Amongst others, one reason my husband and I both work is so we can afford travel. We work hard so we can play hard. For all of our grand adventures, we’re probably on planes at least three times a year. Needless to say, our 3 boys have become quite the airport aficionados! But it hasn’t always been that way. I used to constantly look for ways to keep my kids entertained on the airplane. It’s easier now than it was in the past since we have tablets, handheld gaming consoles, and other electronics, but those aren’t always available for each child. So, whether you’re an airport expert or not, here are seriously genius ways to entertain your kids on an airplane (without electronics).
Mother first, teacher second. Either way, you’re always, ALWAYS going to hear me pushing for books and reading! And why NOT read on the airplane?! There are some excellent books to read with your child all about airports and travel, especially if they are a bit reluctant or nervous. One book I love to read at the airport is Richard Scarry’s “A Day at the Airport”. If you buy the book, it comes with an interactive sticker set. “Knuffle Bunny Free” by Mo Willems is another favorite, or you could go for wordless scavenger hunt books like “Where’s Waldo?” and “I Spy”.
Travel Coloring Kit
Portable coloring kits are another great option for airplane entertainment. I like to use zipper pouches to keep crayons and colored pencils from scattering all over the floor. My boys used to LOVE going to the dollar store or super store a couple days before our trip to choose their special airplane coloring book! Find this coloring kit idea here.
Bring electronic card games to life like when we were kids! Bring along a pack of face cars as well as games such as Go Fish, Old Maid, and Crazy 8s. My boys were so reluctant when I first tried to get them to play classic card games with me but now they prefer them to playing them on their tablets. Check out Kidspot for 10 classic games to share with your children.
I Spy Sensory Pouch
Bring I Spy books to life by making an interactive I Spy sensory pouch. You simply fill a zipper pouch with dried rice and tiny searchable objects. Then make a checklist of everything hidden inside the bag and search away. Kids love the challenge… I love how long it keeps them focused and quiet on the airplane! Find this I Spy pouch here, or learn how to make your own here.
Dry Erase Activity Binder
One step up from a coloring book is a dry erase activity binder. Make one of these captivating binders by slipping a variety of activity pages inside plastic cover sheets and putting them all together in one collective binder. Not only can your kids still use use coloring pages, but they can do all sorts of other activities from word searches to picture hunts, complete-the-image sheets, and information pages all about your travel destination. Creativity, imagination, learning… you’ll actually enjoy being on the airplane with this awesome solution! Get more details here.
Some of the best airplane activities are those that your children don’t normally do at home. Enter: String Art! You only need some cardboard, string or yarn, and possibly a needle. Mess-free and quiet, it’s a perfect airplane activity. Learn more about this craft here.
Keep little hands busy with origami creations. Origami Club is an awesome website with dozens of different folding crafts.
Bananagrams is a kid-friendly version of Scrabble. I recommend you put Velco on the back and place them on top of a felt mat to prevent losing any pieces, but otherwise, it’s a fun way to get lost in the world of wordplay. Purchase this fun game here.
Wikki Stix Models
Wikki Stix are a fun, mess-free way to keep your little builders happy on the airplane. They are basically colorful waxy (but not sticky) sticks that can be shaped and molded to make any creation you can imagine. Find them here.