Hi there! I have traveled many times across the country with my infant and he was always so much better than I had ever hoped. Now he is one, though, and walking, and we have another cross country flight coming up. I'm a little worried this time for he wants to MOVE all the time. Does anyone have any suggestions for toys that are plane appropriate that will occupy him?
toys for the plane
How old is your child?
Ive flown a lot first with one, then two and most recently with three. Some good things for young babies:
those toys that attach to the carseat (so you don't lose them)
songs (like itsy bitsy spider)
snacks.. given a little at a time
books (even for my active babies/children they have a calming effect on them)
For older infants (like 18 months and above)
a few new toys.. I went to the dollar tree once and got a bunch of cheap toys (international flight, 26 hours 2 kids 1 parent.. I needed a bunch) and wrapped them in tissue paper (so security could see them if need be but the girls could still open them) then gave it to them once every couple of hours
a soft blanket
Let them run around before the flight and avoid sugary items (including juice) before hand.
Just about to be in this situation myself, with a 17mo old, so I can let you know what works out best.
Right now, I have prepared a bag that looks like a horse (for cuddling too). There's a soft, smallish doll (big sis gets one too) inside with a felt dress to put on and off, box of crackers, small thing of play doh (though she's never used it before so I'm not sure how it'll work out). And we have this book with buttons tied to it you put inside the pages to complete the picture (does this make sense? She really likes it and it'll occupy her at home for quite some time).
Some other ideas:
A small handheld animal, the touchy-feely books or cloth activity book with things like snaps, velcro, buttons. Books with flaps. Craft pipe cleaners (if restrained enough not to shove those in their mouth). Make a plaything of a pill organizer with small, age appropriate toys/snacks for opening, feeling, moving around, hiding, etc.
LOL I do the same thing with my iPad, kids love it.
All-in-one entertainment system, it has like 30 games they've downloaded and I always make sure to buy like $5 worth of new ones before a long trip. We also have a bunch of movies on there.
Kids couldn't be happier playing with it for the whole trip.
"What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
I will share what didn't work for us on a plane:
When DS was a toddler, DH bought him a set of sea turtles as we were in the Caribbean and his thought DS would like the association the trip. It was an absolute nightmare because DS was so excited to play with his turtles, he paraded them all over the tray and armrests and every time he dropped one, he yelled TURTLE!. I had to reach down and feel around the floor of the plane to find the turtle while DS was waving his arms and legs around in desperation. Repeat every 2.5 minutes for 4 hours..........
Another time I made up packages of pipe cleaners, snacks, stickers, small toys, etc. with the idea that I would give him one every hour. My mistake was probably putting in tick tacks and other "treats" that he didn't normally get. He quickly figured out there was forbidden fruit, so to speak, in the envelopes and freaked out, demanding "more, more, more" He ended up tearing them open, scattering the contents all over the place.
Things that worked over the years but may not be suitable for a 1 yo -
Stickers. I remember a 3 hours flight were he covered himself, me and the tray table in stickers. (I removed the stickers from the tray table before we landed.) What a sight we were!
Portable DVD player. There is a way to turn the brightness and resolution down to drastically extend the battery life.
Ipod with PBS kids shows. You can also get short Sesame Street clips for free on Itunes.
When our son was around 1 yo, he was very happy to cuddle with a soft blanket and a favorite stuffed animal. Air travel didn't require much work on our part until he was about 18 months