Five Ways to Have Fun Flying with Kids

Anyone who has boarded a plane with kids or who has flown on the same plane as kids knows that sometimes it is not a pleasant experience for anyone involved. With planning and preparation, cringes can turn into smiles, and frustration and embarrassment fly away.


Engage the children in rehearsals; familiarize them with the process of keeping track of their luggage and going through the security gates and boarding the plane. When possible, make a game of it. Playing “the airport game” can familiarize the child with what he or she will actually see and experience, reducing stress and anxiety as well as enabling a smoother boarding experience for everyone.

Don’t forget to pack sugarless gum for take-offs and landings. If a child still uses a bottle, take extra pacifiers. If older, include extra tippy cups.

Have each child be responsible for his or her own activity backpack that the child packed. Include items like coloring books, crayons in containers that can be securely closed (such as zip lock bags), books, toys, stuffed animals, and a fair number of movies.

Games and Activities

Along with “the usual,” activities with coloring and drawing, word games, bingo, tic-tac-toe, and dot-to-dot creations can help keep children busy during the flight.

If possible, take along a portable DVD player, headset, and a supply of movies. Be sure to have the machine fully charged before leaving home.

Hand-held game units are great entertainment for kids. Pack the game units, headsets, and games in their own zip lock bags for easy access and inspection at security. If batteries can be changed, bring lots of extra batteries for each electronic unit. Have them sealed in their own zip lock bag and label it. Bring a spare, labeled zip lock bag for expired batteries.

iPods loaded with the child’s favorite music can entertain a child and help block distractions. Bring AC charging units for each module and charge the units during layovers and at destinations.

Window Stories
Have the child make a up a story based on what he or she sees outside the window. Whether it’s clouds and their shapes or rolling hills and highways, engage the child’s imagination and let it roam where it will. Whatever story the child creates is sure to be entertaining!

Play Clay
Regardless of the brand you use, color-safe clay occupies a child’s attention and energy. Drape the folding tray with a plastic sheet and keep the activity materials in their dedicated plastic bag.

Children of any age can enjoy books. Infants and toddlers enjoy being read to, and young adolescents can either read silently or read to siblings or parents. They can even write their own stories if they wish. Just provide paper and pencils.

Familiar stuffed animals or a favorite toy from home can bring not only entertainment but also comfort to kids while traveling. That bit of home makes them more comfortable in the confined space on a plane and allows the child familiar activities.

Toddlers and infants usually respond well to bright, colorful toys. Just avoid ones that make noise like squeak toys or pull cord toys. Fellow passengers who are irritated from the clamor can make the flight rather uncomfortable.

Including surprise toys in one’s own carry on can extend playtime and entertainment. A new movie, a different electronic game—whether new or a used game doesn’t matter, so long as it works in the unit—or a block set can go a long way in engaging a child who is getting bored and restless.

With planning and preparation and if the child is allowed to take responsibility for his or her activity backpack, in-flight stress and restlessness are often brought to a bare minimum. Variety and preferences play a large part in making flight time with children a fun experience for the child, the parent, and sometimes fellow passengers and airport and flight staff.

About the Author
JC Ryan is a freelance writer for My Colleges and Careers helps people determine if an online education is right for them and helps them understand which online colleges and online courses they can choose from to reach their goals, including earning an online bachelor’s or master’s degree, or even an online PhD.

Photo Credit: shyb

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  1. Thank you for this valuable information. This will be helpful to the traveling moms, even when not traveling via air.