Monkey is now 21 months old – fully mobile and the thought of plane travel with her was daunting – especially after our disastrous long haul flight to South Africa when she was one years old and how she refused to sleep and refused to stay in her car seat – not to mention the screaming. Both HIM and I were scarred …
How was I going to keep her occupied for a 2.5hr flight between Brussels (Belgium) & Lisbon (Portugal)???
So I did what I do best… I google-boxed it. Most suggestions were for toddlers who are definitely more open to communication and/or older. Colouring in books, aquadoodle, etc… These suggestions were not going to help.
This is what we found worked best on our recent flights (keeping in mind that I did also pack some puffy large stickers; a sticker/colouring-in book, baby’s first colour pens, etc and none of these were of any real interest to her)
Top 5 Entertainment items: Plane travel with a 21month old
- Buckle Toy Buddy Backpack: I ordered ours from amazon.co.uk and I can honestly say that during the niggly periods of take-off & landing, she was distracted with opening & closing each of the buckles. I could also add a few snacks and smaller items into the backpack portion and she was even happy to wear it for a while (probably because one of us was also wearing a backpack)
- Word Party : I downloaded a few episodes of Word Party from Netflix onto my iPad, which she loved (it is her favourite tv show and the only one that she will sit down for 10-13minutes to watch… which is as long as each episode). We had purchased a child pair of headphones which the sales lady was very reluctant to sell us as they were aged 3+ and she was concerned about safety & the wires. But in the end I didn’t even use the headphones, as the sound of the show was drowned out by the noise of plane engines and it wasn’t that distracting for other passengers. In terms of screen time, normally I am not a huge fan of extended periods of time, but this was a life saving distraction (for her, for us and for the other passengers) and I figure 3 episodes on a plane isn’t too bad (~30min total)
- Wind up toy: I got this silly little wind up monkey toy from Hema which definitely provided about 5-10minutes of giggles as it walked from one side of the tray-table to the other and then she would grab it & pass it to one of us to wind up again.
- Wooden puzzle: I also purchased this item from Hema as it was small enough to pop into my backpack but something that provided sufficient distraction/entertainment for monkey. As it is still a new toy – she is only able to get the triangle pieces on/off the wooden base but I am sure that with time, the other 2 shapes will also provide fun.
- Snacks: this sounds like a silly addition but when children are munching away, time also seems to pass (which is probably why the airlines still offer food/drink!). On the way to Portugal, I packed a banana, some corn/rice cakes,some boudoir biscuits and a puree food sachet from Ella’s Kitchen (be careful when opening it on the flight as the air pressure might cause it already spill out),
Over and above this – I had the required baby bag with extra nappies, wet wipes, empty bottles, additional pacifier, change of clothes, jersey, etc which are the things that are permanently in her changing bag for whenever we leave the house.
Our next plane travel trip is next month between Israel & Belgium which is 4.5hr so I am already starting to think up new options… Do you have any other suggestions???