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post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
We will be taking our first airline flight with our almost 3 year old son late this May. The flight will be about 3 hours. Any ideas of games/toys/activities to keep us busy and happy during the flight?

post #2 of 25
ooh, i am going to be watching the replies on this thread! my niece, 4, is coming to visit me this summer. she and her mommy will be flying from dallas to atlanta, so if you just look at flight time, it's the same as yours.
now actually getting ON the plane is what, another 3 hours these days?
post #3 of 25
Lots of snacks and drinks because we all know how terrible airline food is. And anyway on a flight that short it's probably just a snack which last time I flew was 4 peanuts in a bag that was imposible to open. :
Coloring books and crayons, story books, maybe bubble gum if it's ok with you because it helps with their ears during take off and landing. I never fly without chewing gum.
post #4 of 25
Some of my tried and true favorites:

colored pencils and paper

sticker books

silly putty(you can copy images from newsprint-tons of excitement!)

pipe cleaners(can bend into all sorts of fun shapes)

walkman with music and story tapes

One mom I know says she buys an assortment of tiny, cheap trinkets and wraps them up like presents. Then she tells the kids they can open one up every 30 minutes, or whatever amount of time seems appropriate. An exciting way to pass the time. I plan to try this one on our next flight.

Good luck, and have fun!
post #5 of 25
We'll be traveling again soon but this time dd is much older. I've been reading up a bit and one suggestion not mentioned that I liked is to wrap snacks individually in tin foil. It turns snack time into surprise time and gives the child something to do.

Also, if you're staying in a hotel room remember to bring outlet covers.

An option to the chewing gum, one which we will be using, is to buy vitamin C or Echinacea lollipops. They're made without sugar and sold at health food co-ops. Dd is too young to chew gum, doesn't take a pacifier or a bottle, and a little echinacea to boost the immune system while breathing in recycled air is a good idea to me .

Another idea is whatever toys you decide to bring should be put aside until travel day. That way they'll be more interesting.

Good luck!
post #6 of 25
We flew cross-country with DD when she was about 20 mos. old, and again a yr later. What we did: nursed A LOT. Brought food and was glad we did, since there is no vegeatarian kid meal and the adult veggie meal was a delicious but spicy bean burrito. She has her own little backpack that we'll take on our 9-hr flight to amsterdam next month.
What goes in it? snacks, bottled water, Dover sticker books (this one can be adapted to the child's age/interest). On her first trip, it was little baby animal stickers and shapes and colors, and I did most of the "stickering". On this one, it will be a little Dutch paper doll and maybe some airport sticker activity books and some books of mazes. (she's a maze-crazy 5-yold). home-made playdough in a ziplock bag, along with some plastic cutting tools. small dolls, finger puppets. story books. maybe a travel size magna doodle. always paper and art implements, depending on the child's preferred "medium". For DD right now that's probably black paper and gel pens... at this age, some playing cards (when she was really young, I brought along a "memory" card game in another ziplock bag. At 20 mos., she mostly liked looking at the pics of mama animals and their babies.
One rule: only one thing out at a time. I really try to pace things so she is always interested, and to balance some talking time with play time. And expect that your kid might want to sleep. Once in the air, a plane is not a very stimulating place. I always snag a blanket and pillows (one reason it's nice that parents with young kids get to board first). and if she looks sleepy, we make the "atmosphere" conducive to sleep. dim lights, etc. A good soft stuffed animal can be a pillow too.
But it all has to fit in HER backpack! Good luck and have fun!
post #7 of 25
We just returned from a trip with our 19 month old. A total of four hours on the plane that I was just dreading actually ended up being fun and happy for all (even the people around us).

Big hits in the entertainment dept:

1. Magna Doodle

2. Picture Books - where you get to describe what is happening. These are great because you can make them different everytime you read them. My ds isn't able to verbalize his ideas for the pictures, but maybe at 3, yours would have fun doing that as well. Our current favorite is Carl's Afternoon in the Park. We got a good 30 min out of this one board book on our trip.

