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Entertaining a toddler on a plane

(11 Posts)
BentleyBelly Mon 18-May-15 11:00:59

Hi, we are off on holiday in 2 weeks (yay!) but before we get to the lovely destination I have to get through 4 torturous hours on a flight with a 21 mo on my lap. We have a fully loaded ipad and sticker books, what else can people recommend? She is at a stage right now where she just does not want to sit still and has the most almighty tantrums at the drop of a hat, I am seriously dreading this. She likes fiddly toys, taking lids of stuff, opening and closing things, any compact toy ideas? I really wish we had booked an extra seat for her so she only has to sit on my lap for take off and landing but the cost is prohibitive now.

Heels99 Mon 18-May-15 11:03:00

Stuff from pound shop
Reading stories

roofio87 Mon 18-May-15 11:39:01

We took lots of little figures, they kept ds entertained for a while. also books, colouring, tiny snacks that take a long time to eat, like raisins! we have just been on a five hour flight with our 18mo ds who never sits still but he was great, didn't try and escape us and barely whinged so it may not be as bad as you're expecting!

oldestmumaintheworld Mon 18-May-15 11:46:20

From years of doing this myself I can offer the following and hope you find some of it helpful:

1. Assuming you are going with DP the first thing is that you take it in turns - half an hour each - and during your half hour you do the entertaining whilst the other one goes for a walk around, has a coffee, goes to the loo, etc. This way you don't get so fed up and neither does toddler. Time it on your phone.
2. Make sure one of you has an aisle seat. At the start of each half hour after the swap over take baby for a walk around the cabin. This breaks up the time and helps to get baby tired.
3. After walk offer little one a drink of water (make sure to take sippy cup or similar with you on plane and get bottle of water from steward as soon as you can after you get on board) babies get very dehydrated on planes and thus very cranky.
4. Also build in time for a meal if appropriate time and take it with you in a Tupperware - little sandwiches, grapes, carrot sticks - what ever you give. Keep in separate bag with wet wipe and bib ready.
5. Have a 'magic bag' containing three things to do per half an hour time slot. I used to put each activity in a separate ziplock bag and allow child to have a lucky dip when they got bored with the last one. (Managed to get off a 9 hour flight to USA once with two left but it was touch and go)
6. Things to include in Magic Bag:
Little plastic cars and a small box with a door for a garage
Blank book and crayons for Mummy or Daddy to draw a story and tell it to child - if you can get hold of 'stubbies' child can draw too.
Stickers to go into the book
Beads and a necklace to lace them onto. Make sure beads are big. Early learning centre used to do them
A small ball and a box with a lid to put it in and take it out of. Two further boxes to put this box in. Use cheap plastic tupperwares. Also works well with bell.
Picture books
Finger puppets to fit on fingers and tell a story.
Photos of family to stick in the book of blank pages with a pritt stick.
A comb to comb Daddy's hair (I don't know why small children love doing this but they do)

Word to the wise, do not take Play doh. I did once and never again. It got stuck to the seat and the cabin crew went bonkers, understandably. And if you can't already, practice changing childs nappy on your lap sitting on the loo. Airplane bathroom floors are filthy and too small to change child on floor.

Good luck and have a lovely holiday.

Karismatic Mon 18-May-15 11:48:06

We recently went on a 11 hour flight with our children. Our 17month old sounds just like your little one.

Take a beaker with a drink that she likes to help with ear pain, the iPad was great, load up games before you leave so they are ready to go. we took a ballon, which was fun and post-it pad that they could draw on and stick on the seat.

Once you take off you can walk around with her. I am sure it will not be as bad as you think. Our flight was fine.

Tequilashotsfor1 Mon 18-May-15 11:50:47

Wow oldest what a great post!

Shall be using some of those tips in a few weeks myself wink

vvviola Mon 18-May-15 11:59:26

Oldest has lots of great advice - I've used most of those tricks before.

Before you do any of those, or take out any of your toys/bags etc, I give you the one thing that keeps both my children entertained for longer than I thought possible.... the safety card!! grin No idea why, but I would get a good 20 minutes out of them looking at pictures, pointing to colours, random chatter etc. I hav strange kids.

But my point is - don't forget that planes are endlessly fascinating to kids and there's lots to look at.

Also - lollipop or sippy cup for take off/landing is really good for their ears.

Finally - all the toys/games etc that you have packed for the flight... when you get to your destination, put them away and don't bring them out again until the flight home. Keeps the DC from getting bored with them (mine are now 7 and 3 - they get a "travel folder" for each trip - games, colouring, jigsaws in ziplock bags etc. - it is strictly for travelling only, so they are always excited to see what is in it for each flight/road trip)

Scraggyspanner Mon 18-May-15 12:09:08

I'm following with interest, as i have an upcoming flight with my 18 month old. The tips sound great, I'm obviously no expert but have been stocking up, poundland and Tiger have been my friends for small, cheap bits to play with.
So far, i have got:
cheap notepads and pencils for scribbling
small plastic eggs with a little figure in for opening and closing
magnetic people and a tin
pillbox which I will fill with little snacks/'things' for putting in and out/sorting
a shoelace for threading cheerios onto and eating

We also don't have an extra seat but I imagine there will be a fair amount of walking/us standing so he can use the seat. My LO isn't a TV watcher so I'm fairly envious of your ipad!

I also intend to pack quite a few snacks as they are fairly certain entertainment our end.

TinyBit Mon 18-May-15 12:24:11

I would avoid taking anything with little bits; crayons or little pencils just keep rolling onto the floor and you spend the whole flight trying to get the buggers up off the floor.

BentleyBelly Mon 18-May-15 12:28:47

Some brilliant ideas, thank you ladies.

rastamam Mon 18-May-15 12:36:25

My ds really really loved the flight he took recently (4 hours) and was sooo excited to be on a plane so if it can be seen as a really fun thing to do maybe itl be easier for you?We were lucky as had 2 seats either side of the aisle for me and my dh so my ds could alternate between us and easily walk around. Some other children were playing in the aisle which was entertaining for ds. Stickers and slow snacks were great and new random toys & a cbeebies magazine were all great, and the tv on the kindle.He absolutely loved it which made it really easy and nice for us.

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