18 answers

Airplane Activities for a 15 Month Old

Hi everyone,
I'm looking for your ideas and advice on how to keep a 15 month old boy entertained on a 3 hour airplane trip. He bores VERY VERY easily. There isn't anything we do that holds his attention for more than 2-3 minutes. This will also be his first trip anywhere. He has his own seat because we knew he would not sit on our laps for 3 hours. It also gives us more room. I've heard to bring a toy for every 30 minutes but I feel like we will need much more than that.
I'm very worried we will be the parents with the screaming child that everyone hates. Are there any recommendations for travel toys or activities for a 15 month old. Did your kids have favorite travel toys?
Thank you for your help!

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Featured Answers

DVD player. Even if he doesn't watch TV at home, a movie or TV show will keep his attention for a while. I was VERY worried about my son also, but he did great with a movie playing. He really didn't even want too many snacks. And none of the new toys I brought got more that 2 minutes of play time! Don't worry too much, he'll be better than you expect!

2 moms found this helpful

Take his carseat and put it in the seat - that's what we did. My son knew he had to stay in his carseat so there really was no issue. I went to the dollar store and bought some cheap fun toys and a drawstring "backpack" so he could carry it himself. We totally lucked out and he fell asleep and slept the entire flight. Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful

More Answers

We just had a 3 hour flight w/ our 16 month old. we also got him his own seat - that was a Smart idea! He Loved having his own big boy seat in between mommy and daddy! (we did Not use his car seat, no way would he have stayed in that and it would have been a huge waste!) We brought his doggy pillow pet and he sat on that ! I suggest Tylenol/Motrin before take off, during take off he curled up on me - I held him tightly and fell asleep right away and slept for a good hour. I brought a few 'old favorites' books, snacks, toys (not Much like one or two of each) and then some surprise new items ! Worked great! we sat at the back of the plane so he could watch the stewardess' and people in line for the bathroom. To my Pleasant surprise he never once wanted to get down and walk around - we got to the airport early and Ran him around !!! that was a smart idea too !!!!! It was not a Horrible as I set it up to be. I made myself sick for days before worrying how he would be on the plane. BUT ya know what - once your up there what happens happens and you go w/ it. Too bad if people around you make faces - dont give those cranky people a second thought! The nice ones who chat and play peek-a-boo w/ your son will make up for them! LOL it will be fun and fine ! Have a Safe Flight :-)

3 moms found this helpful

I'm not a fan of having kids that little watching TV.. however, in this situation, I think a portable DVD player might just be your answer. I took my son when he was this age, on a plane trip of only an hour, and I swear my blood pressure was sky high by the time we landed. He was kicking everyone's chairs, pulling up and down the window cover, etc, and I was so embarrassed. The travel DVD player would probably have worked wonders for me.

2 moms found this helpful

We've flown my child everywhere since she was an infant. At the age of 6, she's been to more foreign countries than most adults! A dvd player or iPod with movies or cartoons will keep your little guy happy for a while. Travel size doodle pro and slinky kept our little girl happy when she was a toddler. If you get crayons and paper, Melissa and Doug make crayons with sides so they won't roll off the tray table. I found that cheap party favor-type toys were fun for my child--I could keep pulling out a new surprise every so often and it didn't break the bank. Also, be prepared to turn anything and everything into a puppet. Your hand, a spare sock, the empty drink cup. It's very tiring, but you have to put on a show sometimes to keep your child entertained. :) Your days of kicking back and reading a magazine on the plane are long gone.

As for snacks, just pack plenty of them and dole them out as needed. A little cookie can stem a big tantrum sometimes.

Have fun on your trip. It's really not that hard to keep a little one entertained on a plane, it's just a bit exhausting. So worth it, though. Oh, and if you think about it, giving your baby a tiny dose of tylenol when you get on the plane and another as you start your descent can help with the ear pain. My pediatrician friend suggested it to me, and it works. More kids scream at those times because their little ears really hurt, and if you can prevent that, it helps them and all the other passengers. Ask your pediatrician about the proper dose

2 moms found this helpful

I took a lot of plane rides with my oldest when she was a toddler! I would try several things: books, especially colorful ones about things he's interested in; maybe something like an etch-a-sketch or magnadoodle, travel-size, that he can draw on; maybe a new small toy or two, that will hold his attention more than the "old" stuff; and snacks, snacks, snacks!! I brought so much food! Bring a few healthy snacks, like Cheerios and dried fruit, but also some treats that he normally doesn't have. And make sure you have milk or juice, for the descent, especially, since chewing gum isn't an option for him. :) Think of it this way - it's only three hours! Plus, I've been on plenty of planes with screaming children, and I always figured that I'd take my turn being the parent of one someday. :) Just make sure you stay as calm as possible on the plane, since he'll pick up on your stress. Happy flying!!

