Flying with Pre-schoolers & Older Kids

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Activites for long airplane trip - 5 & 7 years

Feb 2007

My children will be 7 and 5 (boy and girl) when we fly to Denmark this summer. This is the first big plane trip and I'm wondering about in service movies,dvd players and the like. Do we bring our own, good games that you could recommend etc. We'll be traveling about oh about 20 hours total. We're traveling on Delta. many thanks yeah, vacation!

I've only flown with our infant but she's been on 19 airplanes and so I've witnessed a lot of kids on flights and I can say the ones that seem to do the best are the ones that are allowed to run through the airport before they board the flight, that 2 hour wait at the terminal. Let them run and climb and go up and down the staris and escalators wear themselves out before getting on the plane. Also, if it's night time or going to be night time at some point, dress them in their PJs so they are comfy and can more easily fall asleep. Airlines usually give out coloring books and crayons but you can call them before hand to ask if they have children video games at each seat, they all usually do and have kids network TV, etc. Don't be afraid to let them walk up and down the aisle with you as you don't want them to sit for long periods without stretching. And bring food they like as they might hate the airlilne food or it might be too much sugar and get them all wound up. Remember to have fun and let them experience this and on't worry too much about the other passengers. Of course, don't let them kick the seat a lot and the person in front of you will be forever grateful. Heidi

I really suggest things that are brand new and never been seen before. DVDs are great, of course, but our favorite plane activity are the crayola color wonder markers and fingerpaints. They look clear, and only color on special paper, so there's sort of a magic element to them. Plus, they *can't* write on other surfaces, so you don't have to worry about a mess. The special paper can be pre-printed with pictures for the little one, and just blank for the older one. Jennifer

We always had ''airplane gifts'' for each girl to open, every hour. Gifts were wrapped, and selected for the child's age and interests. MadLibs were always favorites; comic books; and those magnetic drawing boxes where you turn knobs to make pictures appear on the screen. Happy travels. travelling mom

Bring your dvd player with movies since the airline may not feature appropriate movies for 7 and 5 yr olds, although you will be battery power-challenged on a flight that long. Nintendo Gameboy has games for both ages also. The big sticker books that Costco sells are helpful (usually Disney themes). Also, Kumon sells activity books (as well as other brands) with mazes, coloring, cutting/pasting puzzles, ect. They are catagorized by age and can be found at Barnes and Noble or Lakeshore Learning. BrainQuest! Polly Pockets for your girl and Rescue Heroes Micros for your son-- little toys they can play with that are easy and don't take up too much room in your carryons. Test Bendryl and other antihistamines that you can give them to help them sleep also!! if possible take them somewhere they can run around before the flight. LogicalMama

Airplane activities are key to surviving the long ordeal. We bring a portable DVD player with an extra battery, plus I shop at:

Target - the dollar bin

Snippety Crickets - the haircut place on Solano in Berkeley has some small things

Games of Berkeley - on Shattuck in Berkeley has some travel size treats

Michael's Crafts - for small, simple crafts projects I always hide half the stuff in my luggage for the ride home.

Books are good, too - but I've had more success with little toys and trinkets. Even simple things like paper clips, rubber bands, pipe cleaners, etc. can be fun. Safe travels!

I have travelled with my 6.5 and 4.5 year old daughters on long plane rides, and have the following advice:

1)There are lots of resources (printables) online. Google ''free printables'' and you will have a number of different activities that include coloring pages, bingo games, dot to dot etc. Some of the games are ones that you will probably have to engage in as well.

2) Etch A Sketch, magnetic games/dolls/scenes or COLORFORMS, cards games

3) pens & pencils, paper, glue, origami (they won't let you bring even the dullest scissors on the plane, unfortunately)

3) I highly recommend Taro Gomi's ''Scribbles'' and ''Doodles.'' They are non-traditional coloring books. On each page, there are instructions as well as the start of a drawing for your child to complete (e.g. ''Draw a picnic lunch'' with an open picnic basket.

4) Mad Libs---another thing that you will have do with them, but it can be quite amusing & fun


6) paper dolls, with minimal pieces

7)KLUTZ projects, eg. potholders (your 7 y.o.), shrinky dinks that they can do on the plane & shrink when they get to their destination Hope this is helpful!

How about play dough? My kids are younger, but they can play quietly with it for about 2 hours & I personally can play with it for just as long. And it's inexpensive (less than $2 for 4 cans at Target!). I've brought it on the plane from NYC & it was perfect--not too messy & quietly stimulating. Bring new play dough, though, b/c it dries up on the plane if it's already a little old. Jetsetter with Kids

Don't forget to bring your own headphones for the in flight movies. They charge $5 for them. anon

We just came back from China with our 16 mo. Well, it would be very different when yours are much older. But as I saw on the flights, older kids usually can entertain themselves pretty well with activities like drawing; reading; runing around & chatting to people. There was an 8-year-old girl came to our seat playing with our son many times. Wish you have a good trip & good vacation. Good Luck

in response to whoever suggested playdoh as an airplane activity, I thought the same thing but had mine confiscated by security--they said it counted as a gel. I made it through oakland airport fine, but was stopped in the boston airport on my return flight--I guess it depends on the thoroughness of the airport personnel. no more playdoh