15 ways to entertain your toddler on a plane

Try these tested tips to make sure sanity prevails on your way to your holiday destination. By Lisa Witepski


Many is the aeroplane passenger who glances askance at toddlers, wondering if they are to expect turbulence in the form of toddler  tantrums on their flight. But if you’re a parent, you are probably thinking the same thing – and hoping you will be able to stall the tumult. But pack these peace-keeping ideas in your hand luggage, and be assured of a restful journey.

  1. Stock up on sticker books.
  2. Children love paint-with-water books. Look out for the Melissa & Doug range, which boasts a brush with built-in water cartridge. Plus, it’s reusable.
  3. Magnetic dress-up dolls will keep little hands busy.
  4. Classic games like “I spy” or “I went to the shop and bought…”’ never lose their appeal.
  5. Buy some finger puppets. Assign a character to each family member, then get busy and create your own story.
  6. Bubble wrap can provide hours of entertainment – just be aware of the noise factor for your fellow passengers.
  7. Play dough is relatively mess free and easy to carry on board.
  8. Get lacing and beading. If you’re worried about beads rolling away, try inexpensive substitutes, like threading ring-shaped cereal onto floss or cotton.
  9. Stamping is always a favourite. You could include stamps in a pencil bag as part of an on-board “office”, along with glitter pens. Tell your child her office project is to decorate Christmas cards.
  10. Books, books and more books. Pack a number of your child’s favourites and some new reads and, with any luck, they will remain spellbound throughout the flight.
  11. Bring along simple craft materials like pipe cleaners, which can be bent and moulded a number of ways. Create a challenge to see who can make the most exciting object.
  12. Check out Pinterest for sensory jar ideas.
  13. Make a Lego travel pack.
  14. Younger toddlers can be entertained with colour and shape-sorting games. Collect a variety of objects, and ask your child to help you group them.
  15. Pom-poms seem to have a mystic power over toddlers. You may not see the thrill in endlessly posting different coloured pompoms into a plastic bottle, but then you probably don’t see Dora’s allure, either.

ALSO SEE: Top tips for traveling with your baby


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