4 Screen-Free Airplane Activities for Kids

Traveling with kids can be as unpredictable as the weather, especially during long-haul flights. The confined space of an airplane poses a unique challenge for parents who must keep their little ones entertained for hours on end. While screens often act as modern pacifiers, there’s growing awareness about the importance of screen-free time. Limiting exposure to electronic devices promotes cognitive development and reduces electromagnetic field (EMF) exposure while traveling, which some suggest could have health implications for children.

In this digital age, it might seem daunting to distract your children without the glow of a device. However, with a pinch of creativity and a sprinkle of preparation, you can turn travel time into an opportunity for hands-on learning and fun. Here are four screen-free airplane activities for kids.

Crafting a Mile-High Scrapbook

Before your trip, pack a small notebook, a glue stick, and some crayons. Encourage your children to collect items during the flight, such as napkins with the airline logo, sugar packets, or even wing-shaped pins from the flight attendants. In the air, they can create their own scrapbook, sticking in their collected items and drawing pictures of their travel experiences. This activity serves as both a creative outlet and a memorable keepsake documenting their sky-high adventure.

Storytelling With a Twist

For this playful exercise, prepare a stack of index cards with random words or images related to various topics. Once onboard, pick a card and start a story based on that word. Then, pass the story to your child to continue with another card. This collaborative storytelling enhances creativity and fosters a sense of connection between you and your child. Every time you play, a new fantastic tale will unfold, full of surprises and giggles.

Miniature Puzzle Challenges

Puzzles are fantastic tools for engaging problem-solving skills and attention to detail. Pack several small puzzles appropriate for your child’s age. You can find compact travel versions of popular games that often involve logic, numbers, or patterns. During the flight, challenge your child to solve these puzzles, offering help only when necessary. This solitary activity can quietly occupy them, giving you some moments of reprieve as they focus on the task at hand.

Skyscraper of Stories

Bring along a stack of picture books, or ask your children to choose their favorites. On the plane, initiate a read-a-thon where each family member takes turns reading aloud. For older children, you can select more complex chapter books and discuss the plot as it unfolds. This activity fosters a love for reading, expands vocabulary, and creates a tranquil environment amidst the hubbub of the cabin.

Engaging in these screen-free airplane activities for kids can offer significant benefits by promoting imaginative play and enhancing learning. With a bit of forward planning, flights can become enjoyable and enriching experiences for you and your children. By the time you land, you’ll have a treasure trove of memories and the joy of having spent quality time together, all without the aid of screens.

A white RV is parked outside in a field on a sunny day. The windshield and side windows are covered by sunshades.

How To Keep Your RV Cool During Hot Weather

An RV parked at a viewpoint that is overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco on a sunny day.

Tips for Taking an RV Trip to San Francisco