How to Entertain Kids During Long Airport Delays Without Electronics

Hey, it’s almost high season at airports! The time of year when you spend a lot of time in lines waiting for barking at the airport and waiting to take off your shoes and then … sometimes you wait and wait and wait a little more. It’s not exactly ideal when you don’t have children, but for those of us with toddlers and young children, this is a very special period of complete hell. This way, the prepared parent plans enough activities to keep little Korian and Toto busy – and most importantly, not whine or scream – for up to 11 hours.

Dead end? We’re here to help! I asked my very large group of parents on Facebook to share tips on what to bring with you for young children – in this case, children between the ages of 1 and 7 – even in the event of the longest and most dismal airport delays. Now, there are always two things that come over and over again: iPad, books, and snacks . I assume you have already thought about this and have already downloaded your Magic Tree House , Cheerios and Paw Patrol . But since airport delays can be very long , you may need a few more options. So, here are a few more ways to keep your kids relaxed and happy in this existential prison that is the airport’s waiting area on holiday weekends.

1. “Busy suitcases”

These are pouches or zippers of things that little fingers are busy with, like stringing pipe cleaner with pasta or making beaded necklaces. Need ideas? Pinterest rushes to the rescue .

My four year old would have been delighted by the fact that the string felt discs on flexible straws. He did it literally for hours. Or a packet of sponges cut into a stack ? Cheap, weighs almost nothing, and if your child doesn’t like them, sayonara. One friend said she collects travel bags for her toddler during long and tiring conference calls, so she always has a few close at hand. (As always, try not to strangle the little ones.)

2. Games

My seven year old son would love to play around the airport trash can. Make a list of random items – a magazine, a drinking straw, a person in a suit – and have your kids check the items when they find them. Guaranteed to kill time by at least half an hour. I Spy is also good for four or five minutes (that’s my limit for this game). My children also like Memory .

3. An empty bag with a zipper.

Suffer me here. Take the zipper to the diner and squeeze out a drop of ketchup and another drop of mustard. Seal. Give this to your little / old child. You will be surprised to know how long she will have fun, crushing it all around.

4. Naturally aspirated toys.

Like a beach ball in carry-on luggage. If you manage to find an uninhabited section of the airport, you can play with your children.

5. Small, cheap and lightweight toys.

Pull out a new one, like a child gets tired of the previous one: Etch-a-Sketch , Mr. Potato Head , a water top (which may not go through airport security, I can’t tell you how many ounces it contains.); wikki stix , plasticine pot, glow stick for magic wand, sticker books, coloring books and practice books, and crafts. (Of course, small LEGO sets aren’t that cheap either.)

6. Forts

If you’re carrying a blanket or shawl, make a tent over a chair or carry-on luggage. If you’re lucky, the baby will fall asleep.

7. Finger knitting.

Older young children can do this on their own; Smaller ones will be happy to help you thread the yarn through your fingers and make a scarf or something for the doll. Give up scissors; just bring a piece of yarn cut or cut when you get to your destination.

8. Playgrounds at the airport

If you’re lucky, you’ll be stuck at the airport with decent food and a children’s play area. Check out this list of playgrounds and activities with kids at various airports – Denver and Dallas look especially stunning. If there is no playing field, you can always watch the planes take off and land, and if you have enough time, ride the Skytrain / Airtrain between the terminals. If all else fails, there are plenty of escalators, elevators and moving sidewalks that will keep the little ones entertained for hours.

9. Roll of scotch tape.

My son is obsessed with scotch tape, and he pulls it out, rips it off, doing little Blair Witch -style installations all over the house. How much does the scotch tape cost? Whatever the case, it’s worth it.

What are your best non-technical ideas to keep the kids entertained while you wait to board? Leave them in the comments.


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