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Travel Entertainment for Children

By travelanswerman | May 5, 2009

Taking children on a plane could be the most hectic part of your entire vacation. Managing snack time, keeping them quiet, taking trips back and forth to the bathroom, and conquering the ear-popping phenomenon are just some of the struggles you’ll have to deal with. Keeping your kids entertained, though, will be a no-brainer with these fun games and activities that are also airplane appropriate.

Games and Electronics

From Mad Libs to DVDs, these games and electronics will keep your kids focused on fun during the plane trip.

  1. Leapster Learning Game System: A variety of Leapster games are compatible with this system, which is designed to develop your child’s basic “school skills” while keeping them entertained. The device is handheld for easy packing.
  2. 20 Questions Junior: This travel-sized 20 Q game is perfect for younger children, ages 8 and up.
  3. Touch Chess and Checkers: Playing regular chess or checkers on an airplane is a terrible idea, but this electronic version allows the competition to continue even when you’re on the plane. Kids can play with each other or against the machine, and the Game Save feature will pause your game if you have to quickly shut it off during takeoff or landing.
  4. Travel Candyland: Little kids love Candyland, and this travel-size version makes it possible to play even when you’re in the air.
  5. Magnetic Travel Games: These magnetic travel kits like Magnet Dress Up, Tangrams and a collection of dinosaur scenes will keep game pieces from falling beneath the seats.
  6. Electronic Mad Libs: This family favorite has a new twist: it now comes in an electronic version! Pressing different buttons results in kooky new word combinations that will keep your kids giggling during the trip.
  7. DVDs: One of these portable DVD players could keep your kids quiet for the entire flight. Plug in headphones so that they can enjoy the movie or doze off without disturbing other passengers.
  8. Card Games: Card games may sound too traditional for your technologically-savvy children, but they’ll love learning the new games from this site.
  9. Disney Mix Max Player: This mp3 player is especially designed for kids, who will love listening to music, watching videos, or looking at pictures from their very own portable player.
  10. Games and Activity Sheets: Child Parenting at About.com publishes lots of different games and activity sheets that you can print out for your kids to color on the plane.

Books and Magazines

These magazines and activity books come with fun games, coloring projects and other cool crafts that will occupy your kids during the trip.

  1. Highlights Magazine: This traditional favorite continues to publish issues full of word puzzles, stories, crafts and comics.
  2. Ultimate Sticker Book Series: Kids of all ages will love playing with stickers in the Star Wars, Disney Princesses, Dora the Explorer or Transformer sticker books.
  3. National Geographic Kids: This magazine is packed full of colorful pictures and stories about animals, the environment and adventure-filled fun for children ages 8-14.
  4. Nickelodeon Fun Puzzles and Games: Keep the little ones busy with the word searches, riddles, puzzles and other games found in this kids-only book.
  5. Kids @ Random: This Random House site recommends the best books for children from preschool aged to teens.
  6. Ramona and Henry Huggins books: This list of classic children’s books include the Ramona Quimby and Henry Huggins books, which will keep boys and girls engrossed for hours.
  7. Make your own coloring books: Instead of buying another coloring book for your kids, let them pick out their own coloring pages from this website. Once you’ve printed them all out, staple them together to make a custom-designed booklet.
  8. The Everything Crossword and Puzzle Book: This book of “brain-teasing fun” is full of puzzles and crosswords for “puzzlers at all levels.”

Other Creative Activities

Here are some additional ideas and games to keep your children entertained while you’re in the sky.

  1. Scavenger Hunt on the Plane: This clever game from FamilyFun.com challenges your kids to find items like sleeping passengers, a red dress, dessert, a mustache, and more.
  2. Finger puppets: Have fun making finger puppets before your trip, and then pack them in your carry on for silly fun on the plane. Take turns putting on finger puppet plays with your new friends.
  3. Create a Travel Journal: Encourage your kids to keep a journal of your trip. They can write about the flight, draw pictures of the places they visited, and tape mementos like museum tickets to the pages. If you didn’t have the time to maintain the journal in your hotel, the plane is the perfect place to catch up on your craft.
  4. Create your own snacks: Chances are, your kids are going to be hungry way before that snack cart comes rolling down the aisle. Bring your own kid-friendly snacks that you can assemble from your seat. Ants on a log (minus the messy peanut butter) is just one idea.
  5. Pack a surprise: Packing a surprise present for your child will create a delightful distraction from the boring airplane. A toy car, stuffed animal, or even a favorite toy from home wrapped up like a present will do the trick.
  6. Take pictures: Use a disposable or digital camera to take pictures during the flight. Your kids will have fun posing for funny pictures to document their trip. Just make sure you use the flash as sparingly as possible; otherwise, you’ll disturb the other passengers.
  7. Colorforms Silly Faces Stick-Ons Game: Kids can stick on and peel off colorforms to create silly faces over and over again.
  8. Make a map of your flight path: Help your kids draw a map of the flight path you’re taking. You can trace a map of the region you’re traveling through ahead of time, and then try to guess which state or country you’re flying over at any given time.
  9. Build a fort with blankets and pillows: Without hogging all of the pillows and blankets on the airplane, let your kids pitch a tent in their seats. With any luck, they’ll eventually get cozy enough to fall asleep!

In a perfect world, babies and children would fall asleep the minute they ease into their airplane seats. In the real world, parents have to struggle to keep their kids from crying, bouncing around in the aisles and spilling their drinks all over themselves. With these nifty games and activities, though, you can keep your children entertained and under control for (hopefully!) the entire flight.


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