Activities To Do with KIDS – Longest Flight Fun
How to Survive the Longest Airline Flight with Kids
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Dreading the longest flight with your kids? The longest flight in the world doesn’t have to feel even longer because you are taking the kids. Plan ahead for lots of things to keep them busy and you’ll arrive before you know it!
Inspiration for fun on the longest flight
You know that point when you are soo tired that everything is funny? Like a teenage girl slumber party or after a long flight with no sleep?
Artist Nina Katchadourian reached that point on the longest flight and like all artists decided to express herself through art.
She took a selfie in the bathroom mirror which reminded her of 15th-century Flemish art.
This is an example of 15th-century Flemish art by Robert Campin. Photo from Wikipedia. She is really close, isn’t she?
So she continued. LOVE her expression!
Using napkins and toilet seat covers and….is that a clear trash can liner? Or ….what is that clear thing?
As fun as this looks now, I would not have wanted to be waiting in line behind her to use the bathroom. Be considerate of others when you fly.
You do not have to keep everyone waiting in line for the bathroom …. in order to pass the time and keep the kiddos busy on your longest flight.
Instead, use these ideas to keep everyone happy – including the other passengers who must have surely been glaring at her for taking so much time in the bathroom.
Activities To Do With KIDS – Electronics
I personally think time limits for kids regarding electronic devices can be tossed out of the window on the longest flight! Don’t feel bad about ‘rotting your child’s brain’ LOL because not all electronic device time has to be ‘bad for the kids’! Sprinkle in some educational fun as well!
Apps – Download before you get on the plane
ABC Mouse has some really fun games and programs – and as a former educator, I can tell you they are really educational, too.
The FOLLOWING apps are FREE!!!
*****You might need to be connected to wifi for these to work. Double check before you go! *****
Leap Frog is fun and educational.
I love the LeapFrog LeapPad2 for the littles. These are fun activities to do with kids who will be entertained and learning as they pass the time on a plane. Add ear phones or turn down the sound.
Remember these? Practice shapes, letters, and have fun with your littles without batteries!
These are really cool for your curious kiddo. Animal information to read, great photos, and videos. They link to your device but need NO wifi. Perfect for planes without wifi or that time on the tarmac when you aren’t allowed to use wifi anyway.
Activities To Do With KIDS – Reading
I’m a big believer in reading before you travel, especially with kids. Some people worry that if you introduce what you’ll see when you travel that you will ‘ruin the surprise’ for kids. Not so!! It is actually the opposite with kids.
Children, who are rapidly building their background knowledge of the world, don’t really work that way. Instead of being ‘bored’ with something like say, the Eiffel Tower because you showed it to them in a book, they will be MORE interested if they’ve already seen it.
How is that?
Inside everyone’s brain is a layer of knowledge which forms a spider web of sorts that educators call a schema. The more you learn, see, experience, the more strings you have on your web.
These ‘strings’ are important because, like a file folder in a filing cabinet, it gives you a place to ‘put’ new information so you can find it again.
The more strings you have, or file folders, in your mind, the better organized you are and the more you can learn. This is critical for children. We need to give them as many experiences as we can to help them build their spider web or filing cabinet in their mind. They’ll use it forever to put new information.
The more you’ve experienced in your life, the more you can actually learn. When a child learns something from a book, they lay down a layer of knowledge inside their brain which gives the NEW knowledge a place to stick.
Another part of knowledge gain for everyone, but especially children, is the connections you make between the information.
For example, when your two-year-old sees a truck on the road, she learns that trucks are a little like cars, but bigger and louder. Later, after reading about trucks in books, she will learn the difference between dump trucks and the trucks that deliver mail to the house.
Little by little, the brain builds intelligence – one small piece at a time. You can help YOUR child become even brighter and smarter than the little genius they already ARE when you read – read, read.
Before trips, you can read up on the destination. Bring some books with you on the plane and read together! OR download and leave the weight of heavy books behind.
I’ve done the legwork and made reading lists for these destinations – save yourself the time of doing the same and check it out!
Activities To Do With KIDS – Create Art
In our busy, busy world we don’t often sit and draw anymore. We are too busy with homework and soccer practice and piano lessons to just draw and doodle.
Coloring is the new way to de-stress and meditate by giving your mind just enough to think about so it forgets about all the annoying stress otherwise bothering you. The same is true for children.
You might not agree that children get stressed but think about the differences between your life growing up and theirs now. Did you have the freedom to walk by yourself home from school? Did you roam the neighborhood and only come home when the street lights came on? Our kids don’t have that anymore.
The world has changed.
Give them the time and freedom to quietly sit and stay inside their own mind for a while. Even better, draw or color with them!
Think you can’t draw? Give it a try! Use a drawing book for beginners like this one:
Activities To Do With Kids – Tell Stories
Put your storyteller hat on and use these cute finger puppets to tell stories! Let the kids make them up. Have the puppets talk to each other. There are puppets on the market, but I like how this one includes people, too so your child can include themselves and your whole family in the story! I’m sorry to say I haven’t found any finger puppets with families of color. If you find any, please let me know!
Activities To Do With Kids – Puppets
Re-telling a story is a fantastic skill that kids learn in school and is very different than telling a story from scratch. It is important to practice re-telling because being able to re-tell a story helps you:
*learn to pay close attention to details in a story
*learn to tell the story details clearly but without too many details
*strengthens knowledge of story structure so they can write stories of their own
I love this finger puppet set because it includes four different stories!! Practice retelling these stories and make your child even smarter than they already are!! As a former writing teacher (15 years) I can tell you these skills are critical to encouraging strong writing skills later!
Activities To Do With Kids – Mosaics
Teach the kids about mosaics AND work on those fine motor skills! What a rock star parent you are giving your kids time to strengthen the muscles they’ll need for writing in school!
There are lots of picture ideas to choose from and they are inexpensive and light weight. Choose several to put in your carryon for a quiet, peaceful and educational flight!
Activities To Do With KIDS – Letters
Kid are little sponges and anything that is new to them is interesting so don’t be afraid of ‘educational’ stuff. It doesn’t bore them…they love it!
My kids loved this spelling practice puzzle so much that we literally wore it out after using it for several years and two kids.
We brought it out only during ‘waiting’ times like at in doctor’s offices, restaurants while waiting for food, and yes…on airplanes! The puzzles are small enough to fit on the tray table (Clean it first with Clorox wipes!! Tray tables are germy but they are not the germiest place on a plane! Read here to find out what is.)
Activities To Do With KIDS – Sewing
Scissors and needles are not allowed on planes but you can still sew without them!
Remember sewing cards? I passed the time in the backseat of road trips when I was a kid with these and they are still fun! They were lightweight and can be used over and over again.
Don’t forget the boys! Besides the real-life skills of sewing on a button that everyone needs to know, you might have a future surgeon on your hands. Everyone can benefit from the fine motor skill practice of sewing.
There are lots of sewing cards to choose from but I especially like the ones that go along with a story. Anytime you can sneak in a book or a story I’m in!!
Activities To Do With KIDS – Life Skills
Practice those skills you need in real life before preschool with all the time you’ve got on a long journey! I like this monkey because he has lots of different things you can practice all in one animal! Keep those little fingers busy to improve real lifestyle skills, fine motor skill muscle development, and improve your child’s self-confidence with self-care skills!!
Related articles that will help make your longest flight travel with the kids smooth!
Happy and Artistic Travels,
Natalie, The Educational Tourist