7 Things To Do During Flight Delays With Kids

In the summertime, when flight delays seem to happen more frequently than not, flying with young children can be more challenging than ever. Adding even another hour to the travel day can really wreak havoc on a toddler’s schedule, especially if your young child is just waiting for the airplane seat in order to take a nap. In the last four weeks we have flown two round trip flights, New York to Texas. The first flight was from New York was delayed an hour and the second time we flew from New York, it was a 3 hour delay. 

Here are some of the things that helped keep us sane during the delays: 

Buy a Day Pass to the Airline Lounge

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Since my husband travels so frequently for his work, he pays for a yearly membership to the Airline Lounge. That means when we are traveling with him we have access. A few weeks ago we traveled with my husband, but last week I was on my own with the kids. The airline posted a three hour delay on the flight because of an out-of-service aircraft. Knowing I had time to make it worthwhile, I went ahead and bought a day pass to the Airline Lounge. Best money ever spent!

Many airline lounges sell day passes for as little as $50. If you are delayed at least an hour, this can be a great retreat for you and your kids. Just getting away from the crowded gate area can give everyone a more relaxed approach to the day. The lounges usually have light snacks (we had yogurt covered pretzels, Chex party mix, and fresh apples) and they often have a small restaurant where you can purchase food that is at least as good as anything else you could find in the airport. Many also have a kids room so your kids can really feel comfortable playing with toys, watching kid shows, even sometimes playing on kids computer games. We were able to set up at a dining table, enjoy a good (and relatively quiet) meal, and had access to nice, clean, spacious restrooms.

Exercise

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Now I don’t mean to let your kid run wild, but giving your children a chance to move their legs to keep them from feeling trapped can help the time pass by. Check to see if your airport has a play area for kids. These can be a really great spot to spend some time and give the kids some freedom. If space is limited you can lead them in some stand-in-place exercises like jumping, marching in place, jumping jacks, and squats.

Use the Toys Meant for the Plane

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Normally you might want to save those special new toys for the airplane, but if your child is becoming fussy and difficult before hand, you might as well try to keep him happy while you can. Who knows, maybe you’ll get lucky and he’ll actually sleep on the airplane. Just focus on the minute at hand and worry about the airplane later. Check back with me next week and I’ll post some ideas of ways to keep a child occupied in flight if you have gone through all your own toys and activities.

Go Exploring

airportdecor

Many airports have some great art displays throughout the terminal. Even if your home airport doesn’t have pieces of art such as this one, your child will enjoy looking at billboards, light fixtures, signs, etc., throughout the airport. Remember these things are fairly new to your child and children are really good at having a sense of wonder about everything. See things through their eyes and enjoy something you would normally overlook.

Go Visiting

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Not every child is outgoing, but if your children are like my two, they will enjoy walking around and saying “hi” to people. This really seems to brighten the day for other travelers as well, especially when little John, at age 1.5, looks right into someone’s eyes, smiles, and says, “HI!” Last week in the lounge he asked the ladies working at the check-in desk for high-fives. He walked up to them and said, “Five!” It actually took me a moment to figure what he wanted. He made all the ladies laugh.

Take a “Train” Ride

Sky Link

Some larger airports have a train that connects terminals. DFW, for instance, has a SkyLink train that is inside security and has two stops in each terminal in the airport. This can be a really fun excursion for young kids. Ella used to love standing at the front of the train and pretending to be the engineer. Enthusiastically steering with her invisible steering wheel, she had a great time! If you have a posted delay with plenty of time to leave the gate area, this can be a fun addition to your travel day.

Enjoy Plane Watching

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Try to find a window where you can view planes taking off and landing or even taxiing in and out of the gate. Depending on your child, this could be so fascinating that you could stand there for an hour without a peep.

 

Are there other activities you do with your children when waiting for a delayed flight? Share your ideas in the comments to help other parents!

Categories: Flight Delays, Flying with Toddlers, Travel Tips | Leave a comment

5 Items to Entertain Your Toddler On a Plane

Toddler in Flight

Because a busy toddler is a happy toddler, here are a few ideas on ordinary things to use to entertain your toddler on an airplane. On my last flight with my son, John, (age 16 months at the time), showed me what items kids like him really enjoy:

Mirror

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Bring along a small mirror, separate from your powder compact which a toddler will quickly destroy. What toddler doesn’t love gazing at himself/herself?! If things get really boring you can use the mirror to make the reflection of the sun “dance” around on the seat in front of you (if the angle is just right). You could also pack a dry-erase crayon and let your toddler draw on the mirror. Just use a tissue to wipe off.

