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'A new toy for every hour of the flight' - really?!

(30 Posts)
Gorran Tue 02-Aug-11 21:11:12

I've read this piece of advice many times over the years, and now the time has come for us to take our first long-haul flight (we've never flown longer than 4hrs with the DCs, before) I'm wondering if it is really practical? For us it would mean taking 16 new toys/games - and even without considering the expense (which granted, could be mitigated using cheap toys/pound shops etc.), I don't want to take so much 'stuff'.

What do you do? Is the new toy every hour thing really neccessary?!

nancy75 Tue 02-Aug-11 21:13:11

I have never heard this advice before. We are going to Australia next year, I will need 54 toys for that round trip!

Gastonladybird Tue 02-Aug-11 21:13:41

No- a couple and or book/mag (even if one that have kept back) . I had about 6/7 things and would rotate. Depending on who you fly with (ad ages) the im flight entertainment helps and it would be odd if didn't sleep some of the time

Gorran Tue 02-Aug-11 21:18:59

Phew, I'm not going against some must-do law of travelling long haul with children then! I've ordered them both a new sticker book, 2 packs of little moshi monster things and bought new notebooks and pens. Will also get them both to choose a mag at the airport, and take a couple of books. Hopefully we'll be ok with that lot.

sockpoppet Tue 02-Aug-11 21:23:48

Charity shop toys. Boxes of raisins good too

strandednomore Tue 02-Aug-11 21:27:46

How old are the children? We took my netbook and downloaded lots of cbeebies programmes, just let them watch that. Next time I'll probably get them earphones as they are old enough to use them now - previously we just let them watch it quietly. No-one complained, I think people are happier with quiet cbeebies programmes in the background than bored children wailing and kicking their chairs.
This was when my netbook was new and I could get 8 hours of battery time out of it mind you!

crazycatlady Tue 02-Aug-11 21:29:40

Bag of Tat seems to do the trick with DD on long journeys. The kind of cheap nastiness I normally hate, but a trip to the pound shop to stock up on lots of very small toys that can be wrapped and then put in a child size rucksack for her to open and play with, plus snacks and a comic or two should do it.

Gorran Tue 02-Aug-11 21:35:54

They're 6 and 3. We've ordered an iPad, so will take that with us for games and stuff (I'm not a techy so unsure exactly what else it can 'do' and how long the battery will last - does anyone know?!), eldest DD has a DS (which she never ever uses so is a real novelty, still) and my H will have his laptop so we're covered for electronic stuff! Hand luggage is going to be heavy! Trunkis are hand luggage friendly aren't they?

We're flying with Virgin, so theoretically the in flight entertainment should be ok, but we're going from Gatwick which still has the old planes, so I don't want to pin my hopes on that. What kind of snacks would you recommend taking?

startail Tue 02-Aug-11 21:45:57

A mixture of new and old. New toys and magazines and some new and familiar videos, story tapes and music. A favourite cd from the car can be very useful to settle them in a strange place.

fastweb Tue 02-Aug-11 21:49:30


Apple says the battery should last 8\10 hours.

crazycatlady Tue 02-Aug-11 21:50:49

Anything non-perishable and that won't suffer from being a bit squashed. So no bananas or yogurts! Mini breadsticks, apples, cereal bars, little sweet treats...

Gorran Tue 02-Aug-11 21:57:58

Thanks all, really helpful. Fastweb - I should have Googled, really shouldn't I?! Thank you.

Elk Tue 02-Aug-11 22:08:09

My two have spent a long flight playing with a family pack of fruit gums!! They had new books, sticker books, bag of toys from kinder eggs, nintendo ds's, story tapes the lot but they played with the sweets I'd bought them for landing!!

titferbrains Tue 02-Aug-11 22:17:55

I do believe in getting a good few cheap items to keep them going. DD is nearly 3. I always get a couple of kids mags so she can fiddle with the freebies on the front, she loves playing with the headphones on planes, she is happy with a wipe cleaning the airplane window or whatever else she deems worthy of a wipe, she loves having a little purse full of coins, changing dolly's nappy, I wouldn't go anywhere without her little drawing thing (from next, it has a little pen and a magnetic screen which you can clear using a slide, like a mini etcha sketch) and yes, plenty of boxes of raisins. Our ipad has been a godsend, but you might want to investigate a double set of headphones so they can each hear it. And get the apple cover that props it up, good for little laps. Dd is happy to have sound on low and mostly watch, but a 6yo might get fed up with that. We got a toystory 1,2 and 3 pkg for about 20 quid and she is completely addicted to the movies now. MAke sure you google ways to conserve the ipad battery so you ensure yr settings are correct to minimise battery wastage. The movies will need to upload over night, it takes a while. I have a drawing program on the ipad too, plus various song apps and a peppa pig story that DD seems to like. Do your research now while you can!

