Any tips on how to keep a toddler occupied on a long plane ride or road trip?
Yes, I do. It has worked the three or four trips with our kids, and the numerous friends and clients who have done it under my advice. This is for an independent walker up until older kids...(dunno, depends on your kids, you know them better than I do!)
First, you take a small compact backpack. Don't get one of those chincy ones with crap hanging all over it, and frills and bows... for airport security and your sanity. You want your toddler to put it on his/her back. This makes them feel important and grown up. Weeks or days before the trip, you hide it and store it somewhere. When you go to the store, look for teeny little activities to put inside. Small notebooks, some crayons, stickers, bandaids with cartoons on them, tattoos, small novelty bubbles, and snacks. You can also print out pictures of your pets and grandparents and friends and put them in a little book so he/she can show people where your visiting. My two year old loves it when we give her a disposable camera and we show her how to take pictures on it. Of course, the pictures are not going to be very good, but it still makes her feel cool.
Put all this stuff in your hidden backpack, make sure it's not too heavy (over two pounds for their little back might be too heavy.) And don't let them open it until they get on the plane, or at the airport when you guys are waiting for awhile and that toddler starts to be, well a toddler. What objects to avoid? Too many pens with caps. Play Dough or clay. Paint. Stuff that would get all over. I would also suggest not putting a bouncy ball in the bag (I did it.) and chasing it around was not fun. Of course, if you have a kid that puts stuff in his or her mouth (my first one never did, I don't know about Emmy yet.) Be sure to put things inside that are not choking hazards. (Good rule of thumb: If it can fit into a toilet paper roll, it's too small.)
If you can, I recommend a portable DVD Player... we have a Sony one that seems to be indestructible if someone wants to know a brand, just email me.
Anyway, that was my toddler boredom tip for the day. Let me know if you try this stuff out and how it worked for you! -MELISSA