on the flight since they knew where everything was and knew exactly what we brought.

1. Pom pom container
I made of few of the toys we brought, this being one of them. Pete kept calling me a little elf when he saw me cutting and taping and trying different things. This pom pom container was a winner for my 2-year old. I used a baking powder container, cut it in half to make it smaller so it wouldn't take up so much room, cut a small square in the lid, and filled it with pom poms. Joe loved pouring them all out then pushing them through the small hole over and over again.

2. Snack packet & water bottle
I gave each of the kids a gallon size ziploc bag to fill with snacks. We included fruit snacks, fruit leather, mandarin oranges, raisins, squeezable applesauce, and animal crackers, to name a few things. In addition, I brought a few things for us to have for lunch (bagels, string cheese, apples). Then a small empty water bottle for each of us that we filled up after we were through security.

3. Cheerio necklaces
Another homemade container, made from a cocoa container, then filled with cheerios and shoelaces to be strung.

4. Art pocket
Drawing is one thing that can keep my kids busy for a very long time. I bought these clear zipper pockets for $1 each then filled them with markers and colored pencils.

5. Small sketchbook
I found a small spiral bound sketchbook to work well. Stays open while drawing and doesn't take up a lot of room.

6. Small board books or Touch & Play Cards
These touch & play cards are one of my favorite things, and they're good for a lot of different ages. Joe likes to just take the cards out of the box then put them back in, John and Dan can go through them and find the cards that match. Even better they're educational!

7. Stickers
Is there any kid that doesn't love stickers? I bought small sticker books for the kids, but for Joe I prefer these circles because he can get them off by himself.

8. Small bowl
I didn't know a simple small bowl would be so useful, but it sure was! Great for keeping little snacks in.

9. Magnetic army guys
Another toy I made. I cut a hot chocolate container in half, again not wanting it to be bigger than necessary, then glued army guys to a magnet. After seeing that one broke when I dropped it on the ground, I taped it on to the magnet as well. The magnets stick to the metal parts of the container.

10. iPhone
I downloaded a few new games onto my phone before leaving. We don't normally let the kids play the games on our phone, so being able to play is a special treat for them. My favorite game as of late is 123 Color. I think Dan could play this game all day every day if I let him!

The key isn't to bring a million things, but to be thoughtful about what you do bring. Quality over quantity, things that will keep your child entertained, busy and happy the longest. Good luck in your future travels!


  1. You are one brave mama!! Taking my one on a flight last month was enough to make me not want to take her on our next vacation :) I took some of the same things and it helped. Thanks for the other ideas! Also, I would not recommend having a lap child for kids over 8 months. Would have been much easier if she would have had her own seat!

  2. You are my kind of Mama! We have 6 kids and I'm always looking for new home-made games and toys!
    Great job with the Army Men!
    We made the Car Track Shirt for my husband's birthday lsat week, HUGE HIT!
    Thank you again!


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