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Ultimate Guide to Entertaining Your Kids While Traveling

Whether you're traveling by plane or car, we'll give you everything you need to know about entertaining kids while traveling!

Traveling with the little ones is an exciting opportunity to expose them to new experiences. But it also has its challenges. Mainly, entertaining kids while traveling. Luckily, the Air Doctor team is here to ease the headache of keeping kids entertained while traveling!

Whether you’re traveling by plane or car, we’ll give you everything you need to know about keeping the little ones engaged!

keeping kids entertained while traveling

Tips To Keep Your Children Entertained While Traveling

The following list is broken down into ages, and land/air travel.

Land Travel

Traveling by land offers unique opportunities for exploration and bonding as a family.

Whether you’re embarking on a road trip, taking a train journey, or simply driving from point A to point B, there are plenty of activities to keep kids entertained and engaged throughout the journey.

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Toddlers (1 – 3 Years Old)

Here’s how you keep toddlers engaged.

  • Interactive Books: Toddlers are at that age where everything that moves and makes a sound is absolutely fascinating. Soft or board books with textures to touch, flaps to lift, or buttons to press can captivate their attention and stimulate their senses. Choose books with simple, colorful pictures and interactive elements that encourage exploration and engagement.
  • Singalong Songs: Music is a powerful tool for soothing and entertaining toddlers. Create a playlist of their favorite nursery rhymes or children’s songs and sing along together during the journey. Encourage them to clap their hands, stomp their feet, or dance along to the music, making the travel experience more enjoyable for everyone.
  • Snack Bags: Keeping a snack handy is always a good idea, especially when traveling with toddlers. Prepare a variety of healthy snacks like cut-up fruits, crackers, or cheese sticks in small containers to keep them occupied and satisfied during the journey.

Preschoolers (3 – 5 Years Old)

Keeping preschoolers entertained doesn’t have to be tough either! Here are some ways to keep them engaged.

  • Window Exploration: Preschoolers are naturally curious about the world around them. Encourage them to observe the scenery outside the window during the journey and ask questions about what they see. Point out interesting landmarks, vehicles, or animals, and engage them in conversations to foster their curiosity and learning.
  • Storytelling: Preschoolers have vivid imaginations and love to express themselves through storytelling. Encourage them to create their own stories based on pictures they see during the journey or characters from their favorite books. Provide prompts or ask open-ended questions to spark their creativity and keep the storytelling session engaging.
  • Coloring Books: Coloring activities are excellent for preschoolers as they promote hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills development. Provide them with washable markers or crayons and coloring books featuring large, simple designs or familiar characters. You should also opt for books with thick pages to minimize tearing and mess.

entertaining kids while traveling roadtrip

School-Aged Kids (6 – 12 Years Old)

School-aged kids are better at keeping themselves entertained, but you can still do a few things if they’re getting restless.

  • Travel Games: Portable games are perfect for keeping school-aged kids entertained during travel. Bring along travel-friendly versions of classic games like chess, checkers, Uno, or Connect Four that can be easily packed and played on-the-go.
  • STEM Toys: STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) toys are excellent for stimulating curiosity and creativity in school-aged kids. They include things like snap circuits, building blocks, or mini engineering sets. Pack small STEM kits or toys that allow them to build, experiment, and explore scientific concepts during the journey.
  • Activity Books: School-aged kids enjoy challenging their minds with puzzles and brain teasers. Provide them with activity books containing Sudoku puzzles, word searches, crossword puzzles, and mazes to keep them engaged during the journey.

Teenagers (13+ Years Old)

Teenagers usually just want to be left alone, so they’re normally good at entertaining themselves. But if you want to pre-empt a bored teen, here’s what you can do.

  • E-books: Load up an e-reader or tablet with a selection of e-books in genres they enjoy, such as fiction, mystery, fantasy, or non-fiction.
  • Podcasts: Download podcasts or audiobooks on subjects that interest them, such as history, science, true crime, or comedy. Listening to podcasts together as a family can spark interesting conversations and create shared experiences.
  • Travel Photo Challenges: Challenge your teens to capture the best photos of the journey or sights along the way using their smartphone or camera. Encourage them to experiment with different angles, compositions, and lighting techniques to express their creativity and document their travel experience.

entertaining kids while traveling

Air Travel

With proper planning and preparation, entertaining kids while traveling by air can be a smooth and enjoyable experience.