Good luck and enjoy this new experience with your ds.
post #8 of 25
I forgot about Magna Doodle's, they're great! And they have a travel size one which is perfect.
We also just discovered the Carl books (you are talking about the one with the dog, right?) My son loves them! He loves dogs so these books are endlessly fascinating to him.
post #9 of 25

Traveling a lot

We travel a lot, always taking Seamus with us - at 18 months he's been everywhere. I used to travel monthly for work and my husband stayed at home with our son. It's really not that bad to fly with a baby, you just have to respect their needs and to take care of yourself as well.

When he was younger it was easier, now that he's an energenic toddler, well it's more challenging.

Indispensible Tips...

Always fly during nap time, even if you have to spend more money...we just spent a 3 hour nap in the Miami airport on an unfortunate layover, only to wake up and fly for 3 1/2 hours during "play time."

Nurse during take-off and landing
Little ears will appreciate this.

Never ever fly with an ear infection
As much as we don't like to medicate ear infections, if we suspect one and know we are flying within a week, we go to the doctor and get a prescription.

Check in REALLY Early (up to 24 yours in advance) and get a "Bulk Head Seat"
These seats are only assigned at the airport. Sometimes if you are flying internationally, you can request them in advance. The bigger planes (DC10's and 747's) have bassinets that hook into the wall in front of your seat.

Anyway, the extra room is wonderful. You don't have underseat storage, but that's okay. These seats are wonderful for babes-on-the-move.

Always pack your own treats
Food in a cooler that's ready to go -- Age Specific, of course -- ie fruit cut up already, a variety of crackers in little bags or plastic boxes. Yogurt and a spoon. String cheese. Small water bottle. etc.

Airlines no longer serve food except internationally and in first class.

Bring more diapers then you think you'll need and extra clothes
Sometimes you get stuck on the plane, sitting on the runway for hours...it's always good to be prepared.

Bring a ball
We have a mini soccer ball (5-6" diameter) that always goes with us. Since Seamus was 6 months we've progressed from rolling to him to playing soccer in the waiting area. It's a great way to burn off some energy prior to boarding.

Don't board first unless you really do need the extra time or really need the overhead storage space.
Why spend extra time in a small space? We play until the last minute.

Be kind to yourself
Check as much as you can. We don't even like to deal with our coats, so we put them in our suitcase prior to checking it. Besides, security is so extensive now, who wants to have multiple bags to go through?

Bring a small stroller to check at the gate, food, toys, and diapering supplies plus id and tickets. Packed in a "diapering backpack" and you've got your hands and arms free!

This is what we've done at each age

Birth to 4 months Nursing and happy faces are all you need.

Be respectful of time changes and sleep cycles. My husband walked Seamus through Paris -- by night-- when our son was 2 months old, because babies don't adjust to time changes well (i.e. it takes at least a month, fine if you are moving somewhere but not good for vacation!)

4 to Crawling Age (6 - 9 months or so)
Again nursing and happy parental faces are super. Flight attendants generally love babies, so they smile a lot at them and provide wonderful entertainment.

Plus fun, small toys from home.

8 months to early walking
Activity toys from home
Books to read
Playing "this little piggy went to market" -- 800 different ways.
Singing songs.
Crawling around on the airplane floor - probably very dirty, but very effective. (A bulkhead seat is nice for this.)
New, small toys that are wrapped up, check out http://www.creativekidstuff.com/ for interesting toys.

12 - 18 months
Once they start walking, having an extra seat is wonderful. At this age, you can still "hold a baby on your lap for free" on the flight, but it gets harder to manage your munchkin once they start walking.

Good In flight Activities at this age:
Songs and finger games -- we have a fun book of ideas
Stickers -- we've covered books, plates, suitcases, you name it. I buy a book of mini stickers from Target -- 1200 for $3, and they are wonderful.
Crayons and Paper
Big Magnets - Creative Kidstuff has an alphabet block set (1" square) that comes in a metal box.

For our last trip, we bought Seamus his own rolling suitcase, he pulled this little playschool plastic thing all over. He loved it. Plus we decorated it with stickers during the flight - a great toy for $10. It doesn't really hold much, but it was perfect for him!

Good Luck!
post #10 of 25
Wow! Excellent tips Sara. I'm going to email them to myself to save.
post #11 of 25
You're welcome!

Flying is one of those things that if you plan well, it's a breeze. But if you don't, it can be awful.

