Travel Blog

14 Ways to Keep Your Kids Entertained on a Long Flight

Going on a long flight with kids can be challenging. Between the cramped seats, unpredictable delays, and restless little ones, it’s normal for parents to feel anxious about keeping their children occupied and well-behaved on planes. It’s even more of a challenge when you are flying solo with kids – whether you just happen to be alone with them or going on a single parent holiday. The key is coming prepared with a variety of engaging activities and distractions to fill the hours spent in transit. If you plan ahead, you can make even the longest flights more bearable for both you and your young passengers and arrive rested at your holiday destination. Here are fourteen great ways to keep the kids entertained on long flights:

1. Pack Their Favourite Books

Fill your cabin bag with new and beloved books to capture your kids’ interest. For young children, grab sturdy picture books that can withstand enthusiastic page turning. For older kids, bring a new title or series they’ve been dying to read. Re-reading favourites is comforting, too. Audiobooks and e-books that can be downloaded and played on tablets or phones are another great option. Just don’t forget the headphones!

2. Make Your Own Activity Packs

Create special activity packs just for the flight and give them to your kids once you are up in the air. Fill zip lock bags with brand new books, notepads, stickers, small travel toys, puzzles, playing cards, and other exciting new items that will capture their attention. Wrap each bag up, and let the surprises keep on coming! Some parents opt to let their kids have a new thing to unwrap every hour to eliminate boredom.boy playing on plane

3. Download New Games, Movies, and Shows

Queue up fresh entertainment on phones, tablets, and laptops ahead of your trip. Download new movies or shows on Netflix or Amazon Prime that your kids have been wanting to see. Find educational games, puzzle apps, audiobooks, and e-books they will enjoy. Make sure all devices are fully charged and bring cables and power banks with you! Most flights have some kind of in-flight entertainment, but it’s still worth doing as a backup option just in case there is not enough to keep the kids entertained on the long flight.

4. Bring Old Favourites

While new forms of entertainment are great for long flights, don’t underestimate the power of old favourites. Pack your kid’s beloved stuffed animal or blanket, several cherished bedtime stories, and that movie or show you’ve all practically memorised. The comfort of the familiar can be exactly what your child needs to feel settled.

5. Get Crafty

Keep kids’ hands busy with simple craft supplies like pipe cleaners, magnetic blocks, modelling clay, or origami paper. Create puppet shows with stick puppets or finger puppets made from socks or paper bags. Make beaded bracelets by stringing together pasta, buttons, or even sweets! The options are endless.keep kids entertained on a long flight with colouring

6. Play Traditional Games

The classic games you play at home, like I Spy, 20 Questions, hangman, or noughts and crosses, can work just as well on a plane. Use what you have available, like the in-flight magazine or your kid’s colouring book. All it takes is a little creativity! You can also purchase travel versions of some popular games, which can be a great option for older children.

7. Make Optical Illusion Art

Get creative by having kids make their own optical illusion drawings. This type of art uses patterns, colours, and shapes to trick the eyes and brain. All you need is paper, colouring supplies like markers or coloured pencils, and step-by-step instructions to create fascinating designs. Kids will love the magic of making art that moves and fools the eye! You can also make optical illusion art digitally. This is a popular option for older kids.

8. Embrace Screen Time

While too much technology isn’t ideal, planes are the perfect place to relax screen time rules a bit (just don’t forget those headphones!). Let your kids watch a movie or play games. For younger kids, simple drawing apps or interactive storybooks will captivate them but ensure to set some boundaries and remember to take breaks. Most importantly, find out how to stay secure online when travelling and teach your older kids what you learnt.boy playing on tablet to keep entertained on long flight

9. Pack Snacks and Treats

Kids always behave better when their bellies are full! Bring crunchy snacks, healthy fruit and veggie pouches, yoghurt, nuts, granola bars, and other assorted goodies – and don’t forget the refillable water bottle. Surprise them with your favourite chocolates or cookie as a special treat. Plenty of snacks will not only keep the kids entertained on a long flight but also keep them in a good mood!

10. Bring Mad Libs or Fill-in Stories

Kids will get silly making up their own wacky stories with classic Mad Libs or making fill-in-the-blank tales. Print out some pre-made options or create your own before your trip. It’s an easy way to spark creativity and laughter, no matter how bumpy the skies get.

11. Encourage Sleep

Long flights often align with naps or bedtimes. Encourage kids to listen to calm music, bedtime stories, or audiobooks and try to sleep. Pack eye masks, small travel pillows, cosy socks, lightweight blankets, noise-cancelling headphones, and other sleep aids. Drowsy kids are less likely to squirm or fuss!child sleeping with teddy

12. Play the Alphabet Game

Pick a category, such as animals, foods, cities, or colours. Then, go through the alphabet, naming items that fit the category for each letter. For example, “ant, bear, cat, dog…” or “Athens, Berlin, Cairo, Delhi…”. Take turns to see who can get the furthest in the alphabet.

13. Make Homemade Stickers and Tattoos

Kids go crazy for stickers and temporary tattoos. Make your own before your trip by printing out fun images from the internet, cutting them into shapes, and coating them with clear tape or adhesive paper. Your child will be thrilled decorating themselves and the seats in front with their homemade creations!

14. Prepare Early and Often

In the weeks and days before your flight, get your kids excited about the activities, games, books, movies and treats you’ve picked out just for the plane. Be enthusiastic as you explain how the flight is an opportunity to play and engage in ways you can’t at home. All the build up will get them looking forward to the adventure!

No matter how smooth or turbulent the journey, with preparation and creativity it is possible to survive a long haul flight with kids. Focus on variety, organisation, new surprises, beloved favourites, hands-on activities, and cosy comforts to keep the kids entertained on a long flight. Before you know it, you’ll be landing happily at your destination with some very well-travelled kids.

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