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Interesting Activities to Engage Kids While Traveling on a Plane

Traveling with kids can turn out to be a nightmare, if the journey is long and you haven’t taken care to pack some things to entertain your kids throughout the journey. Kids have much more energy than we do, so it becomes difficult for them to sit still for more than half an hour at a stretch. No point blaming them or yelling at them to shut up and sit still. If they do manage that, there will invariably be the continuous and vigorous shaking of legs, or shifting in their seats, or playing with their boogers (oh, the horror!), or the continuous prodding with their cute, tiny fingers to ask you all sorts of questions! Not only can it get really tiring for the parents, it may disturb others on the plane too, if your child throws a tantrum because he is bored and restless. Here are a few ideas that you can try out, to keep your child happy and engaged on a long journey.
Fun Activities to Keep Your Child Occupied
The main thing to remember while traveling with kids – an empty stomach equal an angry and agitated child. Pack light and interesting snacks, to feed them at regular intervals throughout the journey. Try to avoid very sweet and sugary snacks, since they tend to increase the energy levels, and you will end up with a hyperactive and restless kid in a confined space. You can imagine the scenario!
kids have lunch
Never fails! Get the big, fat coloring books, get crayons, sketch pens, magic markers, and whatever else you can think of, to keep your kids occupied. Choose the book properly, with lots of their favorite pictures, or you can get printouts of their favorite characters and ask them to color those. This should keep them busy for quite a while. Ensure that they do not color anything other than the pictures in the books.
child drawing
Gadgets and Other Stuff
There are numerous gadgets that can keep the lil’ ones happy. Take along your walk-man/ iPod, and books-on-tape for them to listen to. For small kids you can take along the CD or cassette of their favorite nursery rhymes and fair tales, if they like that. PlayStation portable, action figures, handheld video games, etc., are also great ideas.
child listening
Another really fun way of keeping your kid engaged, is by getting an interesting game for him to play, or a puzzle to solve. Here are some games best suited for long flights:

Printable Games
You have innumerable printable games for kids, which double up as great learning tools. Take these along, since they are perfect for kids when they are stuck up in confined spaces, and cannot move around much.

Rubik’s Cube
The ever reliable, Rubik’s cube. Kids above 6 will love to pass time doing something challenging, and below 6 years will be thrilled with the idea of having different colored squares moving around. Give them simple combinations that are possible, and ask them to solve it. They will be delighted when they succeed, and be happily occupied for a couple of hours.

Finger Puppets
Draw characters directly on your fingers with temporary markers, or on paper wrapped around your fingers. Draw on your kid’s fingers too, and you can have a mini play with funny and witty dialogs.

girl play videogames
Card and Map Games
Play uno hands, or take along a map, and when you leave from your destination, point out the place from where you are leaving, on the map. After every half hour or hour ask your kid to guess how much progress you’ve made, and point out your approximate location on the map. If he gets it right, give him a chocolate or candy. Give him clues to help him.

Creative Games
Tell your child to pick out as many shapes as possible in the interior of the plane. Or tell him to start with the letter A and find something in the plane that starts with that letter and continue going till Z. Or, start a story and ask your kid to continue it after sometime. You can take turns and add your own twists and plots as you go along. You could also play I Spy, and virtual hide and seek games. Say “I Spy (something)”, and ask your kid whether he can spot that thing too. Or pick a place you are familiar with, mostly your house and hide anywhere you want. Let your kid guess where you are hiding, and once he figures out your virtual hiding place, ask him to hide! Your kid will surely enjoy these games.

Scavenger Hunts
One smart thing to do when traveling with kids is to take magazines along, flip through the pages, and find pictures, and then hand over the book to your kid and ask him/ her to find that particular picture.

Art and Craft Activities
This list can be endless, what with ready-made art and craft kits available in the market today. Get the basic jewelry making kit for girls and you won’t even have to pay much attention to her, or the bike assembling kit for boys. They have jigsaw pieces and by arranging these pieces differently, you can make different bikes. Take care that none of the pieces roll away. You can also have kids draw and color place-mats.
Movies/ Videos/ Songs
One of the best tips for traveling with children, is to carry along a few of their favorite CDs. Carry a portable DVD player or a small laptop with you, and you can let your kid watch as many shows of Tom and Jerry as he likes, or as many movies as he likes till the journey is over. What a treat for your kids, specially if their TV time is strictly monitored at home. Not a peep out of them, I can bet you!
boy listen music
For kids below 6 years, you can get those books which have pop up scenes, and lots of bright colorful pictures which you can read out to them. For those above 6 years, some sports, adventure or mystery books, should be appropriate. If you give them permission to read one book that you weren’t permitting them to read because they were too young for it, it will make them feel special enough to sit quietly and finish the book! Take them along to pick out a couple of books to read on the plane.
boy read book
I’ll admit this isn’t an original idea, and although I don’t remember where I read it, it works wonders! Whatever you want to give your kids on the plane, wrap it up and make a big show every time they ask for something. Let them unwrap their toys, books, crayon sets, chocolates, candies, and everything else! They can play with or eat whatever they unwrap, till they get bored and then move on to the next gift. This surely works to keep them happy.
boy playing with toy
With these tips and ideas, you will be better armed for your next long trip with your kids. Take along comfortable clothes for them in case they need a change of clothes, and also make sure that they are dressed comfortably. No bawling, no tantrums, and no tearing of eardrums or glares from co-passengers! Let peace prevail!

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