App and Video Recs for a One Year Old
March 11, 2018 4:09 PM   Subscribe

We are going on a long international flight soon (Denver to Tokyo) with our 13 month old baby. Help us keep her entertained with phone app and video recommendations!

I feel like I have some of the basics of long flights with a baby/young toddler from reading previous answers to questions like this and articles online (snack foods that takes a while to eat, walk up and down the aisles, change up small toys, etc).

But we're going to break out the big guns for this flight, which means apps and videos and screen time. I have an Android phone. What are some good apps I could download or buy that would entrancing/interesting/understandable to a one year old? And what are some good videos that I could buy beforehand (or potentially stream, if we purchase wifi) that a one year old would be into? Also, how does a one year old even listen a video on a plane? We have in-ear phone buds and a basic headset which don't seem likely to work, but am I missing an obvious solution besides playing the video at a low volume right in front of her?

And any other recommendations, toy-wise? We're bringing a couple of her smaller favorite toys and I was going to go to Target to see if I could find a couple new toys as well before we leave, is there anything in particular I should look for?

Any other suggestions welcome, I'm nervous about a flight this long with a baby and want to minimize screaming and fuss as much as possible.
posted by warble to Travel & Transportation (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Yes! They definitely sell headphones for babies :) We had some at the library where I used to work. You can get them on Amazon or at Walmart or Target. You can even get branded ones (Frozen, Thomas, whatever) if that will make Kiddo more enthusiastic about wearing them.

Re: videos: you can use KeepVid or similar to download YouTube videos if your daughter has any favorites there. I know some toddlers who will watch eight straight hours of dog videos without complaint.

(playing the video at a low volume right in front of her Don't do this. I've been on several flights recently where flight crew explicitly forbade it. I've also been on flights where a child's listening to a device without headphones caused an altercation with other passengers.)
posted by goodbyewaffles at 4:22 PM on March 11, 2018

Teletubbies. Test it. Crack for babies.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 5:27 PM on March 11, 2018

Some 1yr olds can navigate the hell out of apps and watch videos for hours. Some have no interest whatsoever, most are in between. It depends a lot on exposure, not to mention varies like any other developmental ability.

Anyway, Puffin Rock is one of the only very-young targeted shows that I’ve seen that I don’t hate and can capture young attention. Nice art and voice acting, too.
posted by SaltySalticid at 5:29 PM on March 11, 2018

For toys: stacking cup toys are great but will get dropped and likely lost. String a few on some twine for extra fun and retrievability.

For app: PBS kids apps are free and decent, a bit above that age level maybe but still perhaps diverting.
posted by SaltySalticid at 5:51 PM on March 11, 2018

12 months is hard for sustaining interest with video. I had luck with the back of the seat entertainment using the essentially all the kid-related previews. Also the video function of the phone and associated snap chat functions like bunny/puppy ears.
posted by vunder at 7:56 PM on March 11, 2018

Best answer: These headphones are inside a headband, I found they worked well for my one year old on a flight.
posted by permiechickie at 8:27 PM on March 11, 2018 [1 favorite]

i seem to recall my kid was really into the Toca Boca apps at that age. Whimsical, wholesome and Swedish.
posted by Morpeth at 3:27 AM on March 12, 2018

Best answer: My kiddo wasn't interest in plot-based video at that age (we tried Moana, Pororo etc) but she LOVED/loves the Super Simple Songs YouTube channel. (We discovered this when we needed to use a nebulizer mask on her 4x a day for RSV, and watching those vids was the only thing that would keep her entranced enough to keep the mask on.)

The videos are exactly what they sound like -- fun, cheerful animation with very simple, repetitive songs. (They aren't totally awful to listen to as adults, either, though they aren't obviously my audio of choice. There are some definite earworms though.)

The channel has some compilation videos so you can get, like, an hour-long chunk at a time instead of individual short songs. I used a free app called Documents to download and store videos from YouTube so they can be watched offline.

We also had a lot of success with one of these buckle toys, which have several different kinds of connectors. (I got mine new off ebay for about 1/2 price.) When she was 9 mo she loved just chewing on the straps, at about 13 months she got really interested in actually closing the snaps and would work on them, brow adorably furrowed in concentration, for like 20 minutes at a time.

I've also read good things about "quiet books" for toddlers like these, but haven't tried or tested any myself. I'm sure their efficacy would depend on the quality/content of the book itself and some of them look pricey ...
posted by alleycat01 at 8:10 AM on March 12, 2018

Baby toy with lock app was one of the few at that age. It was good for a half hour or so. We had volume on low but also had the row.

Snacks or pacifier at takeoff and landing is a must.
posted by typecloud at 10:43 AM on March 12, 2018

Fisher Price has a bunch of free apps for learning animal sounds, shapes and colors, rhymes, etc. My daughter was a teeny bit older (maybe 18 months) when we first tried these out (also on a long plane trip). They were a fun diversion, among other stuff like books, small toys, finger foods, cuddling in a blanket with a pacifier and lovey, etc. May be worth a try!
posted by medeine at 1:07 PM on March 12, 2018

Best answer: Peekaboo Barn is the only screen thing that would engage my kid at that age. Don't worry, thought, it gets better, and now at 2.5 she can mainline Daniel Tiger for 7 hours straight. Good luck!
posted by juliapangolin at 8:23 PM on March 12, 2018

Response by poster: Well, we made it to Japan alive and (mostly) happy, although now we're dealing with jetlag, so. :)

Here's how it went!

I bought the headphones that permiechickie recommended. (I bought the fox ones!) They're super cute and the soft headband kept her from instantly pulling them off. I'd highly recommend these for a young baby.

I used TubeMate as an app on my Android phone to save videos from YouTube videos before the flight.

The biggest hit by far was the Super Simple Songs video compilations. She didn't have any real interest in watching anything with plot or talking but was happy three or four times during the flight to listen to the songs for 30-40 minutes or so, which was incredibly appreciated by her parents.

Other than that, we ate food on the plane together with her, walked up and down the aisles (both letting her slowly walk and holding her), read books many times over, played peekaboo/generally interacted with her, she spent a lot of time investigating the screen on the seat in front of her, she slept twice, etc.

I'll update one more time with how it goes on the flight back.
posted by warble at 1:04 PM on March 20, 2018

Woo congratulations on making it there alive!

Also, I'm pleased that you've joined me in the exclusive club of adults who know all the lyrics to Baby Shark (do do de do do do), and will soon know all of its many variants as well.
posted by alleycat01 at 11:32 AM on March 27, 2018

Response by poster: Thanks alleycat01!

To update briefly again: The flight back went better (it's shorter), and Super Simple Songs was again a hit for a couple short periods of time.

One thing that also worked well for us was the app Peekaboo Farm. It took her a few tries to figure out how to tap the screen to make the "story" move forward, but once she had that down, Peekaboo Farm helped us out when we needed a couple minutes of entertainment instead of a baby melting down on a crowded subway. I liked Peekaboo Farm because the interaction with the app has an end point, which made it easy to play for five minutes or so and then be able to say "All done!" and put my phone away with no protest. FYI, I'd turn the app sound off on the subway and just say the words to her instead ("duck", "cow", etc) as we went through the different screens/story.

Thanks again to everybody!
posted by warble at 8:44 AM on April 16, 2018

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