Going on holiday should be exciting, but the reality is that flying with kids can be a nightmare. Unless you can afford to spend thousands on business or first-class flights, you’re likely to find yourselves cramped up in cattle class, with your children annoying the people in front with their incessant kicking and you with their constant moaning about being bored. Sometimes going back to basics can be the best chance you have of keeping them entertained for at least some of the flight, whether you have to resort to countless games of I-spy, hangman or noughts and crosses.
Being prepared can also limit the potential for meltdowns (both by you and your children). Pack a cabin bag with some new colouring pens or pencils, plenty of paper and colouring books and at least a couple of new travel games. These won’t take up too much space and will also come in handy when you get to your destination. You could bridge the gap waiting for a meal in a restaurant by a game or two of Four in a Row or Snakes and Ladders, and there are plenty of other options out there to choose, depending on the age of your kids and what they like to play.
The Traditional Choices | Going back to basics might include investing in a travel version of Battleship, where your kids can pit their wits against you or their siblings by planning tactical manoeuvres in a battle on the sea. Or perhaps a game of travel Guess Who? would be more suitable for them. Is it a woman? Does he wear glasses? The questions may be all too familiar, but there’s a reason why this game’s been popular for decades. It really can keep kids amused for, ooh, a good ten minutes at least (it’s a game after all, not a magic potion). Other traditional options include Travel Cluedo (fortunately, there are no options for murder with a board game on a packed aircraft), or how about a Grab-and-Go version of Monopoly?
Try Something New | Whilst you may have spent your own childhood playing Travel Cluedo and Snakes and Ladders, there are some less popular travel games that you might want to give a go. Playing something new might even alleviate a little of your own boredom during what seems like a never-ending flight. At the very least, you’ll waste a few more minutes working out the rules. You could try Pass the Pigs, which for many people is a classic, but for even more is a game they have never tried before. It’s basically a dice game, but you play with a pair of pigs. Sound like a load of hogwash? It’s actually surprisingly addictive and will get your kids practising their maths. Who says plane journeys are a waste of time? If you like the idea of a modern take on a classic, try a game – or six – of perfectly packable Frozen Frustration, or how about having a go at the increasingly popular Dobble card game? The cards come in a handy little tin, making them perfect for travelling, and the rules don’t need a degree to master. It’s basically a game of snap, so your only problem should be trying to fish out lost cards from under the seat in front when they go flying in the air. Don’t get cross, though. Remember those five minutes you spend looking for that lost card will mean you’re five minutes closer to reaching your destination.