Since our families live thousands of miles away, we have flown frequently over the past three years with our daughter and we have lots of tips to share with you.
We’ve found the secret to a happy trip is to bring:
1) many different snacks, such as granola bars, nut crackers, peanut butter squeeze packs, peanut butter pretzels, cheese sticks, juice boxes, applesauce, lara bars, granola, water bottles (to fill up after security), popcorn, dried fruit and nut mix,
2) new books (by beloved authors) to read for the first time,
3) our daughter’s lovies (baby doll and blanket), and
2) a multitude of simple toys and art projects, such as:
colored pencils, crayons or markers and coloring or activity books,
(above, a plain pad and pen work great in a pinch!)
beading projects (love these Melissa and Doug wooden bead sets),
sticker books (we’re partial to Usborne and Dover sticker books),
magnetic toys or games (such as Fractiles Magnetic Tiles or our favorite literary character magnets),
a Doodle Pro, known in our house as our daughter’s “computer” (her phrase, not mine!) that we keep in the car.
In the past we’ve also brought miniature animal figurines, wikki stix, Rand McNally’s Backseat Activity Books series, stamp sets and stamp pads, lacing cards (we love these), card games, books on cd (from our local library), and all sorts of little toys from the dollar bin at our local toy store.
If all else fails, and you’re exhausted and EVERYONE needs a break, whip out your iPod or phone loaded with free Sesame Street podcasts (with Kidz Gear headphones for kids).
We’ve only had to use this tactic a handful of times, but I felt so thankful to have a moment of quiet for the grown-ups to regroup and the 3 year old to have some down time.
In all honesty, I’ve been known to employ that last tactic at home occasionally at the end of a long day. (Though my daughter would rather watch cooking shows on You Tube than Sesame Street, but that’s another post…)