Toddlers (1 – 3 Years Old)

Taking toddlers onboard a flight can be a daunting task, since it’s difficult to tell how they’ll react to air travel. Luckily, you can do a few things to keep them distracted for the flight.

  • Quiet Toys: Soft toys or plush animals provide comfort and entertainment for toddlers during the flight. Choose toys that are lightweight, cuddly, and easy to hold onto. These toys can offer a sense of security and familiarity in an unfamiliar environment, helping to calm and soothe anxious little ones.
  • Snack Packs: Finger foods like sliced fruits, cheese cubes, or whole grain crackers are ideal for little hands. Offering snacks at regular intervals can help pass the time and prevent hunger-induced meltdowns.
  • DIY Sensory Bags: Create a DIY sensory bag filled with items like rice, pasta, or buttons for tactile exploration. Seal the bag securely and let toddlers squish and manipulate the contents, providing sensory stimulation and calming sensory input during the flight.

Preschoolers (3 – 5 Years Old)

Air travel is a little bit easier with preschoolers, but it’s still not a bad idea to have things available to keep your kids entertained.

  • Travel Bingo: Create customized travel bingo cards with pictures of common objects or landmarks they might see during the flight. As they spot each item, they can mark it off on their bingo card, promoting observation skills and attention to detail.
  • Story Cubes: Use story cubes or dice with pictures instead of numbers. Roll the cubes and encourage preschoolers to create a story based on the images they roll. This activity fosters creativity, storytelling skills, and imagination.
  • Letter Hunt: Create a scavenger hunt by giving preschoolers a list of letters or numbers to find throughout the airplane cabin or in the airport. Encourage them to search for the letters or numbers on signs, seat numbers, or in printed materials, reinforcing early literacy and numeracy skills.

tips to keep your children entertained while traveling

School-Aged Kids (6 – 12 Years Old)

School-aged kids can easily be kept entertained! Here are a couple of great ideas.

  • Travel Trivia: Prepare a set of travel-themed trivia questions related to geography, history, landmarks, or famous destinations. Challenge school-aged kids to answer the questions, promoting knowledge retention and critical thinking.
  • Letter Writing: Encourage school-aged kids to write letters or postcards to friends, family members, or even themselves. Provide stationery, pens, and stamps, and let them express their thoughts, share their travel experiences, and practice their writing skills.
  • Origami: Pack a small origami kit with colorful paper and instructions for making various origami shapes and animals. Origami offers a creative and hands-on activity that challenges kids’ spatial reasoning and fine motor skills.

Teenagers (13+ Years Old)

As with land travel, teenagers are pretty good at keeping themselves entertained. But if you want to be prepared, here are some things you could do.

  • Travel Journal Prompts: Provide a list of journal prompts related to travel experiences, such as memorable moments, new discoveries, or reflections on cultural differences. Encourage teenagers to write in their travel journal and share their thoughts and insights.
  • Cards: Bring along a deck of cards and teach teenagers classic card games like Poker, Rummy, or Crazy Eights. Card games offer entertainment and social interaction, promoting strategic thinking and decision-making skills.
  • Language Exchange: Encourage teenagers to practice their language skills by striking up conversations with fellow passengers or flight attendants who speak different languages. Language exchange fosters cultural appreciation, communication skills, and empathy.

airplane entertaining kids while traveling

Don’t Forget To Download the Air Doctor App (Just In Case):

Traveling the world is exciting – but it comes with challenges.
That’s why apps like Air Doctor are there for you (just in case).

With the Air Doctor app in your pocket, you can access medical advice, get prescriptions, and receive expert medical guidance wherever you are in the world.

Air Doctor’s easy-to-use app gives you:

  • A global network of over 20,000 multi-lingual doctors and specialists
  • Choice of clinic, at-home (hotel), and video consultations
  • Active in 75 countries
  • Cross border prescription services
  • Telemedicine services in up to 21 languages
  • 24/7 multi-lingual support
  • Transparent pricing, and reviews
  • Most common medical specialties

Safe travels!

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Jenny Cohen Drefler

Jenny Cohen Derfler

Air Dr CEO & Co-Founder

Jenny is the CEO and one of the Co-Founders at Air Doctor. She spent more than 20 years at Intel, most recently as general manager of its manufacturing facility in Israel and before that in various engineering and manufacturing roles in Silicon Valley. Air Doctor is her second startup having previously founded electric vehicle company ElectRoad.