Six ways to keep kids entertained on a plane as the summer season approaches 3 weeks ago

Six ways to keep kids entertained on a plane as the summer season approaches

Snacks are key!

The summer season is fast approaching and many families will be getting ready to jet off to the sun for a much needed break.

The school year for parents of secondary school students is just weeks away, and bagging an off-peak family getaway could be on the cards.

If you have preschool kids joining you on the journey to the likes of Spain, France or Italy, or are jetting even farther afield to places like Dubai, Morocco, or to the USA, keeping the kids occupied is key.

Staying in one seat for a journey of any length can cause upset for some children, but the experts at have outlined some great ways to keep them distracted until touchdown.

Goodie bags

According to one mumsnet user: “I do this for my children when we go away/on a trip and just stock up on stuff from Poundshop/Wilko etc. The key is to keep it hidden from them until the plane as the novelty factor makes it last longer”.

Aim to include things like stickers, colouring books, small toys, and snacks, and wrap each item individually to add an element of excitement and surprise.

This can work especially well if you’re able to stagger the present opening throughout the flight.


Try and hold back a gift or two to whip out as and when you need to diffuse tantrums or sibling disputes.

Games are key

One parent said: "Games like Uno and Exploding Kittens are great and very portable”.

From portable travel games to classics like I Spy, it’s well worth having a stash of options up your sleeve for when boredom strikes mid-air.

Games with fiddly components are best played when you’ve reached your destination but card games travel well.

If you have more than one child, encourage them to play together to keep each other entertained. Keep a pen and paper handy for noughts and crosses and hangman.

Allow screen time

Mother and child looking at a screen on the plane Credit: Getty Images

One mumsnet user says: "Definitely load up the iPad with apps and tv shows and plug in kids’ headphones rather than bluetooth".

Make room for electronic devices in your hand luggage. While screen time should be limited on a day to day basis, a kids' tablet can be an absolute lifesaver during a long flight.

Watching a familiar film, tv show or game can soothe, calm and entertain in an unfamiliar setting.

Pack snacks

"I took a 1 yr old on a flight last year and took small sized snacks that take a while to eat to act as a type of entertainment. So Cheerios, raisins, tiny cubes of cheese, hoop crisps, breadsticks, those tiny cheese crackers in different shapes etc,” one mum said.

Kids snaffle snacks at an alarming rate so it’s well worth overpacking on the food front to ensure you’ve got enough to get you from A to B.

Aim for a mix of healthy and treat snacks to keep hunger (and guilt) at bay. Mumsnetters recommend packing fun mess-free options like fruit pouches and boxes of raisins.


Read books

Mum and dad reading to their child on a plane Credit: Getty Images

Bring along a few of your kid's favourite books, as well as some new ones that they haven't read before.

Books that feature something relating to the destination you’re heading to can build excitement about the trip.

Consider downloading audiobooks or read-aloud books to listen to together.

Buy a magazine

"My advice, buy one of those kids magazines at the airport with the free plastic toys and take decent over the ear headphones for him. Good luck,” another mumsnet user said.


They may be expensive and full of plastic but kids’ magazines are fun for children to choose, open and lose themselves in for a surprisingly long time.

Buying one at the airport can make for an exciting start to the trip - just make sure you factor in enough time for your kids to pick up and put down every magazine in the shop before settling on the perfect freebie bundle.

Kids’ magazines typically feature puzzles, stories, games and pages of stickers - plenty to keep little ones occupied for a good chunk of the flight.


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