" /> How Do I Keep My Kids Entertained On The Plane? - Jetlag & Mayhem

How Do I Keep My Kids Entertained On The Plane?

First off, let’s all put our hands together and applaud the iPad, iPhone and in flight entertainment system.  But there was a time when we all travelled without these items and our parents managed to keep us entertained with old school items like ‘our imagination’, ‘a book’ and ‘Travel Connect 4’.

iPad heaven

Despite the wonders of technology, you cannot be reliant on them e.g. electronic items can’t be switched on until you’re at cruising altitude, your battery may have died on your ipad, or even worse – your seatback TV is broken!  Therefore it’s always good to come armed with an arsenal of fun activities for the kids.  Also, I can’t be the only parent out there that despite all the wonderful educational apps out there, gains more satisfaction out of seeing my kids drawing and playing with sticker books than nose firmly implanted on an ipad.

  • Reusable sticker books.  There are so many on the market – don’t buy ones where your kids can’t unpeel the stickers themselves or you’ll end up having to do it for them.
  • Window stickers – the ones that have a ‘plastic’ feel that you can easily peel off things.  The air stewards won’t thank you for it but your kids will have lots of fun sticking them on the windows, tray table etc.
  • Notepads.  Go to a stationery shop and buy some cheap notepads which are great for drawing, games of naughts & crosses even making paper aeroplanes
  • Crayons – the triangular ones are especially good as they don’t roll on the floor
  • A new discovery for my daughter are ‘rainbow looms’ bracelet making kits.  This will keep her occupied for hours!
  • My daughters also love sticky mosaics – basically a colourful design where they stick on colour coded foam mosaic pieces. You can buy mosaic kits like these from craft shops, toy stores or order online.
    Sticky Mosaics
  • Usborne do great activity cards.  My daughter absolutely loves the ‘Travel Doodles’ which are wipe-clean cards that come with a pen and ’50 Things To Spot At The Airport’ is a winner with kids and husbands alike.
    Usborne - 50 things to spot at airport Travel Doodles - Shrink
  • I’ve found these nifty reversible chalkboard/whiteboards that come with chalks, erasers, pens and magnets.  These are also useful for evenings out in restaurants.
  • Kids do tend to spill everything on the floor. One way around this is with a magnetic toy/book.  Amazon have quite a few brands on offer and my daughters love their ones from Tiger Tribe
  • Books.  Mini books especially are lots of fun and easy/lightweight to pack
  • Post it notes
  • Sick bag hand puppets
    Sick bag hand puppets - shrink
  • The inflight magazine game!  This involves taking one inflight magazine and tearing pictures out of it.  Then give the pictures to your kid, along with another inflight magazine and ask them to find the same picture.  Snap!
  • Stacking cups (either bring your own or use the cups you get with a meal).  If you don’t mind the mess then a cup of ice can also be minutes of fun for little kids.

Final Tips!

Don’t buy anything too expensive as they will end up losing the pieces or leaving it on the plane.  

Stock up at your local charity shop or pound store.  You can even wrap little toys if you want to give ‘surprises’ for good behaviour.

For babies, check out my top 10 toys for babies on a plane

Consider how you/they will carry their inflight activities.  I recommend backpacks for smaller kids and wheelie luggage for older ones. But the likelihood is you will end up carrying it all at some point!

And off they go...!

And off they go…!


  • Wendy at Tots


    Great article – have popped on our facebook page….

    • Nicola

      Thanks! 🙂

  • Lizzie Lau (Boogers Are Yucky)


    Great tips. My 4 year old is a great little traveler and practices better airplane seat etiquette than most adults. We haven’t done any really long flights though. I book with connections and make her run laps in airports to get the wiggles out. #SITSSharefest

  • Nell@PigeonPairandMe.com


    This is such a handy list of tips! Especially the one about window stickers. I’d never thought about that, and I reckon it would be hilarious – my two would certainly be entertained for a while with those.

  • Donna


    This is an adorable post. As one who travels without children I am thankful for parents who are thoughtful about how difficult travel can be for little ones. Recently on a plane my heart went out to a couple who had a crying baby – from Michigan to California. At one point the father suddenly blurted out “who’s child is that!?” It broke the tension. Everyone seated around him seemed to suddenly relax and understand. Great post – I’m glad to have found you today thorough Sits.

    • Nicola

      I love this – what a funny thing to say! That would definitely make me chuckle. Glad you’ve stopped by 🙂

  • Carrie From Carrie This Home


    These are great tips–I’ll have to remember these when I take the kids to Florida next year! My daughter just discovered reusable sticker books and is really entertained by them! I’ll be pinning this to my travel board. So glad I stopped by from SITS!

    • Nicola

      Reusable sticker books are the best!

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