2 moms found this helpful

Take his carseat and put it in the seat - that's what we did. My son knew he had to stay in his carseat so there really was no issue. I went to the dollar store and bought some cheap fun toys and a drawstring "backpack" so he could carry it himself. We totally lucked out and he fell asleep and slept the entire flight. Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful

when my son was young, he had a sticker book - nothing fancy, just a small spiral notebook from Target with a cute cover and I would buy the large rolls of stickers from USToy (the are easy for them to remove from the backing), would cut them from the roll and he would sit there while we were at a restaurant and just peel and stick the stickers on the blank pages. To this day, i don't know how that would keep him occupied as long as it did, but it worked and was inexpensive. He's 5 now and i'm trying to remember what it was like - we didn't travel with him. I know now when we travel with him my iPad and its children's apps & cartoons/shows, along with his travel DVD player is a life saver, along with his favorite snacks!

Good luck and always remember, when you're on a plane and your child is fussy or bored, those of us with children will understand and empathize, those with grown adult children will be irritated (maybe empathize a bit) and those without kids or the younger population will always noticably groan and be put out and act like their life is ruined when they see a family walk onto a plane and will not like the fact that your child is anywhere near them, whether or not he is being quite, sleeping or fussy. You can only do what you can do so don't let it ruin your trip and just do your best! We've taken our son on two trips this year and both times I get so stressed and worried and just can't help it!! My husband always tells me to relax and he will be fine because they can sense the way we feel and they become stressed and it just goes downhill... Cheers to a safe trip with your family!

2 moms found this helpful

I have travelled with young children as well. My son enjoyed books with popups in them. My daughter likes movies downloaded to my ipod.

Good luck!
L.

2 moms found this helpful

Pre-boarding is essential so that you can have your bags close to you: diaper bags etc…

Since your child has his own seat, bring his car-seat. He is already used to it and will help him to sleep & keep him safe.

Bulkheads are great for the extra leg room and give the child a place to play, so he is not cooped up in his seat for the entire journey, there 2 major downsides: there’s no travel trays. The do make travel trays for car seat attachment that you can bring… Also with a bulkhead there is no seats in front of you which is good for unsuspecting passengers that your child might throw his toys at but bad because there is no seats in front of you to place you baggage under.

Place the child’s seat next to the window. He can look out or play with opening & closing the window.

Try to book the flight during the child’s naptime, or try to make it so that the child is tired and wants to sleep on the plane. Dress you child in comfortable clothes, pajamas work excellent.

When taking off or landing make sure the child is using the “sucking” motion. Using a pacifier or tippy cup etc… this will help the child’s ears to pop due to pressure changes. Also giving your child (a half hour before the flight) baby Tylenol or whatever you use will help with the ear pain (Talk to your doctor, this is what mine suggested). There are ear-plugs for children just for airplanes (didn’t work for me, though)

I agree with bring a toy for every 30 minutes. A mixture of favorite toys and new exciting toys will help keep his attention. Wrapping each toy like it’s a present will help keep up the surprise element and engaged him more. Don’t forget his favorite toy or blanket. Try interactive toys that will keep his attention. A few suggestions: Playdough, stickers, books, coloring book (I like the Crayola color wonders, they only mark on the specialized paper), etch-a-sketch, etc… Also painter’s tape, I know sounds weird but it’s not real sticky so it won’t hurt their skin and you can make games out of it like sticking it on their nose etc… and when your done with it, just throw it away !!!

Don’t forget snack foods and drinks.

If possible a portable dvd player or computer with child protected ear phones and his favorite movies or music.

Work your way up to the better toys throughout your trip so when he is really fussy he’ll be more inclined to settle down. For example if you bring a dvd player it should be your last resort not your first…

Good Luck :)

2 moms found this helpful

One word MELATONIN. this may throw off his schedule but travel will do that anyways. My son has been on a plane since he was 3 months old, even traveled preggers and once he was around 2 and did not naturally fall asleep on the plane we began to help. You will be everyone's hero!

