How to Create Your Own Children’s In-flight Entertainment Pack
If you're travelling with small children, you need to think about far more than what clothes you pack in their suitcase - a lot of thought needs to be given as to how you're going to keep the little ones entertained on the plane.
Whether you're taking a short- or long-haul flight, here are some tips on creating an in-flight entertainment pack that will help keep your little ones quiet during the flight:
First and foremost, it's a good idea to make one of your hand luggage bags your in-flight entertainment bag. This way, you only have to worry about rummaging around in one bag for the next activity. What’s more, if it’s small enough – like a medium-sized rucksack – you might be able to store it under the seat in front of you rather than in the overhead locker, making it easily accessible throughout the flight.
Trunkies are a good idea - as well giving your child the option to rest their legs in the airport by riding around on them - they easily fit into the overhead lockers. Plus they are also roomy enough to fit a selection of activities, games and toys in.
Colour Pads & Pens
Kids love colouring, so be sure to pop in some new colouring pads and pens – these can be found in many of the £1 and 99p shops so they’re a cheap way to keep them entertained.
If your children are very young, think about the range of special water pads and pens that mean you don’t risk pen marks everywhere. These Aquapads will reveal beautiful colouring with no mess.
Include some plain paper too, so they can create their own drawings and activities, such as hangman, squares, noughts & crosses etc, or even write their own stories or newspaper articles.
There’s a huge selection of kids’ magazines available that are suitable for all ages. Crammed with stories, colouring, stickers and games they are well worth the money.
Many come with a gift which will amuse the kids too.
Small and lightweight, don’t forget to include a pack of cards, which are brilliant for school-aged children (yes, even infant school kids). There are lots of games to play, including 21 and Beggar Thy Neighbour that don’t require lots of space, and are easily played on the seat tray.
And of course, look into Top Trumps, Uno, Monopoly Deal, even Scrabble has a card version now.
Travel Sized Games
There’s a huge range of travel-sized board games on the market, such as Connect 4, Battle Ships, Guess Who? and Scrabble, there’s even magnetic Snakes & Ladders.
Obvious, but often forgotten in our haste to pack ‘entertainment’ – don’t forget to pack a some books. Short stories and chapter books are a good mix for both young and older children.
Of course, in this day and age, even children have their own iPods and iPads. But remember, you can’t go online when flying so why not download your child’s favourite TV shows and films to while away an hour or so.
And, if you don’t want the dim murmur of their chosen flick in the background, invest in a pair of children’s headphones.
Don’t forget to make sure all your electronic devices are fully charged before you leave home.
How about adding in a little surprise gift in their bag? A small cuddly toy could make a child’s day, especially useful if they are getting a bit agitated or tired during the flight.
Flights are often cold, and there’s no such thing as a complimentary blanket these days, so think about including a small blanket that your little one can snuggle up with if they get cold – it can also serve as a sleep aid.
These little sleep aids are just the job to help your children manage a little bit of shut-eye. Some versions can be blown up, which saves room in your bag; others come already inflated or full of beans.
Don’t forget a little bag of snacks. While airlines will have a selection of on-board snacks, they are pricy and there isn’t a huge choice for children, so take your own.
Contrary to popular belief, you can pack snacks and take them through security and on to a plane. It’s liquid products that are restricted, so buy your drinks once you’re in the Departure Lounge (this includes liquid foods such as yoghurts and soups).
Before you leave home, make up a little packed lunch. It’s worth packing a little bit extra that can take into account any delays you might experience, and cover any transfer times that might be over meal times.
Do buy a bottle of water for your child for the flight in the Departure Lounge – and grab a straw too. When it's time for take off, get them to take constant sips whilst the aircraft is getting up to altitude - this helps to prevent painful popping ears. Do the same when the aircraft starts making its decent as ears can hurt on the way down too.
A lifesaver for young and old, be sure to include a pack of wet wipes in your bag.