titferbrains Tue 02-Aug-11 22:20:43

oh yes and DD loves the aquadoodle aquadraw thing. you just fill up the pen with water. She likes opening and closing it, and putting the pen away etc. as much as drawing.

scrappydappydoo Tue 02-Aug-11 22:27:39

They don't have to be NEW toys you know - even old and familiar ones are exciting when wrapped and produced on a plane. When they say new toys I think its just about something fresh to play with rather than actual brand new toys..
We did long haul (9 hrs) with 4 and 2 yr old last year - I wrapped some stuff and then re wrapped them before reaturn journey ( and when I say wrapped I mean shoved in a paper bag). Plus don't forget you'll have settling in - wow on a plane - time and then they'll be meals and possibly movies to watch. So really I would pack one for evey 2 hours..

fastweb Tue 02-Aug-11 22:27:50

I should have Google, really shouldn't I?

Oh I didn't Google, I have the Apple site on 2 other tabs, one to moon over all things iPad and the other endlessly refreshing to see if they have sent the iPad I ordered today yet.

Any excuse to expand my knowledge of my DS's new toy.grin

beanandspud Tue 02-Aug-11 22:39:50

Agree with the others - you don't need a new toy/hour but a mixture of old and new is good. Wrapping up some of the new things adds to the 'excitement' (and also kills a bit more time!).

Our iPad has been brilliant - a combination of films, TV episodes, games, drawing/puzzle apps and stories kept DS (3) quiet for hours. Also comics, a couple of new cars/trains and plenty of snacks.

Oh, and assuming it's a return trip remember to pack some surprises for the trip home which always seems to be more arduous!

Linnet Tue 02-Aug-11 22:44:42

I did this when we flew to Florida and dd2 was 16 months old. I bought some little tiny cube board books in the supermarket,cost about a £1 each or something, I think I got 4 of them and another couple of things and wrapped them up.

She opened some but I forgot about the rest and found them at the bottom of the bag the next day. there is a lot to do on planes,movies to watch, food to eat, dd2 liked walking up and down the plane.

I'm not sure it would be practical nowadays with all the restrictions they have on luggage etc.

How old are your children? they might be ok with some books,colouring in, Nintendo ds or whatever.

Gorran Tue 02-Aug-11 23:02:00

Thanks again everyone. I'm hopeful that the iPad will keep them relatively entertained, it's due to arrive early next week, and we travel on the Sunday so I'm going to keep it new for the plane - that way it might actually hold their attention a bit more. So, have got new stationery, some moshi monsters, sticker books, reading books, in-flight entertainment, food (will take plenty of snacks), toilet trips (bound to be copious amounts of these!), hopefully some sleep, iPad, DS, Virgin kid's pack (which I know isn't meant to be much cop, but at least it's a novelty!) - I think we should be ok?

Muckyhighchair Tue 02-Aug-11 23:19:24

Ipad all the way

I find battery is very good and if you have the brightness on dim the battery lasts forever.

Angry Birds is great fun!

wotabouttheworkers Tue 02-Aug-11 23:30:15

Flew to Oz with my daughter, then aged 8. Took story books and paper and felt tips for drawing. Flight was to Vienna first (3 hours), then to Kuala Lumpur (15 hours) then to Sydney (7 hours). She slept most of the way from KL to Sydney. She was fine the rest of the way - I read to her, she drew stuff, I drew stuff. No problem - and she is very, very lively. It will be fine. Just do not do what friends of mine did and overdose them on Fenergan or some such - it just makes them livelier and it's a drug. Have a fab time!!

fastweb Wed 03-Aug-11 06:58:30


iPad realted

App shopper, where you could even let your kids pick out some of the quite cheap games and other aps that they want for the trip.

Look at the button menu under the tabs to limit the choice to things like free only or make it all about games (see catagory menu).

You have to go to itunes to buy, but I like this one for having a look at what is out there.

CestTout Wed 03-Aug-11 12:07:01

Gorran would you like me to recommend free kids games for the ipad? I drove three children back to France recently (9 hours in the car) and the iPad kept them amaused for a lot of that and probably would have kept them amused even more if I hadn't insisted on breaks! They loved Cut the Rope, Where's Wally, Angry Birds, mr Giggle, a penguin one and Cover Orange, although that may be a little old. Hope that helps.

Gorran Wed 03-Aug-11 13:07:35

Thank you all again, that's so helpful. The free iPad games are very welcome! I shall load them on once the iPad arrives.

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