Stuff to Play With Aboard
You've got the kids to play with first, and then, when they sleep you can try and figure out from the time zone map in the in-flight magazine if it is 6 am February 3 or March 19 in Dublin. Let's rumble with stuff to bring along to amuse the children.
I vote for a mix of old and new toys. Old comfortable things (a favorite teddy, everyone now"¦ awwwww"¦) are good when things are going well, but when the tide turns eight hours into the flight and you're ready for the Texas Cage Challenge Match, you'll likely need something new to bust up boredom.
Some travel books say to wrap the on board toys like it is Christmas, as this will help entertain the kids. Maybe your kids, but our kids go through wrapping paper like piranhas coming off a week of SlimFast and then you just have more trash to take care of. Who writes that stuff anyway?
Don't overdo it either. A few things can help. Too much stuff just whets the kids' appetites for more new stuff and you can't top yourself every ten minutes for a fourteen hour flight.
Also, avoid toys that make noise (you're already likely on borrowed time with your seatmates even if they still have those catatonic false smiles in place) and things with small pieces that can fall off.
Crayons are OK. Colored pencils are great. Markers, even the washable ones, are death. If you wouldn't want it on the living room sofa, then you don't want it in the air with you (the toys and stuff, not the kids I mean).
Clay, Play-Doh, Silly Putty: Hah! Fool! Don't even think it unless you own a lot of stock in United Airlines and are flying Northwest.
Snacks are a good idea but chocolate is a recipe for meltdown.
You think the seats are cramped sitting in them? Try burrowing down to the floor looking for a dropped Pokemon card.
Some airlines may have little toys and treats available, but never board expecting they will be available. Treat such things as found money and arrive prepared.