Traveling with kids, games and tips

by Lee Rose Emery

If you are traveling with your kids this Thanksgiving, here are some great travel games that might pass the time in the car, on planes, or waiting in airports. Airline traveling is so unfriendly these days. And traveling with kids, especially on planes, is an even more a daunting proposition. Security lines are grueling for adults, and for the kids can be torture, especially with the new body scans. We once waited an hour in a security line for a short flight to Arizona. Then we got to the gate, waited another hour and the flight was cancelled. Fun times.

There seems to be no sympathy for families, no pre-boarding for people traveling with kids on many airlines, which is so ridiculous.  Do they not see how long it takes us to wrangle our screaming children?  (Not yours, of course, I am sure yours are angelic in endlessly long lines, especially waiting for a red eye.)But do they not notice that carrying a Britax car-seat, a small child, a diaper bag, and the folded stroller (all in one hand) while trying to convince one’s older toddler – who may or may not be chasing marbles under the chairs in the waiting room might take us just a few more minutes than the sleek solo business travelers?  Apparently not. Then on the plane, they seldom let you walk up and down the isle as a toddler longs to do.

So all I have to say is be BRAVE.  And have some things in your bag for your kids to do when you do eventually get on board the plane, so you can read a People magazine at least for a minute or two. I actually suggest the red eye for flying back East. You will be exhausted when you get there, but let’s face it, after traveling with kids, that’s a given. My kids often sleep on the red eye, even if I can’t.  Jet Blue and Virgin Atlantic Airlines also have some nifty TVs in the back of everyone’s seats, which is great. And no matter what your thoughts are about media and limits, here’s the time to cave in and let them zone out. If you are not fortunate enough to be on one of those airlines, I have pictured here some great travel items that may come in handy. I also recommend lollipops.  You can buy the sugar free ones, but it is handy to have a treat (okay BRIBE) should you need one.  I link to these products  on Amazon, but if you find them at your local toy store, even better. I love Landis Labyrinth in Larchmont.

Travel Bingo is great for long car rides.

The Woodkins Fairy kits have different pieces of fabric that your daughter can “dress her fairy in.”

Silly Faces are a magnetic toy that is hours of fun. Your kids arrange all the parts of a face, eyes, noses, ears, lips on silly characters.

Mad Libs are great for older kids and always silly.

And really who doesn’t love Go Fish?


1) Be early – as I mentioned no sympathy or holding planes for slow pokes, even toddlers.

2) Bring snacks – lots of them, and candy for desperate measures.

3) Bring extra everything:
Diapers, wipes, clothes, formula, you never know when you will be stuck in a strange city overnight with your one last diaper.

4) Bring an extra t-shirt for you if one of your little angels spills their apple juice on you, or even worse throws up on you before a transatlantic flight. (Gross, I know, but it has happened at Dullus airport to one poor, unsuspecting Dad in a business suit. Bless him.)

5) A portable DVD player is a God send. And spring for the extra battery pack.

6) Remember they will only be little for a short time. Before you know it they’ll be fling places without you.

7) Have Grandma meet you at the door with a glass of wine.

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