I’ve been brainstorming ideas to keep my 20 month old happy on our airplane ride to Florida. She is a busy body who is not into TV and only reads two books – Once Upon a Potty and Pinkalicious. I took a trip to Walmart and Toys ‘r Us to see if I could find some little toys that would keep her entertained. I came away with a book of stickers and a small pad of paper, a Pop On Pals dog, a Tinkerbell toy, and a baby doll that cries when you take away her paci. I will also have my iPad which has several apps that she really enjoys.
I know for the 3.5 hour flight I will really need several activities, but they can’t take up a lot of room – we are packing as light as possible because we don’t want to have to check more than one piece of luggage ($50 per bag per flight!).
As I started thinking about airplanes, I thought about the tray and how that is prime real estate! I seem to faintly remember seeing a DIY version on a blog, so if you created one of these, let me know and I’ll share your link too! **UPDATE: I knew I remembered something – I even commented on her post! Make sure to stop by and check out Jeanine’s (of Serving Pink Lemonade) Airplane Tray Cover.
This took many forms in my mind, but this is what I finally decided on AND what fit on the 17″ x 11″ mat (I Googled airplane tray size and found that there is not an industry standard, but most are within 16.5″x 10.5″. I didn’t want to be too small width wise, so went with 17″ and height would be OK a little long because there are arms that hold the tray out, so it would still fit if it is too tall).
Two cars are parked in the garage and can drive on the chalkboard fabric road. The middle door opens to reveal a felt cat and dog that can play with either their fish or their bone. When you remove the dog and cat, they reveal pictures of our two family members that we will have to leave at home (adhered to the fabric with Mod Podge)! Lastly there is a velcro closure pouch to hold a few smaller toys – a Polly Pocket and a couple of Littlest Pet Shops.
I actually messed up on the back – but was halfway done when I realized it, so just went with it. The flaps were actually suppose to flip UP so that no velcro was necessary to hold them shut – and I still recommend you make it that way if you choose to try this!
I added tags along the edges for texture and ribbon on the top so that it can be secured to the tray.
When I completed this project I brought it to show my husband and he raised his eyebrows at me. I showed him all the fun activities and said that I really think this will keep her attention for AT LEAST a 1/2 hour and he said, “well, it seems to be holding yours.” Gotta love them husbands!
UPDATE: The tray was a success! It was a tight fit though, so definitely go 17.5″ wide if you make this. I think the first flight stretched it out, because the second flight it definitely went on easier and fit properly, where as in these photos it isn’t all the way on.
My daughter LOVED the little pom-poms.
My kiddos figured out a great use for the ribbon tabs: A way to hold the chalk while they weren’t using it (since the chalk pocket was on the other side of the cover).