Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Games and activities to bring on board for traveling kids

Keeping your kids entertained and occupied doing something other than kicking the seat in front of them, or whining "are we there yet?", on a long flight can be a challenge. Having access to games, movies, and TV shows right at your seat helps a lot. (Speaking of which: does anyone even remember the bad old days of craning your neck to see that one tiny TV in order to catch whatever the One Chosen Movie was? Soon, just old-timers like me will remember that. But then I still remember when smoking was allowed on board...)
Crocodile Stage Puppet12pc - Plush soft cuddly Animal Hand Puppets -new!
My personal favorite toy to bring along on board an airplane, especially for younger kids and babies, is a puppet. Bring one for yourself and one for your child (preferably one for each child). They work great for goofing around with kids who might be anxious, cranky, bored, crying or over-tired. And they're wonderful for just plain fun and entertainment. Make up stories and games, let the puppet read them a book, just goof around and let the kids goof around too. Puppets, in my opinion, usually bring out the the fun

Portable DVD-players, cellphone apps, and hand-held games can also definitely help pass the time. Though I wish someone would tell my kids that: neither has taken a shine to hand-held games yet.
Nintendo Ds Lite Crimson and Black Handheld Video Game Console w/ *BONUS* Stylus, and AC AdapterLeapFrog Leapster 2 Learning Game System - Green
 I have friends who swear by LeapFrog's Leapster games, and others who won't let their kids leave home without their Nintendos. If your kids enjoy playing these kinds of games, definitely bring them along. Just remember to also bring along whatever cables, extra batteries, and battery rechargers (with adapters if necessary) you might need.

Old-school, traditional games are also a good choice to stash in your hand luggage. My favorites are games that have their own box or container that you can keep them in while traveling, and ones that don't have a million tiny pieces that can get lost on the airplane or at the airport.

Flip to Win Travel Bingo GameMelissa & Doug Travel Memory Game

The Melissa & Doug line of toys includes a whole bunch of travel games that look entertaining and well-designed for travel, including a memory game, and a bingo game.

Iplay Peek-A-Boo PackIplay Peek-A-Boo Bag ?Everything A To Z

I also like the looks of iplay's Peek-A-Boo games, because they seem easy to bring along and non-messy with no loose pieces.
Coloring & Artivity Book: Amazing Creatures Of The Sea Coloring

Coloring, puzzle and activity books are also good on board. My tip for coloring supplies: don't bring markers. At least not for younger kids who might not listen to you when you tell them not to draw on anything but the paper. Crayon is easier to get rid of and also require more effort to apply to fabrics, trays, windows, faces and so on...

Crayola Color Wonder Travel Tote (colors & styles may vary)Crayola Dry Erase Activity Center Travel
I've also brought along the special coloring books with Crayola's Color Wonder markers a couple of times, and they're nice because the markers don't work on anything but the special paper. However, my kids found them a little odd to color with since it takes a second or so for the color to show up. I might try the Dry Erase Travel pack instead for our next trip.
Glow in the Dark: Ocean Creatures (Ultimate Sticker Books)I Love Dinosaurs Sticker Book (I Love Sticker Books)Disney Princess: Dress-Up: A Sticker Activity Book (Princesses)

Another great idea is sticker books. On our last trip the play package provided on board by the airline (Lufthansa in that case) was a sticker activity book. The kind where the stickers can be removed and repositioned are best, both because those stickers won't get stuck to the inside of the airplane, and because the kids can use them over and over again.

Smethport Magnetic Playing Cards with Magnet Board
One big no-no for games and toys on board are the ones that make noise. The hum of the airplane engines might drown out some sounds, but repetitive, loud or just plain annoying noises can still drive you and your fellow passengers insane on a long flight. Leave any harmonicas, kazoos at home and bring a magnetic card game instead. Teaching your kids to Go Fish, might be a challenge when you're seated in Economy, but you'll probably have fun doing it anyway.

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