Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Plane Ride with Kids... Disaster or Delightful? Ideas to Try

Next week, my family is embarking on a trip to the beautiful Island of Maui. Most people imagine beautiful beaches, drink in your hand, swimming at the pool type of vacation.

I would love to imagine that kind of vacation too until I realize that I have to get there on a 5 hour plane trip first... with 2 young children!  Will I survive?  Will the other passengers maul me because my ADHD child cannot stop wiggling in his seat or kicking the chair in front of him?

Will my 4 year old stay awake asking a million questions to each and every passenger that surrounds her? Probably.  As parents we worry about our children's happiness but we also worry about being kicked off the plane for unruly children.

We survived our first plane trip to Hawaii 2 years ago.  My children were 2 and 4 at the time and it was a challenge to say the least. Despite the long plane trip with a few dirty looks, we decided to make a return trip to see my father in Kihei. 

We took precautions to keep our children busy on the long plane ride and I thought I would share them with others.  Maybe we can all avoid the embarrassment of having children that are...well... acting like kids in an adult world. 

We survived our last trip without too many dirty looks and I hope to do the same this time.

What to bring for each child:
  • Individual back packs
  • Change of clothes/sweat shirt or jacket- it can get cold on the plane
  • Favorite blanket/teddy/doll
  • Snacks that are not the norm that they will be excited about
  • Wipes!!!
  • DVD player (you can bring only one but it gets tricky unless they like the same shows)
  • Movies
  • Gum for take off and landing for their ears (you can bring fruit snacks as long it keeps their jaw busy)
  • Spiral notebooks for writing/coloring.  It keeps artwork less messy
  • Twistable crayons for coloring- they don't break easily and last a long time
  • Stickers
  • Books for reading
  • Deck of cards to play
  • My children have Leap Pads and other game systems.  I know its not ideal at home but keep it handy if all else fails
  • You might have a Kindle or Ipad at home that you can pre-load with games as well
  • If you have a special needs child with sensory problems, be sure to bring anything you need to make your child as comfortable as they can
  • Bring headphones for children that don't like loud noises for take off/landing
These are the items you might have thought about already... What about something different? 

Envelopes with different small activities or crafts in them that they can pull out through out the flight is a fun and inexpensive way of keeping the children busy.  They anticipate a new unknown and unless they keep asking when they could open the next one, it keeps them relatively quiet.

Small Dollar store toys such as toy soldiers/animals/dolls are a big hit and they can really use their imagination.  Wrap the small toys to make them more interesting.  Dollar stores are also great for crafts. 

If you have small boys, draw a race track or have them draw one a piece of paper and they can race cars on the tray in front of them.

My daughter loves makeup... yes I know 4 year olds should not wear makeup but we allow it for playtime/dress-up.  By going to the makeup section of the Dollar store and picking out a lip gloss and eye shadow, I can almost guarantee quiet time.  Have her put makeup on you or her dolls.  You can even draw a picture of a girl on paper and have her put makeup on it.  It is harmless fun and washes off with soap and water. 

Small puzzles/games are okay as long as the children are at an age where the pieces don't get thrown or lost easily.

You can also bring a few paper lunch bags and have them make puppets with their crayons and maybe googly eyes with a glue stick.

I hope this helps and I will keep you up to date which worked best on our trip.

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