crayolaKeeping three kids under 10 occupied on an airplane for two hours or more requires some creative packing so that the whole house doesn’t wind up in their backpacks. It has always been interesting to see the changes in what my kids value enough to pack.

My kids have always insisted on packing their own backpacks and when they were really small, my husband and I would “edit” the stuff they packed after they went to bed.  Now that they are older, “editing” can incite major drama.  Instead, we remind them to bring paper, pencils and crayons, their snacks and usually their DVD player.  After that, there’s not room for much more.  They figure out pretty quickly that ALL of their stuffed animals won’t fit or, in my son’s case, that 25 die-cast cars and planes make his backpack really heavy.

My own backpack has shrunk, post-diapers, but I always include the following “MUST PACK” items:


MODEL MAGIC by Crayola
Looks and feels like Play-Doh.  Comes in assorted colors and can be found in drugstores and craft stores.  The biggest benefit is that it does not stick to the seats or carpet.  Most flight attendants are horrified when they see the kids playing with Model Magic because they think it is Play-Doh – to us, with slightly twisted sense of humor, it’s funny. Biggest drawback: cannot reuse.  

Once your sculptors have created their masterpieces, they can be stored in a zip-lock bag or even an airline sickness bag, which are lined so that the model magic will not stick.  Once you arrive at your destination, you can take the masterpiece out of the bag and let it harden. Color with markers or, if you are brave, paint.

More Great Packing ideas.

  • Scratch Magic
  • Earphones – kid size
  • Food
  • Mini Band-Aid Kit