Travel activites for preschoolers

We’re going to Trinidad this year. It’s a nine-hour flight. I always resent people responding with “Only nine hours?” when I say that, as if nine hours stuck on a plane is a breeze for any small child and their grown up.

Anyway, I’ve survived it twice on my own and this time Laurence is coming too. We’ll also have Ophelia but it still feels less daunting with another reasonably rational person along with us. You choose which of them I mean. I jest. Maybe.

I’m really looking forward to planning to trips to elsewhere in the world too. As important as it is to go home, it’s all too easy to end up always holidaying there. It would be fun to plan something family friendly through a site like Tots Too at some point.

Anyway, here’s what I have planned for the three-year-old. The five-month-old will be all boob and sling.

travel with kids-2-2 travel with kids-4 travel with kids-5

1. Child-sized headphones. I know the airline provides headphones but I never find them a great fit myself and I didn’t want to risk Talitha not being able to tune out with some screen time on the flight. These seem a bit quiet too which makes me happy about protecting her hearing.
2. Usborne’s 100 things for little children to do on a journey. Between drawing, finding and playing, this pack of cards has LOADS to keep her busy, with the help of an adult.
3. Sketchbook, coloured pencils and felt-tip pens. Stuck on you sent us these with Talitha’s name printed on them. She’s had such a kick out of recognising her name on them and they’re nice quality too. It’s been amazing seeing her drawings develop over time.
4. Peg dolls. I loved these clothes peg dolls so much, I just had to make some of our own. Talitha chose the colours and even took one of them to bed with her one night. I’ll bet Laurence will love playing dollies on the plane.
5. Library books. We’ll be making a special trip to the library to choose some new books that can take some re-reading.
6. Apps. Of course our iPad is coming with us. If you have any suggestions of apps, I’d love to hear them. Talitha’s current favourite is Eggy Alphabet from Reading Eggs.
7. Foam letters. This is another idea I stumbled across via another blog. I made some numbers and am trying to keep them away from her so she doesn’t get bored of them by the time we fly.
8. Gruffalo Snap. Her godmother gave her this pack of cards for Christmas and she has quite the attention span for it. It’s hilarious playing with her, though, because she doesn’t always understand that we’re not taking turns saying, “Snap!” then tells us off for being unfair.
9. Snacks. For preschoolers, this IS an activity! And we even have this cute little lunchbag with Talitha’s name on it, also from Stuck on you, for her to keep all her snacks and drinks in.
10. Magnetic drawing board. I actually had to google what that was called because I’m so used to calling it an etch-a-sketch!

This is a collaborative post. See my disclosure for more details.


  1. August 19, 2014 / 8:57 am

    Great list, our two always loved a cheap roll of stickers. Just stick them on their arm and then let them transfer them to paper or their face, keeps them happy four ages!
    Em @ snowingindoors recently posted..Impromptu Road Trip

  2. August 19, 2014 / 2:22 pm

    Some good ideas – we used to love wipe clean/water based colouring cards as we had many long train journeys when the twins were younger.
    Kate Thompson recently posted..End of an Era

  3. August 19, 2014 / 8:16 pm

    wow good luck with a 9 hour flight, I was daunted by taking Theo on a two hour flight to Spain! Sounds like you are really well prepared, and even though our flight didn’t take that long, and I had planned plenty of snacks and activities, I didn’t count for how much time would be taken up by looking out the window, talking to the cabin crew and other passengers (fingers crossed you get child friendly ones near you!) Oh that and toilet breaks, so much fun!
    abigail recently posted..we love…little bird

  4. August 19, 2014 / 8:43 pm

    I think you look well prepared and you’ve done it before so you know the journey which helps. We took our 3 kids to New Zealand for the first time at Christmas and I won’t lie it was pretty horrendous but I think you’ll cope fine with 9 hours and all these cool things to do. P.S. Love peg dolls, been meaning to make some too!
    Kathryn (@KatGotTheCream) recently posted..Tulips, Orla and me

  5. August 20, 2014 / 3:23 am

    Long flight is hard for the children. My son was four when I took him to his first over Atlantic flight and it did not go well. He’s ADHD so we had extra challenges but I recommend being prepared with activities and gadgets and bringing a lot of patience also, just like you are doing.
    Joanna Sormunen recently posted..How to spoil the renewal in the church – Part 4

  6. August 20, 2014 / 7:33 am

    Great set of activites (sic)! Hope you have some for you as well. Have a great flight

  7. August 20, 2014 / 8:42 am

    Looks like a brilliant list – we always take a stack of paper too…always useful for drawings and little games you can devise! Love the peg dolls.

  8. August 20, 2014 / 9:14 am

    What great ideas – a brilliant list!

  9. August 20, 2014 / 8:01 pm

    Good tips! I’m going on a 24 hour ferry trip next month, there is more to do but will still pack these kind of things just incase we end up cabin bound while I puke the whole time! x
    Jess @ Along Came Cherry recently posted..Little Man at 16 Months

  10. August 21, 2014 / 12:27 am

    Oh how cute are those peg dolls!!! I don’t think 9 hours is a breeze at all!! Plus you have so much time in transit as well – but it looks like your really prepared. I love Talitha’s cast drawing by the way!!! I think sketch books, games and headphones are a must

    Laura x
    Laura recently posted..Johns new shirt and Introducing Haxby

  11. August 22, 2014 / 11:23 am

    Great list, will bookmark this post. We’re travelling to Singapore next year with a 1yo and a 3yo – my brother and SIL are moving out there. 14 hour flight and I HATE flying! Waaah! Still, it’ll be worth it – and at least I have some ideas of how to keep the children entertained and happy on the flight while I weep gently into Noel’s shoulder at every bit of turbulence.
    Cathy recently posted..Just wait until… What I know about mothering

  12. August 23, 2014 / 7:43 pm

    How exciting! I don’t think I could imagine myself on a nine hour flight with F but if I do you’ve made a great list! He would love the peg dolls and gruffalo snap 🙂
    Lori recently posted..THE MAGIC OF JUST SO FESTIVAL 2014

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