If you rather not, then books, food, and a fav toy or if they color that's a good one too ... get a small cardboard peice and put velcro on it and on the crayons so they stay put airlines do not like when you leave toys behind. And may I also suggest one of those child harnesses for the airport. You never understand HOW GREAT they are until you are stripping yourself and your child at security along with the carry ons and the purse and the EVERYTHING else!

2 moms found this helpful

DVD player. Even if he doesn't watch TV at home, a movie or TV show will keep his attention for a while. I was VERY worried about my son also, but he did great with a movie playing. He really didn't even want too many snacks. And none of the new toys I brought got more that 2 minutes of play time! Don't worry too much, he'll be better than you expect!

2 moms found this helpful

Hi there! We were worried about the same thing. I brought tons of toys and books but after speaking to many other parents, they suggested the DVD player. It worked like a charm. I don't promote television for a 15 mo. old but if you want to have an okay experience flying for 3 hours, this is the way to go. He watched his shows most of the time and enjoyed pressing the buttons. He was also on my own lap and you can imagine how nervous I was about flying with him because he never sits still.
Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful

Someone gave us plado (sp?) on our last flight and it was a life saver! You can buy the little jars and tools. It all works well on the tray.

I would also suggest i phone games. There are games for that age.

And LOTS of food! Do you plan to take your own car seat. That may help sleeping if he sleeps in his car seat in the car.

2 moms found this helpful

We almost always travel during nap time. We have a small DVD player and we check out short videos from the library. We take very small thin books that are "new" so the boys think they're really exciting (these can be ones we get second hand or check out from the library). We can read them over and over again.

2 moms found this helpful

You can try the "Fisher-Price Doodle Pro Travel", new books (or favorite old ones). Our son likes things that make noise or is electronic. We space out snacks and a bottle for the take-off. I know every kid is a little different, so go with his favorite things or get him a couple of new things that you introduce at different times during the flight. Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful

My sons love stickers when they fly I will have them put them on their nose, check, ear, or any body part. It will keep them quiet for a little. They also love to have books, it is rare that they can have books read to them for two hours straight. I also take one of their favorite toys. I will let them have suckers to help with the popping of the ears.

2 moms found this helpful

If you have enough time, I would start now with training him to play quietly in his seat. Most 15 month olds understand perfectly what you are telling them. When you are practicing, and he does a great job make it a really big deal what a great job he did. Also, make sure that there are consequnces for being defiant and refusing to do it. It will be some work, but it is possible. Have special toys for that quiet time practice, that he may only have then. Make sure they are toys that he really likes, and take them when he does not sit quietly and play. Tell him he may have them back only when he is ready to sit quietly. He will not be still, but he can fidget quietly. Start with the amount of his attention span, and work your way up. If you can get him up to 1/2 hour increments, the trip will be much more peaceful for all.
Take a few favorite toys on the plane ride, also take books that you can read together. Have snacks and drinks available. Hopefully, after he sits for a half hour, you can reward him with getting up and walking around in the aisles. A dvd might be a short break for you. Praying that you have a fun and peaceful flight.

2 moms found this helpful

My daughter (19 months) loves coloring, and DVDs work well too. Especially for us since she only watches one episode of the Fresh Beat Band a day. Also, my daughter doesn't get cookies at home, so she gets them on the plane and it actually kept her occupied for awhile. We get the all natural organic cookies by Annies. I know they are still cookies, but at least they aren't the worst cookie out there. When my daughter was 16 months, we bought a squirt water bottle at the airport. She loved it. Drank out of it and played with it for over an hour. She did get water all down herself, but it's water, just bring an extra shirt. What works best for us, is introducing something completely different than what she gets at home. I've been taking my daughter on flights to DC for Dallas which is 3 hours since she was born. I know 3 hours sounds like a long time, but it's not as bad as you think.

2 moms found this helpful

I traveled with my 15 month old this summer and she's the same way. When the seat belt sign went off, I had to let her stand in the aisle to look around and talk to passengers. (Say a prayer that you'll be an understanding, fellow parent.) I also went to the back and held her by the bathrooms for a change of scenery.

2 moms found this helpful

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