Traveling With Kids

We’re off to South Carolina on Wednesday.  My kids are beyond excited.  We’re flying out at 0-dark-hundred, and we will have to take two flights to get there. 

I’ve traveled with kids before, but it’s been a couple of years.  Any suggestions for ways to occupy them during the flight?  My 8-year-old son is easy.  He has his DS.  He’ll be in heaven.  My 5-year-old and almost-3-year-old are the ones I’m worried about.  I’d like to put together a backpack of (CHEAP) activities to keep them entertained so they don’t fight and whine and generally make my life miserable.

IDEAS???  Thanksmuch!

P.S.  There will be no giveaway this week, but stay tuned for a really fun one next week!!!

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29 thoughts on “Traveling With Kids

  1. I totally agree with Denitra. When we flew with Kiki and AJ we went to the dollar store and stocked up. Best buy for AJ was a tin of Diego dominos. He took one out at a time and once they were all out, he put them back in one at a time.
    Kiki colored and watched movies on the laptop. Good luck!!

  2. yes, definitely the dollar store. We do loooong drives (2 days up to my parents) and stickers/sticker books have always been a hit. Small toys work great — just keep rotating them. Also, pick toys that can all be played with in different ways, for example, we have a set of perforated cardboard dinosaurs that comes with shoelaces so you can: lace through the holes, or make a dino train, or just use the dinos on their own to make up a story.
    Have a great trip!

  3. Hi! This is the first time I have commented. : ) We took a long plane trip a few times and here are a few ideas. A bag of fruit loops- or similar round cereal- and yarn and make edible necklaces- you can even use red licorice ropes as the inside (the really thin ones). Paint with water. AWESOME. I used empty film containers or small rubbermaid and put a small hole in the top to fit the paint brush through. Playdough. And a couple little tools. Magnetix are awesome. And Color Wonder by Crayola. They even have finger paints. Entertained for a long time. I also carried a stash of lollipops and sugar free bubble gum for take off and landing. OH- and cds. We brought tons of stories on cd.

  4. I have nothing to add to the “keeping them occupied” idea list. They’re all great!

    But I do have one thing that served me very well when I traveled with my then-3yo: An empty sippy cup. (one that seals is best)

    AFTER you get thru security, fill with water from a drinking fountain. My littlest always asked for a drink at the worst possible times. When you’re getting settled on the plane, the flight attendants are not really thrilled at stopping their preflight work to go get your kid a drink. Plus, a sippy cup can sit on their little tray table and NOT spill.

  5. Coloring books work for a little while, at least… snacks, gum… I usually bring a dvd player, too. Do they like paper dolls? Another idea.

  6. Dollar store, baby! A few coloring books, little toys and wrap them up. A new one every so often keeps the interest. When I was a kid and we were driving to Disney World, I remember opening a gift each time we crossed into a new state!

    When all else fails…portable DVD player:)

  7. We went on a road trip this summer with our 3 yr old daughter so I know all about trying to keep a toddler busy. Out of everything we did I think the best things were a new notebook with new twistable crayons, and a new Klutz set called Short Stuff. That Klutz kit was the best, my daughter played with it every day we were in the car. You get 2 little stuffie bodies and a whole bunch of felt body parts that you can velcro onto the bodies to make different creatures. My fave was making a pig, but with wings…. LOL. It was a blast, and we can’t wait to go on another road trip next summer!

    HTH, hope you have a great flight!

  8. Hi, any toys from Dollar stores are good. Crayons are good too but if your kids are like mine they will drop them constantly and you will end up picking them up off the floor. If you have one how about take a portable DVD player with a newly purchased movie. These worked for me on a 6 hour flight to South America with 2 kids. Good luck and enjoy your time away.

  9. One of my favorite activities for travel is to have your kids try to find things as you travel that start with each letter of the alphabet. Let them, or help them take a picture of each object and when you get home make a little travel alphabet book. Might be a bit much for the 2 year old, but older kids love it.

  10. I cannot over emphasize the joy of traveling with movies on an airplane. And lollipops.

    Lollipops can go through security with no issues, help with popping the ears (more important on landing than takeoff) and keeps their traps occupied better than any other candy or bubblegum.

    Last plane trip we loaded up Honey’s iTouch with movies, invested in a splitter and Princess and I were able to watch Cinderella, Nemo, Beauty and the Beast to our hearts content. We also had some more adult videos on my 3rd generation iPod Nano for Honey and I.

    The iTouch is so valuable for air travel. And most airports have free WiFi available so you can email relatives about delays, blog and twitter while waiting – this was when Princess was occupied with stickers, crayons, coloring books and some play areas in the terminal areas. She knew up front that she could only watch the movies on the airplane so no whining and bugging there.

    Have fun!

  11. The Craylola Color Wonder stuff is great for planes because the markers will only work on the Wonder paper and kids love to watch the color come alive on the paper. A portable DVD player is also a good choice (you may ask around and borrow one from a friend if you don’t have one). I have always been pretty fortunate in that the the roar of the engines typically puts both of mine right to sleep. Oh and just in case that doesn’t happen, I would take lots-o-snacks. =) Good Luck!

