I made a list on simple crafts to do on trips on a flight or in the hotel room about a year ago, but we have tried other things out since that may work for others too. The key is to take light, cheap and simple materials along that does not require much room either. And of course avoid items that are not allowed on a flight. I try to look at flights as an opportunity to spend lot’s of time together, it’s not like I have loads of house chores to do then.
- Bracelets out of beads, cut some elastic strings before hand. I have left the strings of the knots long on purpose, don’t want my toddlers to open them. Also, these ones are actually made by me judging by the symmetry (we did quite a few that we used as napkin rings on my daughter’s birthday party) but easy to take a few bits along. On one little trip we also amused ourselves by threading some Cheerios type of cereals on a string (stick for the younger one) as I had not taken any materials with me. Pre-cutting paper strips to make paper beads or just bits of straw should work too.
- Making headbands a.k.a. putting some glitter and flower stickers on a new pink band. Simple and cheap. Stickers to decorate what-ever is a winner with toddlers. We invested in princess ones on our last flight; they glued them on small cards to make “photos”.
- Paper dolls have been drawn and coloured. Sometimes they have been cut later, sometimes forgotten about… The ones in little booklets where you can press the garments out are great for airplanes, my daughter was occupied for a long time.
- Bubber is a Swedish (?) invention for play dough. I don’t think it as good to shape as normal play dough but it is very light, feels almost silky, and the big upside is that it does not leave any marks you can’t clean with a baby wipe. The downside is that there will always be some bits dropped which means crawling under the seats… but it works well in a hotel room.
- I have not taken a glue stick on the airplane (is it allowed?) but just one stick and a pair of scissors will give you plenty of opportunities to e.g. cut pictures out of free magazines and make cards at the hotel.
- Balloons. Well, we haven’t done any more amazing ‘crafts’ with them than draw faces but they are cheap, don’t take a lot of room and on airports and in hotel rooms (I’ve considered other passengers enough to not use them on airplanes) it is easy to invent some games. However, when writing this, WordPress suggested another blog with an idea even for travelling parents ;). Take a look here. We tried those at home, kids liked them and I think they would work but haven’t made them for a trip.
- Crafts with pipe cleaners offers a chance to all kind of plays and re-enactments, and are easy to take along.
- Tin foil crafts. On our last flight my 4 yo was happy to make snowmen and balls (that we then rolled into cups), my 2,5 yo wasn’t really able to make anything himself but was excited to watch me make him airplanes and boats that he then happily played with for some 15-20 minutes. Making helmets and hats was a winner that we had to continue with in the hotel room.
- Making pompoms. Can’t really finish them up in an airplane without scissors but on our last flight my daughter was concentrating for a good 20 minutes rolling the yarn and my son was happy to make a mess of one yarn for almost as long. In the hotel I finished the pompoms, and the kids made all kind of games with them while still in Germany; they were mice and handbags and…