Recently my husband, toddler, and I flew across the country from Indiana to California. During this flight I came to the realization that flying with a toddler is very similar to The Hunger Games. Much like Katniss Everdeen, I had to be constantly vigilant to what was going on around me as any small trigger could throw my little angel into a temper tantrum.
With all eyes watching, I had to “entertain” (or battle) my child through a 4 hour and 30 minute flight with a plane full of people. Here are the tips and tricks we used to survive the flight and make it to our final destination.
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(All activities require close adult supervision)
I bought a lot of stickers (like these) and a small notebook to keep him occupied. The stickers that worked the best for us were thick felt ones. Being my toddler is so young, he needed quite a bit of help. On this trip, I did the peeling and he just stuck them everywhere.
I liked this activity as it was small and quiet. We added some new words to his vocabulary by labeling the stickers (click here for more ideas on boosting vocabulary.) This is also a great activity to help refine small motor skills as there is lots of pointing and precision when laying the stickers down.
These fuzzy little friends were nice as they are small and easy to pack! Who has room for toys in a diaper bag? We had fun twisting them into different shapes and coils. Gently wrapping them around my sons wrist or leg also became a fun problem solving game for him as he tried to remove them.
As your child gets older pipe cleaners become a very entertaining building tool as they can connect them to make their own masterpiece. This can also be a great imitation game as you model making a flower or animal and then see if your little one can mimic your creation!
This was not a planned toy, but was the one that entertained our son the longest on the flight. We were now at “haft time” in the flight and my husband and I had finished our caffeinated drinks. Our son demanded our empty cups. We were willing to give him anything he demanded at this point!
It got a little wet on our trays from the leftover drops but the entertainment value was way worth the price! He spent a lot of time transferring his toy blocks from one cup to the other. The cups were also fun to stack!
When all else failed, we went to the tablet and phone. This is something we don’t let him have frequently, so it contains “magic” when we do need it. He did enjoy one game called Baby Wooden Blocks Puzzle. It is exactly what it sounds like, and it is free. He enjoyed taking his little finger and sliding in the pieces one by one which is great for fine motor development.
He also picked up a few new words from the game as there is a variety of different puzzle pieces to choose from. Kids Doodle is another free app in which my son practiced his finger painting skills without the mess (I would have brought finger paints for the flight…but I don’t think Delta would have appreciated that).
No matter what holiday is upon us there is always window clings to find! If you have the luxury of a window seat, these can be really fun to stick and unstick and will keep your small one occupied. Lots of learning occurs in this activity as you can talk about the pictures on the window clings or work on color naming colors.
Comment below to share your best tactics to surviving a long flight!
“Happy Hunger Games! And may the odds be ever in your favor.”