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5 ways to keep kids busy during a flight delay or layover

Courtesy of Aeroports de Paris

Some airports, such as Paris-Orly, provide spaces for kids to burn off energy before boarding a plane.

Being stuck in the boarding area with kids in tow can be challenging: You’re exhausted after the schlep through security, and you don’t want to run through your kids’ in-flight entertainment before you leave the ground.

Here are some ideas for keeping your children entertained if you have a flight delay or long layover.

  • Stock up: This is the time to buy snacks and milk (which is not stocked on many domestic airlines) for the flight.
  • Get your jiggles out: Find a quiet gate area and encourage your kids to play jumping games (for example, who can jump the most times in one minute) and relay races. You might get a few wide-eyed looks, but wouldn’t you prefer to get them here than at cruising altitude?
  • Go on a scavenger hunt: Even if you are in an unfamiliar airport, it doesn’t take too much effort to dream up a scavenger hunt that would send you and your kids on a fun adventure. In London, for example, you might ask them to find a toy London bus, a picture of the queen, and a “W.C.”
  • Ask for information: More and more airports have playgrounds or interesting art displays that kids would enjoy. Some have activity books to give to young visitors. The best way to find out is at the airport’s information desk.
  • Use the bathroom: I know more than one parent whose fully potty trained child has refused to use the airplane bathroom (and really, who can blame them?). The best way to avoid an in-flight accident is to make everyone visit the restroom before you fly.

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