Tips for Long Flights with an Active Toddler
When I traveled to India with my daughter last fall, she was a fifteen-month-old bundle of joy-- and energy! She had been walking for nine months, and she wasn't used to being contained. Our days consisted of a visit to the playground and the library, a walk around our apartment complex, another visit to the playground, and plenty of active indoor play. I dreaded our nearly twenty-four hour journey, so I did my homework. How could I entertain (and in lieu of entertain at the very least manage) my toddler for so long with none of our usual distractions?
For starters, I had to plan ahead. I stood in her bedroom and looked around. What things were small enough to pack, fun enough to distract, and quiet enough not to bother everyone around us? I packed somethings old:
- Her favorite stuffed animal
- Her beloved blanket (which thankfully was small)
- Several of her favorite books
- Toys with buttons (and volume control)
- Hair clips she liked to click open and shut
- Her favorite snacks and go-to sippy cups (or bottles-- bring extra!)
I decided to pack a few new toys, as well, since anything new is fodder for the curious toddler's mind. I purchased then packed:
- A child's remote control (with volume control)
- A small wooden puzzle
- A couple of new books (with flaps and moving parts)
- A small flashlights
- New snacks
My daughter has long been fascinated by writing utensils and paper. So I packed:
- A dry-erase board with several colorful markers and an eraser
- A magnetic drawing board with the built in track eraser (See suggestion below)
- A few pipecleaners with colorful beads
- Colored pencils and new coloring books
Let's face it, today's kids seem to be born with more tech savvy than we could ever hope to learn. So we bought a new tablet (see ours below) and loaded it with free (yes, free!) toddler-friendly applications. Some of our favorites include:
- abc Wow!
- Toddler Counting 123
- Barnyard Games for Kids
- Fireworks (the surprise hit!)
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is this: you know your toddler better than anyone. You know which old toys bring him/her the most joy (and the most distraction). You know what new gadgets and toys will appeal to his/her personality. I say, err on the side of bringing too much.
And don't forget the snacks. A good tube of puffs might save your flight.