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9 Easy ways to entertain your toddler during a 12+ hour flight (or shorter) + a surprise!
So you’ve booked your flight.
You have your passports.
You are so stinkin’ excited about your trip you can’t stand it.
Then, as you start to sorta mentally prepare what you’re going to pack, what clothes to bring, what shoes you’ll need, what all your little one will need….
You realize that you should and need to also bring along toys and items to keep your toddler occupied, because you’re going to have one very, very long flight – say 12+ hours?
Then the panic sets in? How in the world am I going to keep them occupied for 12+ hours?
In a cramped airplane! With hundreds of strangers around!
If this hasn’t happened yet, hopefully it won’t.
But if it has, and that’s why your here, then within this post I hope you’ll get enough ideas to help everyone survive the long flight. You, your toddler….and those around you 😉
Then let’s get started:
Take a deep breath…….seriously do it…….
O.k., so now that I’ve taken a deep breath with you 🙂 let me fill you in on my past experience, because I’ve been exactly where you are now:
I was preparing for a long, long trip with my toddler.
(Full disclosure: I was traveling with both my parents which was helpful but they are very much the you need to do it yourself parents so…)
It was three flights, one which was 12+ hours long and because I’m a first time mom, even though I would consider myself an experienced traveler, I was …terrified. Well, ok, maybe that’s a little strong.
I was extremely excited about the trip, but nervous too.
Having a toddler ‘stuck’ in an enclosed space with hundreds of other people, that they don’t know and they are still wary of strangers!
I hope he doesn’t kick the person in front of us.
I hope he doesn’t start screaming at the top of his lungs because he thinks it’s funny.
I hope he doesn’t have a crying fit.
I hope he sleeps.
I hope his ears don’t bother him.
Sound familiar? We’ll that was me too!
So me being me, I wanted to do as much research ( and I do mean as much research) as I could possible do.
I came across lots of great ideas but because of my financial situation (living with my parents, working on getting back on my feet) I needed to not spend too much. But a lot of suggestions of course were not in my price range ( and I’m even just talking about $10-20!)
Needless to say, I decided to go with items that I had at home – our own books, toys, blue paint tape (I’ll explain that one later) etc. but also chose to go to the Dollar Store for some easy options.
Entertain your toddler with toys:
Small cardboard books:
These are light weight, they don’t take up much space and they are quick reads so it should be able to keep your little one focused for a few minutes at least! Plus, let me just tell you, we’ve had ours for almost a year now and they have become one our most favorite books to read at night before bed.
I know, why in the world would you have post-it notes as a toy? Well, unlike stickers, that can get really stuck on things post-its will go on and off of things without making a mess, nor keeping sticky stuff of any surface. The Dollar Store has a great packet with four different colors – for $1! (even at the big discount stores the cheapest is around $4)
Another suggestion was blue paint tape. Again, it will stick but it won’t get stuck so it will help keep things clean but will still give your little one the ability to ‘sticker’ things without issues.
I went back and forth with getting these. You know, the little Matchbox type cars. I felt like they could be very easy to lose on the plane, in-between seats, on the floor. I ended up getting them but not using them until we were at our destination. Definitively a great distracter!
If you notice, all these items are quiet. This is huge. If you are worried your toddler could be a noise-maker, let’s not have their toys be one! And even if that isn’t a worry, your fellow travelers, including, I would imagine, yourself, will be happy they don’t have their ‘noisy’ toys with them.
Now , if you’re still not sure if all these, or any of these could really do the trick to entertain your toddler, toys will not be your only option in entertaining your little one during your long flight.
But before I jump into those, let me mention one little trick that is actually a huge help. If you have time, and I hope you gave yourself extra time, before and in-between flights, let your little one run, play, explore. Basically try and let them get out as much energy as possible so when they are in the cramped airplane they might actually be ready to settle down a bit.
Basically try and let them get out as much energy as possible so when they are in the cramped airplane they might actually be ready to settle down a bit.