Whoever said ‘it’s the journey not the destination’ had never been on a long flight with children. While sometimes it all goes very smoothly and you step off the plane feeling fabulous and looking like Posh Spice with a trail of kids behind you, other times you get vomited on 15 minutes into the journey.
This holidays me and my two children are embarking on a five hour flight followed the very next day by an 8 hour car journey. This is not the first time we have done this so I have picked up a few tips along the way that I thought I would share with all of the mums out there who may have a short or long trip on their horizon too.
For me the key is to pack things that will keep the kids amused and entertained (and quiet), especially on a flight where you are in such close proximity with other travellers.
Personalised Wheelie Bag of Goodies
While we may be blowing our own trumpet the Stuck on You wheelie bags are ideal for flights, bus or car trips. They are the perfect size for carry-on, can be packed with entertainment and kids as young as two can wheel them themselves. I have many a fond memory of my children proudly swanning through the airport with their wheelie bags in tow.
Fill with a sticker book, an activity book, a couple of picture books, stickers, a sketch book, pencils, crayons, an electronic game or ipod if they have one. Magnetic games are perfect for travel and there are some gorgeous ones around on the market or you can make your own with minimal fuss.
Top Tip – The Magnetic Fishing Game
This is a great distraction for younger kids from about 2-8. Tie or glue a magnet to a piece of string attached to a little wooden pole (chopstick or a bamboo skewer will do) and put it in a little box with a few metal pieces that stick and a few that don’t. Nuts, bolts, fridge magnets and paper clips will do. Or drag it out by getting your kids to draw their very own fish, cut-out and colour them in and stick a paperclip to them to catch while fishing.
Personalised Activity Books
It’s a good idea to put in a few items they haven’t seen before, that way the very act of rifling through their wheelie bag will keep them busy. May we recommend the Stuck on you personalised activity books? For kids aged 1 – 10 there are puzzles, pictures to colour in and activites to keep them busy for hours! Our Tools 4 School (pics below) and travel kits are pretty good for distractions too!
Top Tip – Wrap a few things like presents
This is most effective for kids aged 2-4 on a plane. Wrap about five things and your kids can slowly bring them out and open them one by one. It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant – a packet of sultanas, the activity book or a small packet of pencils. Tell them they can open a new one every hour or just remind them about one anytime they get restless.
A Packed Lunchbox
Of course, we recommend the Stuck on You personalised lunchboxes packed with goodies. Your travelling companions and your sanity will thank you if you keep the snacks in your lunchbox low in sugar and stickyness. Some ideas – little packets of sultanas, packets of nuts and seeds (for older kiddies), banana chips, cheese, carrot and celery sticks, little tub of yoghurt, corn chips, fresh fruit, soy crisps, a savoury muffin…
Fresh water is a must too. Naturally, in their Stuck on You personalised drink bottle (pictured below). If you’re on a plane sending them off to refill it will buy you a few moments to yourself every now and then too.
Top Tip – Spotto with a Sketchbook
This game is ideal for long car trips. Take a plain sketchbook (hmmm…how about a Stuck on You personalised sketchbook?) and fill a page or two with things for your kids to spot on the journey. If they are older you can write a list if they are younger you can draw pictures – a bird, a tree, an aeroplane, a train, a bus, a bike and some harder ones like a dog with a hat to keep them keenly searching.You could fill another page with things they have to collect on the stops to make sure they stretch their legs – a stick, a rock, a feather, a leaf.
Those are my top tips for distracting kids on long journeys but we have more journeys ahead so I would love to hear all of yours too. Wherever you are going and however you get there, have a safe and pleasant holiday and do your best to enjoy the journey.