Airplane Trip Tips
When our first child was nine months old, we flew from Seattle to London
to Tel Aviv. We've flown across at least
one ocean with our children almost every year since, so they've logged a lot of
time in airplanes. How to keep them
entertained on those long flights?
Endless games of peek-a-boo kept my babies happy all the
way to Europe.
Now that they are tweens and teens, a good book (and some healthy snacks)
are usually sufficient.
In between, it helped to have a few tricks up my
sleeve. Waldorf kids are taught to use
their hands at an early age and all those quiet handwork activities are ideal
on a plane (or in the back seat of the car).
Depending on your child's age, knitting, origami, drawing pencils (not
markers-the caps always go missing), paper, and lots and lots of stickers will
help wile away long hours on the airplane.
I cut pages of stickers into individual pieces before our
flight and my toddler spent many happy miles offering them to other passengers
as she waddled up and down the aisles.
Tiny presents, individually wrapped and doled out over
time, helped break up the monotony of long flights. A collection of tiny farm animals or dessert
shaped erasers then become props in other games played out on the tray table.
Another unexpected hit was face crayons. Since face painting is not an everyday
activity at home, the kids were totally captivated by the novelty of being able
to draw all over Mommy, Daddy, and each other.
We looked frightful when we landed, but with a little forethought we
could have cleaned up before arrival.
And despite considering myself to be a Waldorf parent, I
am not above popping a pre-approved DVD into the laptop while something far
less appropriate is exploding all over the cabin screen. Most international flights now have
individual screens with a special children's channel, but we still bring along
one classic film just in case.
Lastly, don't forget to talk to your kids. When else will you have 14 hours to tell them
stories? With any luck, they'll tell you
a few too.