Keeping kids busy on the airplane is no easy task, especially if you eschew a lot of screen time. We try not to rely on electronics to entertain our kids during long airplane trips, so it is essential that I stock up on some good games to play on the airplane (and a few new books) in order to keep them entertained during long trips.
I purchased a few great puzzle games to add to our arsenal of travel games for our flight across the country last week. They were big hits with with my son, so of course I thought of sharing them with you! (Note: this post contains affiliate links that may earn commission.)
First, of course, we must keep them from complaining and squirming during long waits for boarding to begin. I put together a very-not-fancy activity, which you can easily do at the last minute with a pen and some paper.
Airport Scavenger Hunt. I made a grid with different things he would see at the airport on the way to the plane like "rolling suitcase" "terminal 5" "luggage tag," etc. and he checked them off as he saw each one.
Then, when you get on the plane, plan on having one new game to open every hour at least (or half hour, if you can manage it).
He LOVED ThinkFun Rush Hour Jr. This is my number one game recommendation for kids. It comes in a handy travel pouch and includes 40 puzzle cards for extended play. Surprising my son with a few new travel games always goes over very well.
Magnetic Sudoku (pictured in top photo). My son adores sudoku and this magnetic game is much lighter than toting around a big book of puzzles. I like that the 40 puzzles can be recycled over and over for different people. No need to erase!!
Peg Game. (above left) Watch out! This old school game is highly addictive for grown-ups who feel they should be scoring at the "*WOW* Genius" level, but are only scoring "Just So-So". ... Um. ... Er. ... Not that I know anyone like this.
Kanoodle (above right) is a challenging brain twister that can be played as a 2-D or 3-D puzzle. Super addictive, especially at the higher level puzzles.
And don't forget BOOKS!
We got him a couple of new books. Right now he loves the Stink series. They are just the right level early chapter book for him. (He laughed out loud many times!)
I know a lot of people rely on DVDs and electronic games to keep their kids subdued during traveling. I'm not passing judgment because every family has different needs, but for me, electronic tranquilizers are the antithesis of traveling, which is a time to see new places and experience new things.
Also, the plane is certainly a place where parents are free from most other distractions and can focus on the kids. It's much more rewarding than staring at the TV screen on the back of the seat in front of you. However, Kiddo loved the map which showed the airplane's stats and its progress toward our destination.
How do you keep your kids busy and happy on the plane?
P.S. These games would be great for restaurants, too.
Raising a Happy Child says
Thanks for the ideas! Daughter is just now getting into Sudoku, so it might come handy. However... I admit that we plan to get an iPad just in time for our summer travels 🙂 Where did you go?