I’ve been looking for more ways to entertain my 4-year-old on the airplane outside of the iPad. Inspired by his preschool teacher, I made a travel art kit to take with us on a recent trip. It’s incredibly easy and inexpensive to put together, and it was handy not just for the flight, but also during any downtime and even for small emergencies. Here’s what went in mine. Chime in with what you would include.
I still remember the flight when another family with young kids sat behind us. Armed with Post-It notes, the child started scribbling on them and passing them through the seat to my kids. Mine, in response, drew a picture on it and returned it to them. This back and forth entertained both sets of kids for quite some time. Even if your kids don’t make new friends on the flight (or you get stuck with someone like this jerk), it’s fun to draw on Post-It notes and decorate your seat with them, especially if you have a rainbow set. Plus, they can come in handy for the rest of the trip to use for reminders in your hotel room, as a bookmark, and so forth.
My 4-year-old has been obsessed with cutting paper shapes, which is why we packed them, but the scissors were also useful for opening difficult packaging and cutting off tags. I was worried that our scissors would be flagged during security, but our kid scissors, similar to these Westcott ones, made it through with no questions asked. (Kid scissors, as it turns out, are OK, per the TSA).
An art kit isn’t complete without something to color with. I opted for a simple set of markers like this Crayola 8-Pack of thin washable markers. Those free crayons you get at the restaurant with the kids menu? They can go in the art kit, too.
I tucked a notepad that I already had into the art kit, similar to this 5 x 8-inch writing pad from AmazonBasics, but you can really use any notebook you already own. For older kids, consider some origami paper—and maybe a guide like this beginner’s kit, Harry Potter Origami, or Star Wars Origami.
GA small roll of tape—especially a roll of washi tape with a fun design—adds a fun twist to your art kit, allowing kids to tape sheets of paper together and make a really long train, decorate their art or journal, or create some other masterpiece. It also comes in handy for small emergencies. I like the fun animal designs on this Aloha Washi Tape Set, or a superhero-obsessed kid might like this Marvel Avengers Tape Set. If your kid likes to push cars or trains around, you can also opt for tape that looks like train tracks or roads.
This one is up to your kids. Mine loves animals, like this set of farm animal stickers and this set of animals of the world stickers. Puffy stickers like these 3D animal stickers are also easy for small hands to peel and remove.
Keep everything together in a slim pouch. I have a clear organizer pouch from Tom Bihn, which I like because I can easily see what’s inside.