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If your family’s summer vacation includes a plane ride, keeping your child entertained in the cabin is probably an even bigger concern than making your way through security or reaching your destination without losing any luggage. After all, it’s a given that a bored kid will get antsy while traveling. But with a little planning, you can help yours stay busy—ensuring a peaceful flight for all.

Pack a surprise bag Pack your child a carry-on bag filled with surprise toys, and if time permits, wrap them individually to give your child another inflight activity. (You don’t need to buy new toys; instead, pack items your child hasn’t played with for a while). Bring the wrapped toys out one at a time during the flight!

Sit-still scavenger hunt Make a list of items (like something red, a flower, a sweet food, and something soft), then have your child look for them in books or magazines, says Ann Morgan James, a parenting expert and author of How to Raise a Millionaire.

Coloring or activity books For imaginative kids, a coloring book and crayons never fail. Or, bring along an activity book, such as The Wimpy Kid Do-It-Yourself Book, Don’t Let the Pigeon Finish This Activity Book!, or I Heart Hello Kitty Activity Book: Read, Write, Count, and Draw with Hello Kitty and Friends! Older kids may enjoy brainteasers, like Bananagrams or Me vs. You Head-to-Head Brain Races from Klutz.

Story time What kid doesn’t love reading time? Instead of popping in another DVD, let your child explore a new story. A new favorite for preschoolers, Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! by Mo Willems is also available as an activity book. Visit our Bookworms page for more suggestions.

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