When you’re flying or driving with kids, entertainment seems to happen in 20-minute increments. Anything that gives you longer stretches of time between rounds of “Are we there yet,” is brilliant.
Here are toys and gear that we find keep kids pretty well entertained.
1. Magnetic blocks: Kids like building but blocks can be awkward to pack and easy to lose. Blocks with magnets, like these wooden ones from Tegu, are easy to build with and handy for airplanes and restaurants.
2. Play Doh minis: We find small tubs of Play-Doh will make it through airport security gates fairly reliably. Try putting 2 or 3 in a take-out container with a few molds and rolling pin.
4. Card games. We always pack at least one card game like Old Maid or Go Fish, You don’t need much room to pack or play them and you can start a game almost anywhere.
5. Lay ‘n’ Go lite: When your kids insist on bringing toys with tiny pieces, like Legos or your daughter’s favorite minuature dolls, this little sacks will carry them and help keep them contained during playtime.
6. Reusable stickers: An update on your classic Colorforms. Reusable stickers like these from Peaceable Kingdom pack easily in a backpack or your purse and are handy in cars, restaurants and airplanes.
9. Fold-down travel kit, like this Alex Toys Car Valetare bulky for planes but perfect for car trips, especially if arts and crafts are your child’s favorite way to pass the time. We like the storage and ample workspace here.
10. Portable DVD player and headphones: For very long plane and car rides they’re invaluble. Make sure the headphones are adjustable and let you cap the volume. Consider a dual-DVD player like this one if you have more than one child or want to be able to watch your own DVDs on the plane.