Since we travel a fair bit and have spent a lot of time on planes, I wanted to share some of my top tips on how to manage toddlers... Particularly on how to entertain those tricky creatures that are toddlers! So if you are packing for a long journey, be that for a flight, or a car journey, or a long train ride, here are ten ideas you could include in a toddler entertainment pack. (Here are my top tips on how to manage a flight with a baby)
These are the items I have found are the most important to include if you want your toddler and pre-schooler to be entertained throughout a long transit. I find it is good to include a variety of items, from different categories, as tots get bored so quickly.
1. Favourite plush toy - provides a buddy to cuddle if they are a bit scared and brings comfort in strange surroundings.
2. A tablet full of their favourite programmes or movies - My daughter loves Peppa Pig and I have about three hours worth of pigtastic entertainment downloaded on my tablet. I like to hang our tablet off the magazine holder rack from its case so it works a bit like a TV. A great way to ensure they stay still, at least for a bit. You could also download some games and other apps to entertain your toddler.
3. A smart phone - it's a great idea to download loafs of kid-friendly apps. Fischer and Price do some excellent and free apps for babies and toddlers on iPhone.
4. iPhone case - with drooling babies and object-throwing toddlers, all manners of bashes occur but a case will help protect your very expensive phone. Ensures they are stuck on whatever app you have chosen for them as well and won't go on a picture-deleting rampage... Doubles up as an extra toy too!
5. A children's magazine - you can pick one up from the airport. There are lots of different ones, and they provide hours of entertainment. You often get stickers and some cheap plastic toys to occupy your child with - bonus! We bought the Peppa Pig magazine for our Peppa-mad toddler a while back and it has lasted us 4 flights. The Milkshake was a recent PR sample, and would be great for past toddler-age as well, with stories and a variety of children's TV references.
6. Crayons - to draw with and colour in the children's magazines! I think these are great. No need to sharpen, don't make a mess and if you get them on your clothing they should come off in a wash.
7. Finger puppets - something small and entertaining. Great to break out for a little surprise when everything else fails. Hand puppets are great entertainment as well.
8. A magnetic board - this is a brilliant addition to an entertainment pack as it allows your toddler to draw anywhere, and you won't have to worry about the mess or losing the crayons. Sometimes I draw pictures for her, and sometimes letters and numbers if I want to make it a bit more educational.
9. Finger foods - Lots of little snacks, like raisins or crisps, allowing toddlers to practice their pincer movement and finger dexterity. As a bonus, this should keep them occupied and contented for a while.
10. A new toy -You could also get a toy at the airport, like a plane (very entertaining playing with a plane in a plane, their little brains will explode with excitement!). Or a train on a train journey, or maybe a truck for that long car ride.
Pack this entertainment pack in one bag, so it is easy to pull out whenever you might need it. A basic drawstring bag works well, light and you can close it so nothing falls out. A lot of these ideas work for kids of all ages as well, not just toddlers, so hopefully you have found some suggestions what to pack even if your children are older. Or, if you have a baby, do check out my top tips on managing flying with a baby.
Any other ideas to entertain your toddler on a long trip or on a plane ride?