Traveling by plane is very often an exciting experience for young children. However, children can become bored quickly if they are asked to sit still for long periods of time. If you have a long flight, be prepared with games and books to both extend your child’s communication skills and keep them entertained.
Here are some fun and helpful activities you can take on your family’s next flight.
1. Memory or Snap Card Games
- Memory and snap card games have many different pictures on the cards. Use cards with a specific category such as vehicles, underwater animals, or dinosaurs to help your child extend their knowledge of words in a particular category.
- Before you play, talk with your child about each card to make sure they know the picture. While naming the object in the picture, talk about where you can find the object or animal, what they do and look like. If you have a card with a squirrel talk about where it lives and what it likes to eat. For example, “Oh, here is a squirrel, they live in forests, they are very good climbers, and like to eat nuts”.
- Teach them the rules of the game, such as deciding who will go first, taking turns, the aim of the game, what to do or say when you win or lose. This is important for social skill development as your child learns to play with other children.
- While taking turns, talk about the objects on the cards. Encourage your child to try to recall facts about that object/ animal. For example, “I have a squirrel card. Squirrels are very good climbers and like to eat …” etc.
- When your child wins or loses the game talk about their feelings. For example, you could say “You must be very excited that you won this round, I am proud of you,” or “It’s ok that you lost this time, maybe you will win the next round”.
2. Card games such as UNO
- UNO is a fun way for your child to begin to recognize numbers in preparation for school and is easy to play on the plane.
- While playing put emphasis on taking turns, by saying something like: “Now it’s Dad’s turn, and then it’s your turn”.
- If your child has played the game before, encourage them to explain the rules. This will give your child practice sharing instructions with others. If they have difficulty, help them by breaking the instructions into steps. For example, “First, we need to deal 5 cards to each player, then we make a pile with the rest of the cards and put it in the middle”.
3. Coloring Books
- Coloring books are also perfect for the plane so bring along your child’s favorite coloring books and crayons. Choose books that have images with more characters, actions, or scenes rather than one single image on the page. This will give you more opportunities to talk with your child about what they are coloring in.
- While unpacking the coloring books ask your child to choose which one they prefer. Depending on your child’s skills you can give them a choice, like “Do you like the one with animals or the one with vehicles”. Or you can ask your child, “Which one would you like to color first?” and expect them to use a sentence to request the book they would like. Ask what else they will need to start coloring and encourage your child to request the crayons.
- Before you start, look through the coloring book together and let your child choose what page they want to color. Talk about what is happening on the page, for example: ‘Oh, look here is a dog standing next to the house, and he must be hungry! We could draw some food for him”.
- Talk about what your child wants to color first. Ask things like, “Should we start with the sun or the clouds, or would you prefer to start with the dog?”.
- Talk about the appropriate colors for each part of the picture, for example. “I think we need yellow for the sun, and green for the grass.” Ask your child what color they think you should color the dog.
Check out our travel checklist for more tips on travelling with hearing implants.
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