 

Bottle Caps

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On our flight I had emptied a water bottle by filling both John’s and my six year old, Ella’s refillable bottles (I like to bring spill-proof cups for less mess in-flight). John played for a long time with the empty bottle, working on screwing the cap on and off over and over again. Great activity for strengthening fine-motor skills!

Buttons

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Many planes have this great push button for the seat recline feature. John was obsessed over it. He wanted to completely figure it out. It’s so easy for us as adults to overlook such simple things. Remember these are all new to your toddler and can be quite fun. If your toddler doesn’t notice the button at first and you are looking for something to interest him, point it out and help him imagine it does something if he pushes is. Maybe it just makes a quiet, “beep”, for which he can provide the sound effect. Of course if he has a difficult time maintaining a low volume, leave out the sound effects.

Penny Slot

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You can design a perfect-for-travel penny slot by just cutting a coin-sized hole in a plastic lid. Give your toddler a few coins (only while closely watching to prevent choking) and let him slide the penny through the slot. John just loves doing this. You can catch the coin in your hand and give it to him to do again or set the lid on top of a cup and give him several coins to work with. Don’t you love the look of concentration John has when dropping the penny in the slot? Too cute!

Lids/Cups

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Another item you’ll likely be packing anyway is a lid or cup of some sort. Toddlers have a great imagination. In this first picture you see John using the lid to “walk” along the armrest. I have no idea what he was pretending it was, but he sure had fun with it! In the second photo John practiced putting the cap on and off his sippy cup. It’s a fun activity that is challenging for him but not so difficult that he gets frustrated. With two cups your toddler can practice “pouring” a toy, coin, or even a wadded up piece of paper from one cup to the next.

WARNING:

One thing to be aware of with toddlers is they love to slide toys through small holes. You’ll notice in the photo above that John has stuffed his toys beside the seat cushion. Luckily on that particular plane there was a connecting piece which prevented the toys from falling to the floor. On many planes there is a gap between the seat and the side wall. If your toddler discovers it he will likely entertain himself by systematically shoving everything you give him into the “slot”. If possible put a folded blanket over this space before your toddler discovers it.

Which of these ideas would appeal to your toddler? Do you have other low-tech ideas to share with our readers? Comment below!

Categories: Flying with Toddlers, Travel Tips | 2 Comments

Packing List for Kids by Age

Do you want to help your child get excited about your upcoming trip and give him/her a sense of pride and accomplishment? Let your child help pack! Here is a suggestion of age-appropriate packing skills your child can master. It should be exciting to see the younger ones take pride in their job well done!

Kid's packing assignments

Do you usually pack for your children or do they have the responsibility? At what age do you think it’s appropriate to let your child pack everything for himself without your input, or does that vary for each individual?

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Here is my daughter, Ella, at age 4, enthusiastically packing the “necessities”. I hadn’t given her any guidance, so I had to weed some of it out, but she enjoyed the project.

This post is part of Travel Tips Tuesday with Walking On Travels and Suitcases and Sippy Cups. Check them out for even more great tips for traveling!

Categories: Packing | 4 Comments

Sale on Headphones!

Today Amazon is having a sale on Headphones. There are many types to choose from for up to 70% off. This includes some great headphones for kids for only $14.99 (orig.$49.95). These headphones by JLab JBuddies include the following features:

  • Acoustically designed for kids limiting volume to less than 90 db complying to both EN50332 and ASTM recommendations (no extra cables required!)
  • Smaller headband ensures an ultra-comfortable fit for ages 2+
  • Hypoallergenic ear cushions keep sensitive skin safe
  • Easy to use volume knob allows kids to control their listening experience easily
  • Limited one year warranty with JLab’s world class customer support!
  • Available in Black, Blue, Pink, and Purple

Kid's Headphones

On the flights I work as a flight attendant I find that many parents do not realize most airlines have a policy when it comes to using electronics with sound (iPods, DVD players, etc.). You must use headsets or turn the volume off. Although it might seem like the noise from the plane is louder than the sound of your movie, the sound from your movie surprisingly travels through the sound of the aircraft. It can be really annoying to other passengers to hear Dora the Explorer or pings and beeps from a game being played.

