Mother and Baby

11 tips for keeping kids entertained on public transport (that don't involve an iPad)

Section: Toddler

Parenting coach Sue Atkins gives her brilliant ideas for keeping under-fives entertained on buses, trains and planes. Yes, there is a way to avoid a toddler meltdown on the no.49 and it involves stickers and some inventive games in your arsenal... 

Does entertaining kids when travelling fill you with dread?

If you’re struggling for good ideas for how to keep your little ones entertained when travelling as a family, you are not alone & these 10 top tips will help.

These quick and simple tips are lots of fun & will help you all relax so you can enjoy getting out and about with your tots.

The secret to travelling with little ones is PLANNING! Toddlers often get restless when they experience long delays to their journey, so being prepared is half the battle. Pack a goody bag filled with activities to keep them occupied and busy and include things like play dough, a few blocks, some small board books, a little car or your toddler’s favourite teddy & the usual ‘must-haves’ of healthy snacks, water, books, colouring & a selection of toys.

Make sure you exhaust the more active activities before offering the more passive and addictive iPhone/iPad with nursery rhymes or videos.

Sue Atkin's top tips for keeping your little ones entertained on public transport:

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1) Children like to unwrap things. It keeps their fingers and minds busy and engaged. So, wrap up some small toys or old toys that your child hasn’t seen for a while and watch them become enthralled trying to unwrap the parcel.
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2) ​Buy some colourful stickers and use them as an alternate to the classic I spy: Take a sheet of stickers and every time your child spots something e.g. a blue car, post box, red lorry or whatever you start looking for, they get a sticker.
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3) Reusable colouring water mats are perfect for airplanes and trains with a tray table.
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4) ‘Play I spy’ using colours instead of letters and sounds for young ones – you’ll have
fun and they will be practicing & learning their colours.
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5) Bring a children’s magazine as it is always a big hit with little ones, as it has stories,
activities, free toy, colouring, etc - but remember to bring your own pens!
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6) Take a couple of hand puppets (as they don’t take up much room) and play games
such as peekaboo with them.
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7) Magnetic boards with magnetic characters can also be fun as you talk and create stories with your little ones.
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8) Lacing Boards are great for letter recognition, vocabulary, fine motor skills, and hand-eye coordination to keep little hands and minds busy on a boat, plane, bus or train.
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9. Bring a roll of cheap craft tape as it can double up as an instant train track on a seat on a bus or a train.
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10. Simply look out of the window and chat about what you see.


Sue is working with Ella’s Kitchen to help parents feel more confident when taking their little ones out and about so their experience is enjoyable and they can explore the world around them. Find out more about Ella's Kitchen, here.

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