Disney Destinations and MSN just published a list 50 Ways to Entertain a Kid on an Airplane. I am all for travel tips (yup- surprise...) so I checked out the list right away, what a bunch of BUNK. I don't want to be this kids fellow passenger, let alone her parent! Ok, ok- in fairness, there were a couple of good idea on the list- stringing Cherios on dental floss for an edible necklace will probably make it into my long trip repertoire. But lets take a peek at some of the other suggestions:
Koosh ball catch? On an airplane?
Popping bubble wrap? Yes, it is completely satisfying, but not for the person in front of you.
Make a bouncing ball out of three bags of rubber bands? Ok great, but don't bounce it until you land!
My philosophy to kids travel is pretty clear. We are trying to teach our kids about the world, show them the world. And while they are the center of our world- they are not the center of the world. Some of these activities are just reinforcing the idea that as long as the kids are happy, the world is happy- and some of them are downright rude.
Here is my number one tip for travel with kids- new is priceless.
New snacks, new toys, new books. The dollar section at Target is my go to spot. I let my kids pack and carry thier own quiet in air toys, but I also aim for something new every few hours... (this means a quiet flight from SFO to London will cost me about $4 dollars in entertainment. I buy new little toys, coloring books stories, whatever... as long as my kids have never seen it before. The novelty alone buys you tons of time. It only costs $1, so who cares if it gets left behind, and I can pick quiet, play-by-yourself items. I have stopped some serious meltdowns with an "oh, wait... what is this??"