Hacks to keep your kids occupied during a flight or car trip

Going on a plane flight or long car trip? Keep your kids entertained with these simple tips.

 Travelling with kids doesn’t have to be stressful.

Going on a road trip or plane ride to exciting places can be a double-edged sword when you’re a parent. On the one hand, it’s always exciting to get a change of scene; on the other, travel inevitably involves some form of public transport, and as anyone with a baby or toddler knows, nothing presses the ‘havoc’ button quite so hard as being cooped up on a plane for a few hours.

We asked some moms how they’ve coped with the situation.

Toys and crafts 

“Melissa & Doug make some excellent travel toys and crafts, like painting with water, scratch art, or sticker books. There’s also a fun game called Brain Box, where your little one has a few minutes to memorise some facts before they’re quizzed on them.” – Kim Mantoor

“My daughter loves to take her doll with on a flight. She spends a lot of time putting her ‘baby’ to sleep with her blankie and bottle.” – Theresa Sinclair

Travel games

“Travel bingo is great fun, although it’s better for car journeys. First, make a grid for each person playing, and give each one a pen. Next, make a list of things you can expect to see on your trip, like mountains, red cars, cows, or windmills. When you see the item, you tick it off and make a cross on one of the squares in your grid.” – Beverley Gibbons

“We once took kokis pens and drew hand puppets on the sick bags, then spent the flight making them talk to each other.” – Elizabeth Singer

Small treasures and surprises

“We give our children little gifts throughout the journey – so, after every few hours, they’ll receive a small treasure like something to read, a treat to eat, or something to do. The anticipation of the gift is almost as much fun as the gift itself.” – Robyn Woolfson

Keep them occupied

“Pack a busy box, with an array of different activities: Lego, playdough, and stickers.” – Lina Davison

“This sounds a bit strange, but I bought my kids a pack of Prestik. They spent hours making little sculptures.” – Lisa May

“Snacks can be a great distraction, especially things that need to be peeled, like pistachios or naartjies.” – Zainab Hussain