These headphones get mixed reviews, but average 4 of 5 stars. I have not tried them myself, but I think for $14.99 they are worth a try. Pick up these headsets now and be prepared for your next flight!

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Women of Aviation Week: Meet the First Female Commercial Pilot

I had the honor and privilege of working a flight last week with a very special passenger onboard. Bonnie Tiburzi Caputo was the very first female pilot ever hired by a major US Airline (American Airlines). She was such a joy to speak with and she agreed to answer a few questions about her career. I hope you find her as interesting and inspirational as I do.

First Woman AA Pilot

BethWhat made you want to become a pilot?

Bonnie: My love of flying began with my father – he was a pilot for SAS and then TWA. He started a flight school and air charter company in the 50′s and I was hooked as was my brother Allan who was two years older. We both became airline pilots.

My dad would fly his twin engine Piper Apache over our back yard on the way to JFK or LGA and I would run to the back yard and wave. I was hooked. The thrill, the adventure, the freedom…whatever it was I wanted it too.

PBI sunset

Beth: What was it like trying to become a commercial pilot in a male dominated field?

Bonnie: When I began applying for the airlines I was dimly aware that they might not want to hire me. We had a small class of 20 but there were 240 of us in the hiring class – we soon bonded and there is a life-long bond I believe.

Beth: Did you get along with your co-pilots?

Bonnie: Pilots have to watch each other’s back – as a Captain I know what the co-pilot knows and he knows what I know. We work in unison. We have to in order for the flight to function. Because of the union philosophy pilots don’t compete for a higher position within the company – we work as a team looking out for one another – we are watching each others back as well as the entire crew.   It is a great connection with the person you are relying on and that goes for the flight attendants in an emergency – you are vital to the safety of the passengers and the flight crew depends on you for that!

Beth: What advice would you give to young girls about reaching their goals?

Bonnie: It is always about believing in yourself and asking why? Why not? Why can’t I do that? Why not ME!

If you think you can – YOU CAN!

Pilot Ella
Ella at age 4, testing out the pilot seat before a flight.

Take a moment to check out Bonnie’s blog for some exciting and inspirational stories. On this week as we celebrate Women of Aviation Week Worldwide, check out this post Bonnie wrote: EVERYTHING I NEEDED TO KNOW I LEARNED FROM FLYING. I love this part: “The legacy of women flyers who actually broke into the world of aviation was truly amazing.They were pioneer airwomen who worked at every type of flying – barnstorming, stunt flying, cross-country racing, setting endurance and altitude records, flight instruction – everything except airline flying.  Those big paying jobs were reserved for the men.” To read more, click here.

Categories: Blog (Cloud Surfing Adventures) | 1 Comment

Christmas Music Spectacular— A Review (by Ella, age 5)

Today we went to see the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. It was my second time; the first time I saw it I was 6 months pregnant with Ella. So in a way she has experienced it before too…but not really. Today was her first time to see the show. It was SPECTACULAR! There’s a reason they use that word in the title of the show!

Christmas Spectacular

Here is my interview-of-sorts with Ella after the show:

Beth: “Ella, what did you think of the Rockettes?”

Ella: “They were awesome!”

B: “Do you want to be a Rockette when you grow up?”

E: “No, I want to be just myself.”

B: “What did you think of Santa in the show?”

E: “Santa was Magic.”

There was a part in the show where the Rockettes were riding a double-decker bus and wearing winter coats. As they came out of the bus they were wearing shiny dresses. Ella commented, “It’s magical! Or maybe it’s just the Christmas Spirit”.

When I asked Ella what her favorite parts of the show were she listed these four things:

  • When they destroyed the castle. (I don’t want to ruin the surprises in the show for you if you’re going this year so I won’t explain fully, but this was in a 3-D “live” video game where the player destroyed the Humbugs with Christmas cheer. It was magnificent.)
  • The snowflake bubbles (remote-controlled giant snowflakes flying throughout the theatre…so cool!).
  • Snow Confetti
  • The end, when they all clapped and cheered. (This is always a favorite for Ella who really loves to express her appreciation for an exciting show.)

She didn’t mention it in my “interview”, but the cotton candy was pretty special to her too.

