Tuesday, October 7, 2008

WFMW: Toddler Travel Tips

As I frantically finish stuffing things in bags to prepare for our departure to Texas tomorrow, I figured that I should take a break.

OK, or I'm just procrastinating more. 

Anyway, as I was packing, I figured that one thing I tried to gather as much information about as humanly possible was a list of tried and true tips for entertaining toddlers on an airplane.

Without further ado, here's my top 5 toddler travel tips:

1.  Never underestimate the power of pipe cleaners.  For a few bucks, you can entertain your toddler for much longer than I would have ever guessed.  The pipe cleaners can be bent into all sorts of shapes.  Our favorite?  Wearable art.  Added bonus?  You'll seriously entertain your fellow travelers.

2.  A small metal can with a removable lid, such as one of those International Coffee containers, partially full of loose change.  This is something most toddlers wouldn't be allowed to play with unsupervised.  But on a plane, they're (hopefully) never out of your sight.  Cut a small slit in the plastic lid and let your kiddo go to town dropping the coins through the slot. 

3. The barf bag and a pile of tiny stickers.  This one is pretty self explanatory.  If you kid is dexterous enough to peel the stickers herself, all the better.  Otherwise, keep handing the kid small stickers and let them go to town.  Then they have a bag to store all their art work. And it'll only make you slightly queasy to think of it's intended purpose.

4.  Boxes in boxes in bags in boxes - Get a few of those small cardboard jewelry boxes and nest them together, perhaps even within a small cloth bag.  Kids seem to like this activity.  Also good are old film canisters with something inside to shake.  Bonus if the containers or boxes have a snack.

5.  Washable markers - I have heard, (this has yet to be confirmed, though by tomorrow night it will be), that you can allow your child to write on the airplane tray with washable markers and it will come right off with a wipe.  I'm going to surreptitiously test this one out on my own before letting her have at it.  I'll let y'all know.

And always, BRING SNACKS!  You never can be completely sure how long you'll be on the plane on in the airport.  Sometimes snacks can be the difference between a complete meltdown and a contented kiddo.  Something to remember:  It's completely OK to go through security with juice boxes or other SEALED drinks for your kids.  If you have the kid, they'll wave it through.   Those Horizon shelf stable single serving milk containers or the Silk individual boxes are great for this.  (And they're delicious)

Those are some things we've had up our sleeve on past trips...  Definitely leave any other suggestions you have in the comments!  I still have a toddler and a baby who will soon be one, so the more tips, the better. 

For more Works For Me Wednesday ideas, check out Rocks In My Dryer.


  1. Smart. I'm very interested to hear how the marker thing goes.

    Good luck on your flight. Call me when you get there. I'm REALLY going to miss you!!!

  2. Those are great tips -- I'm bookmarking this for the future! :)

  3. "...a baby who will soon be one".

    REALLY?? That is just so weird.

  4. I'm with Michelle - I'm bookmarking this for the future!

    Thanks for sharing!

  5. GREAT tips!! I was planning on taking books and the leap pad and maybe a movie or two for the laptop. I will be using some of your suggestions on our 7 hour flight to CA in 2 weeks! Perfect timing!

  6. What a great list! Thanks for sharing it. I'll include it in my link roundup this weekend.

    One note on bringing toddler juice/water/etc through security. . . this seems to vary depending on the agents. Sometimes they wave you through, sometimes they take the liquids, and sometimes you forget to take the liquids out of your bag, but nobody catches the error.

    I'd say that you shouldn't be afraid to bring one or two things through security, but don't bring so much that you'd be heartbroken if it were confiscated. Plan to buy more on the other side of security (most airports have a Starbucks & they sell the Horizon boxed milk)

    Also, if your child is young enough that they will still accept formula in a pinch, a little powdered formula is a nice thing to have in your carry-on. Many of the airlines don't have milk on board domestic flights anymore.

    Finally, there's nothing wrong with bringing an empty sippy through security and filling it with water on the other side, just don't use the airplane tap water (it's considered unsafe to drink)

  7. What great ideas! My kids LOVE the aquadoodle.

  8. This is just what I needed. We're flying from DC to LA in a few weeks with a 1 yr old and a 2 yr old. Thanks!

  9. I just love that photo. Tremendous.
    I started using audio-books with my kids from a very early age (like 2-ish). I started with short books (Amos + Boris, for example). Now these are a staple at home and on the road.
    Happy travels!

  10. It's the first time I have read, I will try to do it by your way. A true pro, for sure! plan travel itinerary online


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