Before I became a mom, I looked forward to plane rides as a time to settle in with a good read and some tasty snacks. But now that my flights include two pint-sized companions, I spend all of that time in the sky trying to keep my twins happy and occupied — while crossing my fingers that they don’t need to use the potty while the “fasten seatbelt” light is still on.
The bathroom thing is still hit or miss, but after nearly 30 takeoffs and landings with little ones in tow, here are some of my tried-and-true ways to help entertain preschoolers on an airplane (no screens required!).
Let Them Carry on Their Own Entertainment
If preschoolers had an official motto, it would be: “I wanna do it myself!” They want to help and be part of everything, and that includes hauling the luggage through the airport. But while I’ll forever love the photo I have of my then-toddler pulling a mini suitcase through the terminal, most bags are of course too big and heavy for preschoolers to handle.
Instead, let them feel like a big kid by giving them a carry-on item that doubles as in-flight fun. This will also help them be more invested in it after takeoff — after all, they brought that activity with! Interactive toys like finger puppets, a write and wipe book that comes with a built-in handle, or an easy-to-carry magnetic wipe board case filled with alphabet tiles put the fun right at your kid’s fingertips rather than getting forgotten in an overhead compartment. Plus it’s so nice to see kids playing with brain-boosting toys, rather than just zoning out to the movie screen on the seat in front of them.