Updated: Crafts for Small Children on an Airplane or in a Hotel

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.P1000890
  • 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…
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27 comments

  1. […] with kids I took a book along. The plan for me was to read when kids watched a movie, then some crafts like I usually do with kids on flights, meals and sleep. But after the first night I was too tired to even consider reading: I had slept […]

  2. […] long hauls preceding that: 27 hours of flying means loads of quality time with your children… Here can a list be found for what we used to do with toddlers in airplanes or when some quiet time in […]

  3. […] too difficult for the 3,5 yo little brother. With summer holidays coming up it will be added to the list of crafts that can be easily done on airplanes and in hotels when travelling […]

  4. […] child entertained and what to pack that helped me a lot, and this article that I found helpful by Free But Fun! that gives more ideas of what can keep a child entertained on a long […]

  5. […] out of the pipe cleaners. Tidy crafts when no glue was needed and no mess was made. Would work well in the hotel room […]

  6. Pinning this – so many ideas!

  7. These are great ideas! I am pinning this post and would it be alright if I link to it in my next post? It would be a perfect addition to how to pack carry-on for a child. 🙂

    1. Of course! It will be good to read your post too and get more people sharing their best experience. More ideas on this is always welcome!

  8. Wow! That’s not a few interesting ideas! Hope to be able to remember some of these on our trip soon! Tks for sharing! 🙂

    1. Good if you found something usable. Please feel free to share your experience too! Where are you going?
      Ps I have a link to this post high up on the travel page, so it’s easy to find when it’s needed.

  9. I’m glad Mr. T doesn’t read blogs, cause then he’d discover that other moms did crafts and such with their young kids!
    🙂

    1. Haha. I don’t think he’d mind since he got the fun mom anyway.
      But you are crafty! or did that come later? I’m still intending to try making glases with texts on as you did for a pressie to somebody 🙂

      1. I’ve always been crafty, I’ll admit to that, but when Mr. T was little, it was more about going to the park and playing baseball with him – he liked to use energy instead of sitting still. But when I see all the wonderful things you (and other moms) are doing with their little ones, I try not to be jealous or feel inferior! And since I’ve typed this out, all of the sudden I feel better! You do wonderful things with your kids, and I did too – I just did different things! 😉
        Whew! Thanks Velma, you’ve actually helped me a lot today! I feel so much better!

        1. Glad you feel better 🙂 I think it is important to remember that all fun things are not fun for all or at all times, and it really does not make anyone better or worse. I’m sure you and mr T had a great time even when he was young! And Iike eg that my kids are getting old enough to get around on their bikes and I get to do proper walk-runs with them. Or that my son is getting into kicking a ball. Simple f things too, and getting rid of the energy is goodfor all of us 🙂

  10. […] together. Would be easy to pack along a few pipe cleaners together with tin foil on a trip too. Go here to find more ideas on easy-to-do crafty type of activities when […]

  11. These are all great ideas. I am doing a long haul in less than a month and its time to think about what to bring. Thanks to your post I have some ideas. I will definitely bring along the kid’s scissors; they love to cut and as they are safety, plastic scissors, they should be allowed on the plane. I need to learn some more origami too!

    1. Glad you got some ideas! Please let us know how it went and what your best tips were!

      1. I have to admit I am dreading it! My one year old is not the type to sit still. I’m flying on my own with her and my 4yo and 2yo! So all tips are welcome!?

        1. Alone with 3 small ones does not sound like a piece of cake… When we return from Thailand and my husband got sick, I was alone with 2 and realised that just going to the toilet was a horror (you can not fit in there with 2 small ones), so I was happy to have lovely people sitting around me. So my best piece of advice: when in need, ask for help. Most people are happy to pinch in (and depending on the airline the crew may be good too). Let us know how it goes!

          1. Thankfully in the past KLM have always been very helpful when I’ve flown alone with the kids; minding them while I go to the toilet, bringing them extra goodies and even playing with them. But up until now I’ve only flown with a maximum of 2. I hope they are just as helpful this time with the 3, especially as the 1 year old can be quite the handful!

            I will hopefully be able to report only good things in a few weeks time 🙂

  12. […] You will need colourful paper (why not just cut some old magazines?), scissors, a bit of glue and string. Cut the paper into long thing straps and role them in, put  a little glue at the end to keep them together and then thread them on the string. Easy! Could even be added to the list of crafts that could easily be done in a hotel room. […]

  13. […] built lego houses on it, car and bus posters with stickers on the walls…) and princesses (napkin rings out of bead bracelets, […]

  14. […] is something I will add to my list off easy crafts to be done in a hotel room – I assume you can buy tin foil everywhere for an affordable price, you don’t need […]

  15. B, you can always be relied on for good tips. Never heard about the plaster in bag idea but that is going to be on my list of things to try out. Thanks!

  16. Ah! So there is something in the play dough line that can work! Doing it inside the balloons is a good idea, too.

    Which reminds me of another idea I found which is not at all suitable for planes or hotels, but have you ever tried that thing where you make plaster of paris sculptures inside plastic bags? An adult puts the powder in the bag, the kids can add the water and mix it and mould it then you peel the plastic bag off once it’s set? It just reminded me of the playdough balloon things. I’m hoping you haven’t done it yet, because if not, it is about the only craft tip I will be able to pass on to you!

  17. This is great! On one of our long airplane trips, my son who was 5 at the time was determined to learn how to blow a bubble with bubble gum. We also folded a lot of paper airplanes!

    1. Thanks Craftycoup! Now I have a plan: my daughter will not get bubble gum until we have our next long-haul. Or maybe a long drive. Can’t let such a good time wasting activity be spent in vain 🙂 PS I am going to have to explore your blog over a longer time period, there were sooooo many good ideas!

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