  12. I agree with the Dollar store. get a few things, but don’t allow them to open until on the plane. Don’t bring anything loud! I seem to remember having some sort of toy that made noise with my son and I almost had to take it away so the people around me wouldn’t want to strangle me!

  13. Great tips so far. We’ve flown a lot with our kids, and variety is definitely the key. A trip to the dollar store to to the Target dollar bins goes a long way.

    One thing I’ll add is do NOT bring Play-Dough. It will be confiscated by the TSA; too similar to plastique. I learned this the hard way.

  14. You don’t have a lot of time, but I used to make little photo albums with the people and places they will see. Also, familiar items and places from home. This is especially good if one parent is staying at home.

  15. I think these are all great tips–grab what you can in the next day or so. Our daughter was occupied for a lot of our plane trip with a little Polly Pocket type set–dressing and redressing, etc. One thing we did was pack a few other surprises in our suitcases for her backpack for the return trip.

  16. Do you have a laptop? They are great for watching a movie and if you have a Mac you can make goofy pictures using Photo Booth. I usually over pack forgetting that kids can be occupied with just a few simple items (paper and crayons works for us as do the cheap little plastic animal toys from the dollar store). Be sure to pack a snack that the kids will like if they are picky eaters or if you don’t want to spend a fortune on airline food.

  17. I just flew a few weeks ago with my 4, 3, and 1 yr old. We brought the laptop to play movies on and I also bought one of those huge sticker books for the older two. And bring lots of snacks! I was even able to bring juice boxes through two different airports without any problems. (Just make sure you declare it up front.) We happened to be sitting near some other kids (strangers) and that helped with keeping them entertained for awhile. Good luck!

  18. Hi, I am from SC and haven’t been back in so long, I am jealous! As for the flight, how about color wonder markers and books? I always buy those for long car rides and the kids love them. Take some books to read, but a bunch could get heavy. Lacing shapes have saved us many times, it is a nice quiet activity. Good luck and have fun!

  19. Travel playsets worked really well for us when our oldest was that small. Matchbox had a folding set, and I know the Polly Pockets type things are out there as well.

    And just as everyone else mentioned…movies and snacks.

    Dramamine makes for a nice quiet trip as well…lol.

  20. Hey! YOu could make a search & find bottle– put a BUNCH of little items inside ,ie– marbles, colored paperclips, little tiny toys, jelly beans, etc, inside the bottle w/ a bunch of rice & then they have to find the items. Have a great time!

  21. The toys are good, but keep a couple in your travel bag for when they get bored with what they have. This will give a moment of excitment for something new.

  22. We have flown 6 times with our 4 kids(ages 11,7,7,and 4). Each one has their own carry-on(a backpack) filled with their own activities and goodies. We haven’t had any trouble getting Crayola Model Magic Clay thru security and it’s better than play-doh since it stays soft and doesn’t get crumbly. And big yes to the Color Wonder sets. Also a deck of cards for playing War, Go Fish and the like. I always pack our own plastic restaurant style kid’s cups with straws for when the beverage cart comes along. We also invested in a couple of inexpensive MP3 players and loaded them with all their favorite songs. Saltwater taffy is always a big hit for the descents – keeps em chewing and swallowing for a while which helps with the ear pain. Ooo…and have them each pack a favorite small soft stuffed toy that can be used as a head/neck rest…

    Have a great trip!!

  23. Snacks work for us too!

    My favorite for the pre-reading years was always sticker books.

    They aren’t too cheap and they are only a one-time thing, but they work. I think you have Half-Price Books in your area — they always had them, so I’d get a few there before each trip.

    Also, maybe load up your ipod with kid-friendly music that they like, or video if you have that (I don’t. I’m a relic).

  24. Ideas about toys just don’t cut it. You wind up having to crawl out of your seat (plane or car) and digging around under seats, cushions etc. Can also be true of crayons, etc.

    As much people want to believe kids will read, it’s a rare child that will read a book or magazine or thumb through things for more than 5 or 10 minutes.

    I can only agree with people who say load up the ipod with movies/music. It’s worth BUYiNG one for the time!!!

  25. I went to the dollar store and purchased a bunch of little fun prizes, games, toys and let them pick one every time they seemed to get bored. AND a TV or laptop – saved me last time.

    Have a great trip and Happy Wedding to your brother.

  26. I second the sticker books. The Disney ones are my favorite (and I’m not usually one for the namebrand stuff), but the Disney ones have great educational stuff that holds their attention longer than just sticking stickers on a page. Only for airplanes – they need help with them sometimes so in the car it will drive you crazy.

    The DVD player is a beautiful thing. If you get a “splitter” you can plug 2 headphones into the same player.

    Snacks, snacks and more snacks. I make my kids big snack bigs for each of them, with little baggies of teddy grahams, Ritz Bitz, goldfish, granola bars, mini vanilla wafers, that kind of thing. Sugar, my daughter and the airplane is not a good mix. 🙂 Except for the lollipops — great idea, and we don’t travel without them once someone told me that idea.

    We’ve used a lot of the other ideas you’ve gotten too – Color Wonder, Magna Doodles, magnetic play sets.

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