Though, I bet, AP kids have an easier time then kids whose parents constantly try to make them do things that don't take into account or even recognize their (the munchkin's) needs.
post #12 of 25

SLINGS indispensable

Can't imagine maneuvering through an airport without one with a little one. When we arrived in San Fran the first time, she was asleep and stayed asleep in the sling all the way though baggage claim, etc. No nasty stroller to deal with nor car seat (my friend borrowed one to use out there...
You have enough stuff to carry just with your own bags (when DD was small, cloth diapering supplies for a week took up significant space!
Happy traveling all.
post #13 of 25

Flying with Junior

I have just returned on flight from hell to the US from Australia via Singapore and London..... don't ever do it!! Dd was a gem, a little jetlagged but still a good girl

My best advice is to let your little person walk around and be free, as long as they are not in the way... there is no real danger or anywhere to really go on a plane so no harm can be done.

Bring extra diapers is a good tip as well as extra clothes, for junior and for you.... never know where that spill will end up.

Snacks are a must and if you are nursing, snacks for you and water....

If you fly at night, bath and change junior into PJ's so they can nap on the plane.

M best advice is to just enjoy your trip. Don't get stressed and don't let anyone try and make you feel bad..... Have fun.....

Oh yeah about the hotel outlet covers.... you should be able to ask the hotel to baby proof before you arrive...
post #14 of 25
Thread Starter 

Thank you everyone!!!

So many wonderful tips!!! Keep them coming!
post #15 of 25

wow! thanx!

My crawling 10 month old and I are going to fly to San Fransisco in two weeks, and I am so pleased to see this thread! Esp. your long thoughtful input, Sara Mama!
post #16 of 25
bklynmum, that's good advice too. (I have to tell you my dd's name is Brooklyn ).

Regarding the outlet covers...I guess you could ask them to supply them but I wouldn't leave the child-proofing up to anyone but me. I don't want to find out that someone was negligent KWIM?

For everyone that's traveling soon...enjoy your trip(s)! We'll be in the air soon too.
post #17 of 25
wow-these tips are great!! we are travelling from Phoenix to London with Toby next month...he will be almost 13 months old. We have a 2 hour layover in Chicago just before bedtime...I like the idea of burning off energy before the trip. Sara Mama, do you have any ideas about how to adjust a 13 month old for a BIG time change?? we will be gaining 8 hours....I'm going to start putting him to bed a little earlier each week until we leave....so on the last week I'll have him going to bed about 6pm AZ time, which is 2am UK time..from there I figure we'll just wing it but I'd sure like your opinion on the matter.
post #18 of 25


Sounds like a great trip!

Is your 13 month old walking? He may really enjoy just standing in front of his seat....

Definitely try to get a bulk head seat - you'll really enjoy the space.

Anyway back to time changes...You can try to help him adjust (bed a bit earlier etc) but it's really hard for a babe to do it -- even with day light savings time in MN -- only 1 hour difference, Seamus still gets up at the same time -- now it's just 7:30 instead of 6:30!

Okay so that doesn't help...if you're flying at night, which most transatlantic flights are, you'll do well to have him fall asleep asap on the flight and wake up refreshed as you land -- in the morning.

The sanest advice I've heard is not to try and "make" your baby change time zones if the trip is less then 10 days. Unfortunately, there's not much sightseeing to be done at midnight...

Any other thoughts?

I found some stuff on the internet: http://travelingtoday.com/resources/...yabroadpt2.htm

But it says nothing about changing time zones.
post #19 of 25
I think the formula for an adult is that it takes 1 day for every time zone that you cross over to recover from jet-lag. You will cross about 4 I think on the way to London.... so that means about 4 days to recover.

I found that DD was fine as long as she slept on the flight. We have been to Australia with her three times now and once she gets her feet on the ground she is fine, only takes about a day or two......

Definatly fly at night.... I hate to tell you but I think the lag is worse on return to the States.

Good Luck and remember to get there early to get the bulk head and so you don't have to rush through all those extra security measures....

post #20 of 25

Tips for travel (in France) with our 1yo?

My ds (15 months) and I are meeting my dh in France (Cannes and Annecy) for two weeks (he's there on business). Anyone have any tips for us about getting there or being in France with a toddler? We leave in less than a week and I'm getting a bit nervous... I would appreciate any tips!!! Thanks.
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