Nothing ruins a travel day faster than a bored, fussy toddler – and even the most prepared parent will eventually have a fussy traveling toddler. Keep them entertained on the plane using these items that are easily found in the seat-back pocket or from the flight attendant. They also work great in a restaurant.
– Cups: Request 2 cups from the flight attendant and fill one of them 1/2 full of ice or water. Have your toddler pour the water or ice from one cup to the other. They are sure to spill a little (or all of it!) but that is part of the fun. You can avoid the mess by using small snacks such as Cheerios or M&Ms instead of the water/ice.
– More Cups: Request 3 cups and play the shell game – hide a snack (or a pacifier) under one of the cups and let your toddler try and guess where you hid it. The reward of a fun snack can keep the game going for at least a few minutes.
In Flight Magazine: Color the crossword puzzle grid in a fun pattern or design. You can also find an ad with a lot of capital letters and work on letter skills by playing a game of letter seek.
– Make paper airplanes out of subscription cards or paper scraps – napkins even work in a pinch.
– Teach Rock, Paper, Scissors: Be flexible with the rules and let your toddler entertain you with the reasons why one should win over the other.
– Play peek-a-boo or make faces. All toddlers like to make funny faces back and forth. If you are lucky, a nearby passenger will join in the fun.
– Play I Spy through the pages of the SkyMall magazine. You can limit it to the few pages of toys or open it up to the entire magazine. Toddlers can practice counting by counting the number of dogs in the catalog. Why dogs? Because they are usually scattered throughout the magazine so it takes time to find them but there are generally only 4 or 5 – not too high for toddlers to count.
When all else fails, remember the power of sock puppets!
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