My 5-year-old son is extremely active.
I know what you’re thinking. All 5 year-olds are active. But my son is different. He is always going at 150 miles per hour! There is no slowing down. There is no in between. It’s either he is at full speed or sleeping! He has always been like this since he was able to walk.
So you can imagine the anxiety I was feeling before our first flight to Oahu when he was just 3 years old.
It was a 6-hour non-stop flight and I had to come up with fun and creative ways to keep this little guy entertained. And giving him the iPad for 6 hours was not an option although he did have some screen time to help keep me sane.
Here’s some ideas I came up with that helped us:
- Buy a new coloring book or activity book and crayons. Pack it like a little present and have them open it on the plane. Wait for the oohs and aaahs. Here is one that we bought for Gabriel; he was obsessed with Miles from Tomorrow Land!
- Buy a new book to read. NEW is the magic word here. Something new will be exciting for them and this will (hopefully) preoccupy them for a while.
- Download apps like Mickey Mouse clubhouse or Thomas the Train on the iPad. Just make sure its an app that is educational and will capture their attention for some time.
- Bring their favorite snacks and add a some extra special treats too.
- Interact with them. Play games like eye spy, talk to them about what they want to do during the trip. Anything that requires them to think and be engaged because let’s be honest, we want to exhaust them so they’ll take a nap.
- Bring small toys like cars, dinosaurs, wooden trucks, etc… This Power Ranger toy is a good one that we bought for Gabriel which kept him engaged for some time.
- Watch a movie. Now this should be your last resort. We watched Toy Story 3 which was my sons favorite movie at the time. This did wonders when he was just getting too antsy to do anything else. Don’t forget to bring headphones so you don’t disturb your neighbors.
Our flight to Oahu was a success with no major meltdowns. Being well prepared for anything helped a lot.
And surprisingly, our flight back home was a breeze because he slept soon after takeoff and woke up just before we landed. Score!
Good luck and happy traveling!