Christmas Spectacular

I am sure that most people already know and expect this is a great show, but I’m telling you, if you have an opportunity to see it, it will be one of the most incredible shows you’ll ever see. If you’ve seen it in previous years, you should know that each year they change the story and theme so although they have some of the same elements, it is full of surprises each year. Seeing it as an adult without kids 6 years ago was so much fun. Seeing it today with a 5 year old was absolutely priceless. The joy on her face lasted the entire show. Watching her experience the Christmas Spectacular was so rewarding. This was truly a special, joyful, spectacular day.

Snowflakes

Have you seen the show? Was it this magical for you?

*This is an unsponsored post. I am in no way affiliated with Radio City Music Hall and I am not being paid for this review. I am simply sharing our experiences. In any of my reviews or recommendations I will always give my honest opinion.

Categories: Blog (Cloud Surfing Adventures), Reviews | 1 Comment

5 Things to Pack For Flying With Stuffy Noses

The kids and I are all sick today. John and I have bad colds and Ella has been vomiting. So sad! I’m really glad we’re not scheduled to fly anywhere this week! If we were, we would of course have to change plans with Ella vomiting. Here are some great things to have on hand for those times when you have to travel with a few sniffles or for when a cold pops up as you’re headed to the airport:

EarPlanes

 

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These are a great invention: ear plugs that help equalize cabin pressure. They really do work and are great to use when you’re a little congested so that the pressure changes don’t bother you as much. They come in adult and child size.

Little Remedies Sore Throat Saf-T-Pops

 

Little Remedies Sore Throat Saf-T-Pops

With no artificial dyes, no artificial flavors, no medicine, these Safety Pops are great for soothing little throats. An added benefit on the plane is sucking on a lolly during descent can help with ear pressure.

Mucinex for Children

 

Mucinex Kids

Mucinex is so effective it is the only decongestant I use for my family. (Of course John is too young to take Mucinex, which is recommended for children aged 4 and up.) Before Mucinex was available over-the-counter, my doctor prescribed the main ingredient, Guaifenesin, for me so I could take it for my recurring sinus infections without the side effects of other decongestants. Using it allowed me to continue flying even though I was getting sinus infections every month due to allergies. I love the kid’s formula that comes in little granule packets. They are perfect for traveling since they are not liquid and are light and small.

Hyland’s Homeopathic Cold Tablets

 

Hylands Cold Tablets

Babies and Toddlers are too young for medicines like Mucinex.  We have found Hyland’s Baby Tiny Cold Tablets to be give effective relief to sniffles and sneezes. It’s not like it wipes out the cold completely, but it seems to help make the symptoms less miserable. We actually ran out of these yesterday and today has been a tough one for baby John. Wally is going out to the store to get some more Hyland’s Cold Tablets as I type this.

 

EarDoc

 

Ear Doc

My full review of this product will be coming soon. This is a great tool to have in your travel bag. The EarDoc is intended to help alleviate ear pain due to ear infections or changing cabin pressure on the airplane. So far in my testing I have found it to be very effective for relieving ear pain in adults and in children it at the very least offers a nice distraction to the pain they are experiencing. The EarDoc gives a vibration (adjustable speeds) that you apply right behind the ear. This helps open up the Eustachian tube to relieve pressure.

Categories: Travel Products, Travel Tips | 5 Comments

Small Business Saturday—Businesses We Love

It’s Small Business Saturday! Are you ready to support small companies? Here are a few small companies we love:

Daisy Chains Designs

Flight attendant Owner, Designer, and Creator Pam Warren has some of the most beautiful creative jewelry around. Check out her designs. She even makes kid’s designs. Your wife, mom, sister daughter or girlfriend will love these! There are more than just daisy designs and they are all beautiful! Here is one of my favorite designs:

Daisy Chains Designs

 

GoGo Babyz

If you have read any of this blog, you know I’m a huge fan of GoGo Babyz travel products. From wheels that attach to your car seat to make it into a smooth-riding stroller through the airport to a foldable wagon that is also a stroller and is even ATSM cerfied to a diaper bag that also acts as a baby carrier, GoGo Babyz has lots of great, innovative products for parents on-the-go.

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Melzy Baby

This clever company came up with a solution for the diaper blowouts and leaks that every parent wishes never happened. The Soaker Stopper is great for traveling when it can be longer between diaper changes than anticipated. If the baby is experiencing tummy upset, the Blowout Blocker can save lots of outfits from a huge, smelly mess.

