I’m all about seeking small moments of travel every day. But I also love the real thing!
I have received queries about how we manage plane trips and long journeys with our twin boys. There hasn’t been much travelling since the small people joined us so I wouldn’t claim to be an expert on travelling with children, but twins are their own kind of challenge, that’s for sure.
I thought I would begin to collate some ideas here, because we’re definitely planning more trips in the future.
BYO Bags of Fun
I bet this idea works just as well for car (and boat!) rides; we’ve tried it a few times on aeroplanes with great success. Airlines often have little goody bags for older children, but that’s not much help when you have babies or toddlers that aren’t quite ready for pencil colouring. It’s not too difficult to compile your own bag of treats suitable for your own child’s interest and abilities. It also doesn’t need to be expensive.
I made these bags out of old T-shirts but any bag would do, although if you go for plastic, try and avoid the crinkly stuff because that noise is going to annoy the hell out of your fellow passengers. You could use a paper bag and cover it with stickers to make it fun, or for older kids put stickers and markers inside it and let them decorate the bag during the flight.
The toys pictured are all small and were selected for variety of shape, material and activity (I loathe plastic but I occasionally come across second hand toys that add interest to the mix). Sadly, the very noisy toys that might give the most pleasure to kiddos are the same ones that will drive other passengers batty, so keep that in mind.
I collected most of these from charity shops and some were gifts. I kept them out of sight of the children before the journey, because surprise and novelty is part of the fun.
The key to this is not to simply hand the bag of tricks over once you board the plane. I recommend holding onto the bag and offering the toys sporadically throughout the flight, as the children show signs of becoming restless. Give them plenty of time to explore each item, and find ways for the items to interact in little stories (for example, our pirates might be chasing the rubber crocodile in a fire engine….).
Also, you might find images in your miniature books that relate to the items, as you can see here (what noise does the snake make?).
A final suggestion that has worked really well for me is to relate a song or rhyme to a particular toy. Whenever my kids see the monkey drum below, they expect me to tap it and sing:
“Five little monkeys jumping on the bed
One fell off and bumped its head…”
and with the frog instrument, they love to hear: “Der glumph went the little green frog one day…”
I’m sure you can come up with others, it adds a great new dimension to the toys and another activity to undertake while flying.
These toys did not fill the bags and the bags easily fit into our carry-on luggage (with all the other baby paraphernalia too). Our boys had a lot of fun receiving the toys progressively throughout the flight and of course they could swap and play/interact with each other too, bonus!
I’d be happy to hear from you if you’ve tried something like this or have further ideas to add. Happy travelling!