Crafty Ways to Keep Your Sanity When Traveling with Kids
August 12, 2015
My cutie patootie niece (18 months) and nephew (5 years) were traveling with my sister-in-law on their first international flight last month. My bro and sister-in-law don't like using the TV or the Ipad as a distractor, and only use it when all else fails -- i.e. group dinners and when traveling. So, I wanted to come up with some easy and fun activities for the tots to do on the plane before they evenually give up and give in to the kids' screams for "Ipad! Ipad!". Here's what I came up with after much Pinterest stalking, Google searching, and Dollar Tree visits:
1) Popsicle Stick Puzzles - I picked a large image from a coloring book, colored it, and cut it out. Then, I used the edge of the popsicle stick to measure and draw lines on top of the image with a pencil. I used the lines as markers for cutting out strips of the puzzle in the exact width of the stick. After all of the strips were cut, I glued them to the stick. I used harder puzzels (7 - 8 sticks) for my nephew and easier ones (4 sticks) for my niece.
Why it's good for the plane? The pieces are easier to keep track of (and store!) than a real puzzle. Why the kids like it? It's a fun (and new!) puzzle they haven't done before so it'll take them several tries to get it right = at least 5 minutes of snooze time for you.
2) Foam Shape Activities - I let my nephew pick out which packet of foam shapes he wants. He picked farm animals and sports balls. So, I made a few activity sheets for him to do on the plane. I stuck a bunch of different farm animals all over the page in different colors.
On the next page I asked him a bunch of sorting questions like:
How many ducks do you see?
How many pink animals do you see?
How many animals are looking to the left? to the right?
How many tails do you see? How many ears?
How many blue rabbits plus purple ducks?
3) I used the leftover foam shapes + mini pom poms and containers with lids that I got from - you guessed it - The Dollar Tree - to make a sorting activity that uses fine motor skills for my niece. I practiced this activity with her before the plane ride so that she would know what to do when she got on the plane.
First, I practiced opening and closing the lids with her. Then, I asked her to open all the lids and put one pom pom in, and close all the lids. We repeated with a foam shape. Then, with a foam shape and a pom pom. She really liked this activity but my SIL told me that the pom poms were falling off the tray tables and it was annoying to keep picking them up over and over again. If you have a box or a tray you can put them in when you're on the plane, this might work better.
4) I also used the foam shapes for an alphabet activity. I bought a notebook with plain white paper, and drew a large letter starting with "A" on each page. Then, I added a few foam shapes or hand drew recognizable objects/animals on each page for my nephew to practice his writing. Pictured here is the "F" page.
5) I also bought dry erase boards and markers that were lined for him to practice his alphabets in English and Punjabi.
Leave me a message in the comments if you tried any of these activities or if you came up with your own for those long plane rides.