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5 fun ways to keep kids amused on the plane

Everyone loves a family holiday – but let’s face it, not everyone likes getting there. Plane journeys can be a nightmare if you are travelling with children. If you can’t get your kids to sit still for 10 minutes, how on earth can you expect to do it for 4 hours? Well, luckily there are a few tricks and techniques that can help. Read on to discover our top ways to keep the kids entertained and soon you’ll find that even the longest journeys can simply fly by!

A small toy makes a great distraction
A small toy makes a great distraction

Give a gift an hour

This might sound like an expensive tactic, but it doesn’t need to be. All you need is little novel bits and pieces to drip feed to your kids throughout the flight to keep them amused. Small cheap toys are absolutely ideal, and once the novelty wears off, you can give them something else. The key is to not just give your child all that you have at the beginning of the flight, as they will get bored of everything really quickly. By spreading the novelties out, you will extend the attention span of your kids and keep them amused for longer.

Pass the time on something like a Nintendo DS
Pass the time on something like a Nintendo DS

Embrace technology

You have to admit it – handheld consoles, such as the PS Vita and Nintendo DS have been an absolute godsend for parents of children on long journeys. No matter what your opinion on computer games, you can’t deny their power to make kids sit in silence for hours on end (as long as you remember the headphones, of course)!

Why not invest in a new game especially for the flight? Your child will be absolutely itching to dive in and likely be engrossed for the majority of the journey.

What a view!
What a view!

Look out the window

Of course there are more traditional ways of fighting off boredom during a flight that doesn’t involve a juiced-up gizmo. Being up in the air provides your child with a rare opportunity of seeing the world from a whole new perspective, so looking out the aeroplane window can really be one of the most exciting things about the flight. Why not take a world map and try to figure out where you are flying over? And yes, using the in-flight mapping system counts as cheating!

Pens and pencils are a great basic way to keep kids busy
Pens and pencils are a great basic way to keep kids busy

Take paper and pencils

Sometimes, the simplest ideas are the best. A notepad and a pencil can easily slip into your hand luggage and provide hours of entertainment, if your family’s imagination can stretch long enough. Apart from the obvious potential for doodling and drawing, there are plenty of paper-based games that the whole family can get involved in. Popular favourites include hangman, knots and crosses, and the squiggle game, where one person draws a squiggle and the other has to turn it into a picture.

How about playing games using the map in the inflight magazine?
How about playing games using the map in the inflight magazine?

Use in-flight materials

Still lost for ideas? With a little bit of a imagination, you can turn what comes in the air seat pocket in front of you into entertainment essentials! For example, the inflight magazine can be a good prop for entertainment. Get your child to search for pictures of items beginning with letters of the alphabet, or play an elaborate game of “eye spy” with the magazine as your source!

Those are our favourite methods for keeping the kids entertained, but what are yours? Share them with us in the comments section below!

Images by Horia Varlan, Sébastien Bertrand, bnilsen, Kristin Nador  and Erin Pettigrew under a creative commons license.

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