It has been bugging me for some time now, next month we have to take our 18 month old daughter on a long-haul flight.
Given the choice, I would put this off until she has a little better understanding of why she can't run around chasing air hostesses but unfortunately on this occasion I don't have a choice.
As a result a lot of my spare time has involved a lot of research on how to keep a toddler entertained on a flight. If she was the type to sit and enjoy an episode or two of waybuloo I might be okay, but my daughter is not. She doesn't have ants in her nappies, she has large tarantulas! She only sits down for more than five minutes if she is eating macaroni cheese or drinking milkshake (i.e. she has to be eating something she really loves!).
My first thought was my iPhone, she enjoys a drawing app on it, but it doesn't entertain her for very long so I decided to have a wander through the "educational" section of the app store. I came across a few good ones, but in particular a game of snap. Not any old game of snap, an animal game of snap where the cards make animal noises when you select them. Brilliant! She might not understand how a game of snap works, but she will love playing "peek a boo" with the cards. In addition to this I was so addicted to playing it myself I bought the harder levels at just 69p! It was a worthy investment because not only was I was right, she loved it when I "piloted" it on her, but again it didn't capture her imagination for long. However it will still be relevant to her when she's old enough to understand how to play snap so I stand by my purchase!
I still needed more. On a recent mid-week too-lazy-to-cook-dinner visit to Pizza Hut little girl really enjoyed doing a bit of colouring with my hubby so I purchased a few cheap colouring books from Wilkinson's. I have been warned by my childminder that her daughter has a tendency to do a single scribble on each page and consider it completed, so I'm now considering the purchase of a water-activated doodle pad, but I'm wondering whether it would be any more effective than doodling on the iPhone. The only drawback with the iPhone of course is the mortality of the battery. The water activated doodling has a life as long as the water supply on the plane! The board would also be a lot lighter than the colouring books. It's beginning to sound like a tempting investment...
I would be very, very grateful to know what ideas you have for entertaining toddlers on a plane. Please leave a comment! In the meantime, I will brace myself for 9 hours of death stares from fellow passengers :-)