We are flying back to the UK tomorrow to spend our summer in cooler climes (with temperatures in the mid 40’s every day in Dubai now, it’s not a pleasant place to be. Even the carpark is hitting 37’C and quite literally feels like a sauna as we’re dashing between air-conditioning and car – not fun!)
Tomorrow will be Stanley’s 15th long-haul flight at the age of two – and being such a seasoned little traveller, I am often asked about how we entertain him for such long stretches of time in a seat. My rule when flying with a toddler is the following: pack one new, exciting thing to read / get creative / play with for every hour of the journey. So here’s what we will be armed with tomorrow…
Clockwise from top middle:
Mini Pots of Playdoh. This will only work if your child likes sorting the dough / isn’t too messy when they mould with it! Stanley is the former and likes to sort the colours by putting the dough in the pot with the coordinating colour lid. I bought him this Playdoh Party Pack (click here) that has 10 tiny tubs so he can sit and sort to his hearts content!
The Very Hungry Caterpillar Colouring Book. This book has the full story of The Very Hungry Caterpillar, with every page ready to be coloured in (click here). The double whammy of a story and a colouring book makes it great value as toddler entertainment goes!
New Pencil Case and Crayons. We are bringing crayons from home, but putting them into a brand new pencil case (this will excite Stanley; it’s the simple things!) He’ll probably spend some time putting the crayons in and out, doing up the zip, saying his colours, so the pencil case is entertainment in itself.
Sticker Book. Toddlers love stickers and this book contains colourful pages laid out to create pictures. However if he wants to stick them all over his face / the seat / the back of the seat intront, that is also fine; they are re-usable meaning that they peel off in a second.
Pocket Scribbler. I’ve found these magnetic scribblers to be great for flights, keeping him occupied for ages (it was invaluable when we had a delay of 4 hours with an 18-month old!) They are so small and lightweight – and cheap too! (click here)
Dettol Hand Wipes. Planes and airports are grimy places, so these will be well used by all of us.
Raisins. Take ages to eat a whole box, healthy, barely take up any room… I’ll have a few packs in my bag.
Sticker sheets. More stickers! They are such a good time waster for toddlers!
Fruit snacks. I’m packing a variety of snacks in colourful packaging that look like naughty sweets, but are in fact made from nothing but fruit. He’ll have fun peeling, guessing the shapes, and scoffing (nb: hands get sticky so you do need those wipes!)
Interactive book. I always pack interactive books – whether he can lift up flaps, wind a clock, stroke textured areas, or (in this case) use a dry wipe pen to scrawl across the pages (under supervision as it won’t wipe so easily off the seat, hands, and other passengers). Stanley is obsessed with his alphabet, so this book should keep him very quiet (click here)
Cut and Play Fruit. This mini set of cut and play fruit will keep him happy for a while. Again, it depends on your child – if they play quietly or like to sort (like Stanley), it’s a good bet. If they hurl things, maybe leave this one out! (click here)
I will also pack a full charged iPad with lots of new apps (Stanley loves jolly phonics, so I will be hunting for geeky apps like that when I come to load it up tonight). There are also a few of his favourite TV shows uploaded so he can watch them on route (we don’t bother with earphones – I find the dull hum of the plane is enough to drown it out for other passengers – and most are wearing their earphones anyway). And I will probably throw in a few favourite books too.
This time, we are also rolling out his new Trunki for all his things – entertainment, snacks, wipes, spare change of clothes, nappies, and his bunny. He gets to pull it along in the airport (or catch a ride if he’s feeling tired) and my bag can then be solely dedicated to Wilfred (I’m not making the mistake of ruling out a spare change of clothes for a baby through lack of space again – I did that once and he had to wear a blanket as a sarong the whole way home…)
Once we’re home, I’ll write a post about the best apps for toddlers on flights, as I’m sure these will come in useful for anyone travelling this summer (we don’t use the iPad much at all at home, but it really does come into its own when we are flying. Thank god for technology).
See you all on the other side!