Keeping kids occupied on flights

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions
what keeps kids occupied

Robert Winston researching with kids

Research conducted by British Airways Holidays suggests that 6 per cent of parents struggle to keep their kids occupied on plane journeys with 60 per cent of parents revealing they were unable to keep their child occupied for longer than 30 minutes.

So they decided to see toys and games would keep the little darlings occupied the longest.

The airline conducted a social experiment, placing 30 youngsters on a flight for two hours with a selection of toys. The children, aged two to 10, were given 90 minutes playtime and observed by scientist,  Robert Winston and a team of educational psychologists. To view a video of the experiment visit:

The surprising findings revealed that it was actually the cheapest toys that kept the children occupied for the longest. Play-Doh and toy-of-the-moment, Loom Bands, topped the list with 80% of children and 70% of parents saying they would take these on a flight in the future. Both toys, costing just 74 pence and £1.99 respectively, kept more than half of the children occupied for longer than 40 minutes.

Dr Vivian Hill, educational psychologist from the Institute of Education,  suggested that parents have drinks to hand the kids can sip during take-off and landing so kids don’t concentrate on the air pressure which can affect them more than adults. She also suggests that parents buy new toys for the flight as new toys keep kids occupied for longer than ones they have already played with. Those toys that occupy them for the least amount of time are cuddly toys and dolls, she suggests.

Other suggestions are to play games that don’t require any extra luggage space such as I-spy and twenty questions and, if you are on an evening flight, take pyjamas and change children into them so you minimise disrupting their sleeping patterns.

From your experience, do these ideas work? Any other ideas? Let us know and we’ll list them for our other readers.

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