Entertainment Essentials when travelling with kids

Whether you are heading out on a road trip or flying on an airplane, travelling with kids can be tricky. It can be difficult to find things to keep them busy, to keep them entertained and to keep them from fighting. I remember road trips when I was a kid – I was lucky enough to be able to read in a moving vehicle, but my brother was not, which meant he spent most of his time figuring out ways to get me in trouble. Because of this, I am not surprised that 1 in 5 Canadian parents say one of their main concerns when travelling is keeping their kids entertained.

Whether you have one child or six kids, it is inevitable you will hear, "ARE WE THERE YET?" at least a dozen times during any given trip. On a recent family trip to New York City, my husband and I heard it at least 100 times from my daughter when our plane got delayed by a couple of hours and we were already on the other side of security and customs.

Nowadays kids are lucky to have technology to keep them busy, including tablets and iPads filled with games, educational apps, and of course, Netflix. Netflix is great for keeping kids busy at the airport, but what about when there isn’t WiFi? Luckily, Netflix now has downloadable TV shows and movies – for young kids, tweens, and teens (and adults, too).

While I consider myself tech-savvy, downloading e-books from the library can be somewhat of a challenge for me, but downloading TV shows and movies from Netflix is easy-peasy. Just remember that although you will be able to watch downloaded TV shows and movies without an internet connection, you will need an internet connection to download content with the Netflix app. 

I was so happy we decided to download a bunch of television shows and movies from Netflix onto our family iPad. Even though most airports say they have free WiFi - it's not always reliable (or free). My daughter was able to plug in her headset and watch a new downloaded movie from her Netflix app and keep herself entertained during our delay - and forgot all about wondering if we were there yet. ;)

So, if you’re travelling with kids this holiday season and are looking for movies and TV shows that will keep everyone entertained here are some tried and true downloadable titles: 

How the Grinch Stole Christmas (PG)

This classic Christmas movie needs no introduction. A perfect film for Dr. Suess fans and for the holiday season!

The Christmas Bunny (PG)  

The Christmas Bunny follows the unfortunate story of a foster child who finds an injured rabbit on Christmas Eve. She takes the rabbit to a lonely woman that runs an animal shelter on her farm, who helps her nurse it back to health. The two become quick-friends and the story is nothing short of Chrismas magic.

Elf (PG)

The story of Buddy the Elf, who is raised by elves at the North Pole, but quickly realizes he is more human than an elf. The search for his real dad results in hilarious and heartwarming comedy that will have viewers of all ages laughing. This movie is a household classic and we watch it at least a dozen times during the holiday season.

Netflix travel essentials

Arthur Christmas (PG)

An animated movie that tells the story of how Santa's clumsy son Arthur gets put on a mission with St. Nick's father to give out a present they misplaced to a young girl.

Full House

A 1990s classic sitcom that is entertaining for kids and adults alike. A widowed father enlists the help of his brother-in-law and his best friend to help him raise his three daughters. This television show is funny and also has some good life lessons for kids. It's good-hearted fun for kids 7 and up.

The Little Rascals movie (PG)

A 1990s humourous remake of the 1930s classic TV shows with Spanky, Alfalfa, Darla and the rest of the gang. Through mischief and mayhem, tricks, ingenuity (and some potty humour), the rascals will learn the value of true friendship. 

Matilda (PG)

Based on the novel by Roald Dahl this is the heartwarming story of a wonderful little girl, who happens to be a genius.

The Cat in the Hat (PG)

Fun for kids who are fans of Dr. Suess - but intended for an audience of about 8+ due to some crude humour. The movie version sees two bored children have their lives turned upside down when a talking cat comes to visit, but with some added humour and chaos.

HOP (PG)

E.B., the Easter Bunny's teenage son, heads to Hollywood to become a drummer in a rock 'n' roll band, when he gets into abit of mischeif thanks to a slcaker named Fred.

To find a show or movie you may want to download for your family, check out the Available for Download’ menu on the Netflix app on your mobile or tablet device and browse all of the titles available to take with you whenever and wherever you want.

What are your picks for TV shows and movies to download from Netflix Canada before travelling? Share your thoughts with us by leaving a comment. 

Disclosure: KITC is part of the Netflix Stream team and receive perks (like Netflix giveaways!), all opinions are our own - and in the case, my daughter's who has watched all of these downloads on our road trips to Sudbury, ON to visit family.

The Odd Squad: Cineplex's Family Favourites Program

My daughters are avid TVO Kids fans. It helps that we don't have cable, so the choices are limited based on what our antenna can pick up!

Several weeks ago while watching Saturday morning cartoons, my daughter ran upstairs yelling, "The Odd Squad movie is coming! The Odd Squad movie is coming!!" She had seen the promotion for the release of a full-length Odd Squad movie, based on the super popular show about kid agents who solve math-related problems CSI-style.

So I went online to check it out, and discovered the movie was being shown as part of Cineplex's Family Favourites Program - a weekly Saturday morning (11 a.m.) movie for only $2.99 - with a portion of the sales being donated to Free the Children. I bought the tickets immediately and we counted down the days.

I've taken my kids to a couple of movies in the past, but at 6 and 3, there haven't been too many. I was a little worried about how my youngest would handle the length, but was glad to see that the movie ran only 1 hour and 5 minutes. She happily clutched her bag of popcorn, and sat through the whole thing, with only one or two loud questions!

You may imagine a "family movie" to be loud and annoying, with little ankle biters kicking the back of your chair, babies crying or children talking loudly. I was pretty surprised that it was anything but! The theatre was packed, and despite a few questions, we were mainly all sharing the fun of watching a hilarious movie. There were many adult laughs too :)

It helped that the Odd Squad movie was brilliant - a racially diverse cast, with a strong girl ("Ms. O") in the "chief" role. Fun math problems are snuck into the story about creatures who can multiply themselves, and the hilarious "Weird Tom" adds some zany adult humour to the mix. Many of the lead characters are female, which is a great because it encourages girls to experience math and science as fun activities!  

The Odd Squad movie continues to play at select theatres around the city, but I've been informed that you can catch the movie on Monday, August 1st on TVO Kids! Don't miss it!

Have you been to see a movie at Cineplex's Family Favourites? Did you enjoy yourself?