Wednesday, May 11, 2011

flight activities for the little guy...

after many, many, efforts, we just finally booked our flights to nj!  we haven't been there for months, and we're very rarely there in the summer, so we're all very excited.   plus, i finally get to meet my new little niece!!!

unfortunately, my husband will not be joining us for the flight out... he will be flying out a couple days after us.  so, it will be just me and the little man.  we'll be packing lots of activities to make the trip easy for the two of us... and i thought i'd pass some ideas along for anyone else that might be traveling this summer with a toddler...

  • playdoh with hidden objects: we'll most likely make some of our own playdoh, and then hide some small objects in it, such as beans, buttons... things like that.  obviously, if your child puts things in his mouth, this might not be the activity for you :)  this activity is great for strengthening little fingers and can keep leo busy for quite some time!  here's the recipe i use, which i don't remember the source of!  but most of the recipes are pretty similar, and please check out this WONDERFUL guide to dying playdoh naturally here on mini-eco.
1 c. flour 
1 c. water 
1/2 c. salt 
1 tsp. oil 
2 tsp. cream of tartar

mix and stir over LOW heat until done. mixture will become like mashed potatoes, then ball up. store in closed, air tight container. pliable and long lasting.
  • bandaids and paper: another great fine motor activity, and one that often requires lots of concentration.  between opening the box, opening the wrapper, peeling off the paper, and then enjoying the stickiness of them... this one is a winner!  kids can stick them on paper randomly, make different scenes with them, or you can even draw a body on a piece of paper and they can help "mend" the injured parts as you review body parts!
  • stickers and paper: similar to the bandaids, but still a great activity!  sticky foam shapes are really great for imagination, as well... children can create robots, outdoor scenes... whatever they can think of!  try letter stickers, shapes, numbers, or even what you can find at your local dollar store... there's TONS of options!
  • masking tape: (hmmm... seems like i'm on some sort of "sticky" theme here...) i like to use masking tape to create a simple road system, right on the pull out tray on the plane.  leo's a big fan of cars and trucks, and with the help of a little bit of masking tape, he can create a little world of his own.  and when we're done, we can have just as much fun peeling it off and making a satisfying sticky ball!
  • felt shapes: on our last trip, leo was a bit young for this activity, but he might be just right for it now.  i cut a bunch of different small shapes out of felt... circles, squares, rectangles, squiggles... you name it... and kept one large 8 1/2" x 11" piece for a background.  it all folds up nice and compact into a ziplock bag, and when we open it up, we can create all different things with the shapes.  we can even just match colors, shapes, or work on counting the shapes we see.  
  • books: now, i don't know if i'm supposed to do this or not, but we often take a couple of new books out of the library, and bring them along.  i don't bust them out all at once... just take one out every so often, and the excitement of a new book lasts for quite awhile!
  • a couple of new toys: just one or two.  and something nice and small.  or even something that's not a brand new toy, but has been out of the toy rotation for awhile.  a matchbox car, a little magna doodle or etch-a-sketch... just something to spice things up.
  • in case of emergency... iphone apps:  let's face it.  if i'm being honest, while all of these activities are great, at some point, you're gonna want a break, too.  and boy, did those app people get some things right.  fun, educational, interactive... why not indulge a little?  we don't do it often, but when we do, it's always a winner.  i'll be writing another post with some of my favorite apps for kids in a few days!
  • and of course, food!: leo's an eater.  a BIG eater.  i think this causes most of my stress when flying.  what if we actually RUN OUT OF FOOD???  while having no access to ANYMORE???  so, we pack a little heavy in the food category.  we try to keep it low mess, and low stink (while i love my hard boiled eggs, i don't think the rest of the plane does).  crackers, grapes, cheese, blueberries (can never have enough blueberries), sliced turkey, trail mix.  and anything else i can tuck into my carry on.
now, just like with the books... everything comes out slowly... i don't want to take everything out the first 1/2 hour and then be stuck for the next 5 hours!  for the most part, i just try to be aware... and proactive.  when i see a little boredom creeping up on us, that's the time for something new.  i don't want to wait until the tears start or the whining is in full force before taking something out... that's no fun for me, leo, or the people sitting around us :)

i'm sure there are a ton of other ideas... and i'd love to hear them! 


  1. kellie... awesome ideas!!! isn't it funny how the sticky factor so fascinating? i love it! and great tip with the trash bags... we'll definitely be doing that! and the pipe cleaners! i don't want to jinx myself, but i'm thinking we're totally going to be set for this trip :)

    thanks for stopping by... and for the wonderful tips!

  2. kellie... awesome ideas!!! isn't it funny how the sticky factor so fascinating? i love it! and great tip with the trash bags... we'll definitely be doing that! and the pipe cleaners! i don't want to jinx myself, but i'm thinking we're totally going to be set for this trip :)

    thanks for stopping by... and for the wonderful tips!

  3. These are all great ideas!!! I will probably use a couple of them on our next trip! I have a 2yr old and a 3yr old and we recently made an airplane trip. The things that the kids loved the most ....pipe cleaners: lots of bendy, creative fun, and scotch tape, they each had their own roll and thought they had died and gone to heaven!! Even the stewardess loved the tape idea and was going to pick up a couple of rolls to have on hand for grumpy little passengers. Also, I kept a couple of plastic grocery sacks rolled up in with the other toys and prizes so we had our own trash bags...then handed the whole thing off to the flight attendant at the end of the flight. Good luck flying!! It is always a tiring adventure but all this prep work you are doing will make it go a bit more smoothly. Oh, and if you little guy likes to color...grab a box of those triangle shaped crayons...they won't roll off the tray table! I don't remember who gave me that idea but if I could, I would kiss them!

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