Ever wonder what a flight would feel like while traveling with a blissfully entertained toddler?
… After they have already had their way with this…
Without having to always resort to this (no offense, Mickey – you know we love you)…
Or relying on this:
Well – LD and I are seasoned travelers. And by seasoned, I mean, we travel at least once or twice each season. Because family, work, friends, and even simple boredom drives us to get on one of these big cars with wings (as LD refers to the airplane, which has also become her second home), we have become acclimated to life on a jet. That means, I am always on the hunt for activities to keep little mama happy in-flight, while giving me freedom to catch a little break myself (even if only in 15 minute increments. Hey – I’ll take whatever I can get!)
And oh… do I appreciate a good 15 minutes…
Activity books is always a good start. These books have stickers (always a favorite) at the back-end which corresponds to individual pages within the book. In this particular situation, we have stickers that are used for pages 2 and 3, so I would remove the corresponding sticker page for LD to throw them on the pages accordingly. Most of these books are educational as well as interactive which gives me the certainty of knowing she is getting as much out of it as I am. Adding stickers that match the story or shapes within the book can provide a good 20 minutes of entertainment. And that is success, when it comes to my 3 year old who is always on the search for stimuli.
Of course, we spent a good chunk of time focusing on a little apparel fun.
When the activity book makes its way back in to the ‘been there, done that‘ pile, we then resort to something a little more tactile – beading and threading. I bring a bag of beads and thin shoe laces tied at the ends, so she can thread to her heart’s desire. It’s amazing for her little fingers to exercise the ability to grasp, focus, and aim. And she is so proud with the end result.
Usually, a simple row of beads on a string, or if we’re feeling extra ambitious, a sweet little bracelet for big mama to wear for the next leg of travel.
One of our favorite activities is playing with foam shapes, and since little mama prides herself on being the mini fashionista of the flight, we usually reach for the ‘dress your people‘ sticker foam. Cut into shapes of people, and itty bits of clothing, this is a simple and remarkably light-weight activity that keeps the little one entertained for a solid 25 minutes – depending on how many pieces you have precut or pre-purchased. These pieces are all reusable stickers, so the little one spends at least 2 minutes removing the backing before dressing the 2D people. Bonus!
My advice? Keep the pieces large. Unlike REAL LIFE (ha!) little bitty shoes and accessories – are not integral to this fun game, and tend to make an unnecessary mess, mid-flight. So be good to yourself, and keep the pieces reasonable in size. Once again, unlike real life, I keep the shoe limit down to two pairs. I mean, what business do these flat little people have owning more than one pair each? It’s not like we’re dressing Imelda Marcus!
I was especially amused when LD called this little creation adorned in pink and purple on the bottom left, “Daddy”. She either misses him terribly (2 months away from daddy is nothing to sneeze at, that’s for sure), or she has incredible memory and remembers him sporting haute pink circa 2011.
Good old fashioned reading never gets old. We are all about the Robert Munsch collection, or any book that comes in a thin, strong paperback version. The images are widely entertaining, so little mama tends to create her own versions of the story based on the photos and memories of me reading to her the night prior. This buys us a solid 10 -15 minutes of entertainment per book. Doesn’t sound like much, but like i say – every minute utilized is a priceless minute. For all involved.
Over Easter, we received a laminated Easter basket activity sheet. This is an easy download from our wise and close friend, Google. Laminating can be as easy as taking packing tape and adhering it to both sides of the sheet side by side. Hole punch around the shape of the object – and voila! More to thread! LD loves this activity. I see a mini seamstress in the making. Sadly – she did not inherit that gene from me.
If downloading and printing is not easily accessible, opt for cutting up simple shapes of card stock. Once again, use packing tape to strengthen each piece, and round the corners as these chubbilicious fingers naturally maneuver around the edges. Use a hole puncher to create evenly spaced holes and hand these fun treats to your little one, along with an extra shoelace or two. Tie the ends so your little artist doesn’t explode in frustration while making a scene, and there you have it! A precursor to teaching your toddler how to lace and tie their shoes! Fun, AND forward-thinking!
I like to make two, so we can have a little race. She wins each time, of course.
And our absolute favorite activity in-flight? Play-doh! How can you go wrong with play-doh? I’m not a big supporter of multiple colors while traveling. The clean up is less than appealing. However, to keep things interesting – we opted for her most favorite color, created with the simple mix of flour, warm water, salt, oil, cream of tartar, food coloring, and of course, sparkles. See directions for homemade play-doh here.
No strong smell here, and it doesn’t break my heart if it doesn’t pass security. I can’t speak for each airport security around the world – but sometimes, based on the age of your child, you may encounter a little bit of questioning. So be sure to keep a reasonable amount in a sealed baggie and accompany it with safe, plastic shape cutters, so its purpose is unmistakable. I mean, what else would a Mickey Mouse stamp and roller be used for?
How amazing is this? It took up a solid 50 minutes of the flight! Even Baby Wanda, LD‘s beloved baby had a few minutes of much-deserved rest while her mini (and sometimes rough-but-oh-so-loving) mother is kept occupied with hours of play-doh fun!
And wouldn’t you know… this entire pack fit into one large sized and relatively flat ziplock pack that fit like a glove in my laptop case?! It was like it wasn’t even in there. We kept things, flat, fun, and light. Is there any other way?
… says the woman who rolled through the airport with a stroller, a laptop briefcase, and 4 oversized luggages. Whoops.
~~ Stylin’ Activities ~~
Foam People ~ DIY, Materials from Michaels
Uber flat Books ~ Robert Munsch collection
Sheets for threading ~ DIY, Downloadables from Google, and shoelaces (daddy’s extras)
Play-doh ~ DIY, and Play-doh Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Disney Mouskatools Set
What are some of the fun things you like to do with your kids in-flight? Better yet… what do you like to do??
Keep things fun, flat, and light! Safe Travels!
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