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Review and Giveaway of NurturMe Organic Baby Food

When you’re flying with a baby, one of the big considerations in packing is what food to bring. You should always bring at least twice as much food as you think you’ll need. You never know when you’ll experience lengthy delays or even an unplanned overnight stay.  Little squishy pouches of baby food are nice, but since they’re liquid, you’ll have to declare those at TSA which can be a hassle. Here is a great option for bringing baby food without taking liquids:

*This Giveaway has closed. The winner is…..

Sara F.! Congratulations, Sara!

If you didn’t win but would like to try NurturMe Organic baby food, you can order them from the NurturMe store. I have also been able to find them at my local Target.

NurtureMe Organic Baby Food comes in powdered form in a small paper pouch. You simply add water, formula, or breast milk until desired consistency is reached. These pouches are great for traveling because they are so lightweight. I figure packing 12 NurtureMe packets vs. 12 liquid pouches will save about 2 lbs. in weight. This makes it a great option when you are traveling overseas where it might be difficult to find local foods that will work for the baby.

(Although I received this product for the purpose of review and a sample pack for this giveaway, I am not being compensated for recommending this product. My opinions are my own and I will never recommend something which I wouldn’t use myself.)

Scroll to end of this post to enter the Giveaway!

Travel Food

I love that all NurtureMe foods are Certified Organic, Non-GMO verified, and have no added preservatives, sugars, or salts. They are gluten-free, Kosher, and made in the USA.

If your child is older, you can use NurtureMe foods to add additional nutrients to their food. It’s easy to stir in a pouch of butternut squash with a dish of Macaroni and Cheese. Or your toddler might like an order of plain pasta when you stir in green peas. See NurtureMe’s Kichen for other  great recipe ideas for your kids. They also have some great bite-sized free-dried snacks they call Yum-A-Roos. We tried Carribean Crop, with peas, banana, and pineapple. Although the recommended age for these snacks is 1 and up, John (age 10 months and good at chewing) enjoyed them very much, especially the peas. Ella (age 5) liked them too.

Things I love about NurtureMe baby food:

  • Healthy with no additives
  • Lightweight for packing
  • Easy to use
  • John likes them
  • Looks like food in it’s original state (e.g. peas are actually bright green, not brown-green like you see in jarred peas)

I only wish that NurtureMe offered more flavors. But on their website’s Q&A they do say they are adding more flavors. I have noticed several new ones in the last few months as well.

Ways to use NurtureMe foods:

  • For meals when traveling
  • In diaper bag ready for last-minute outings
  • In car for “emergency” snack (Yum-a-Roos are great for this purpose!)
  • At home to add nutrients to prepared meals
  • For meals ANY time

NurtureMe packages are also great for putting in your emergency bag in case of natural disaster. Having lived in California for 8 years, I’m very aware of the need for a grab-and-run bag of the essentials. You can easily pack the recommended 3-day supply of food for your infant or toddler using NurtureMe foods.

Emergency Preparedness Kit

Now with John at 10 months old it is a little easier to just hand him a liquid food pouch, but I still buy NurtureMe dried food pouches for use during travel and in my diaper bag and emergency bag.

Do you want to give NurtureMe products a try? Enter to win our giveaway! Click on the link below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Categories: Giveaway, Reviews, Travel Products | 6 Comments

Lunar Eclipse (Space Travel?)

Tonight was a beautiful combination of the “Hunter’s Moon” and a Partial Lunar Eclipse. We went out in the front yard and set up a telescope for viewing. What a beautiful moon! When I looked through the telescope a far away bird flew across the moon. It looked like it was in the moon’s orbit and also looked like a bat since October has me thinking of Halloween themes.

Telescope Kid

This was one of those times when you realize how easy it can be to inspire a love of learning in our children. Ella had such a fun time being outdoors in the dark, looking through the telescope, and talking about the moon and the eclipse. She wanted me to look up when the next meteor shower would be because she is longing to see a shooting star (meteor). She loves the song by They Might Be Giants, What is a Shooting Star?: “A shooting star or meteor, whichever name you like. The minute it comes down to earth it’s called a meteorite.”

Lunar Eclipse

When I was getting Ella ready for bed she said, “I wish I was an alien on the moon and you were with me and we looked through a telescope at Earth.” Remember, you don’t always have to fly somewhere to travel. Your imagination can take you anywhere!

*Stay tuned…I’ll be doing a review and giveaway of an easy-to-travel-with healthy, organic baby food very soon!  Follow Cloud Surfing Kids on Facebook, Twitter or Google+  so you don’t miss out on this and other travel tips and giveaways coming up!

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