The Ultimate Guide to the Best Airport Activities for Families

how to entertain kids while flying

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Airport Activities for Families? Air travel can be a lot of fun, but airport waits are often boring and stressful. To help families stay entertained while waiting for their flight at an airport, we’ve put together a list of airport activities that will provide some relief from the tedium.

The Ultimate Guide to the Best Airport Activities for Families

When you are traveling with the family, the time that you spend in the airport can be a trial, especially if you have younger children. Coming to the airport prepared is the best way to avoid any possible frustrations or problems.

Where are the Kids Areas at the Airport?

While some airports have designated play areas for the younger crowd, many more do not. The places that do have had things blocked off because of Covid – so you really cannot count on the ability to use them.

You will simply need to bring the necessary items to provide activities for your family. A backpack filled with goodies is an excellent idea. Better yet? A backpack for each of the kids – and divide group activities between them. These double as carry-on bags for the littles and let you still have the carry-on bag with the essentials like medicines, etc.

get a backpack for a kid's carryone

Consider other passengers

Depending on how young the children are you can bring their favorite, quiet toys. Before you bring something keep in mind that this is a public area and other people will be sharing it with you. Coloring books and crayons are a quiet activity that can keep children occupied for a good amount of time. The Dollar Tree has a huge variety of coloring books to choose from.

Don’t bring markers which can be messy, you don’t want your little artists using them on anything but the paper you provide. The only exception to this is the invisible marker activity pads. I love the entire line from Melissa and Doug. Melissa & Doug On The Go ColorBlast Vehicles Invisible Ink Color-Reveal Travel Activity Pad.

The Melissa & Doug On the Go ColorBlast No-Mess Coloring Pad offers kids engaging activities that will help develop their fine-motor and problem-solving skills. No-mess ColorBlast pads are great to take with kids on the go. Add the Melissa & Doug Water Wow! activity pads to round out the screen-free play experience.

The Melissa & Doug On the Go ColorBlast No-Mess Coloring Pad

Game Time

If your children are into Gameboys, these can provide hours of entertainment. Be sure to bring along their favorite games for the Gameboys. Games like Mad Libs are also a good idea; they keep the kids laughing at the silly answers that are given. Dominos is another great game to play in the airport and the best part? You can pick up a set at your local Dollar Tree store for just a buck.

Airport activities for families printables

It is easy to whip up some “busy books” for your next adventure. The idea of a busy book is to provide the child with an engaging activity that will keep them occupied. You can make airport activities for family’s printables or simply gather up some coloring pages and modify them as necessary to turn these into airport-friendly quiet books.

One great idea I saw was a build-your-own write-on-wipe-off book as shown here by Glue Sticks and Gum Drops. Don’t take my word for it – look for yourself here: Dry Erase Road Trip Activity Book.

It’s in the cards

Bringing along UNO or just about any card game that the kids may know how to play is another good idea. I have seen everything from Go Fish to Old Maid at the Dollar Tree. You can even bring along the travel version of Yahtzee – it comes with dice and a cup. Both are great for airport entertainment because you do not have to worry about pieces being lost or broken.

brain busters card game

One huge thing we did with our kid was to use this kind of downtime with flashcards. You can make anything fun and we did everything from shapes and numbers to learning words and concepts. Check out your local dollar stores for tons of different activities.

Movie Time

A portable DVD player with a selection of the family’s favorite movies is enjoyable not only in the airport but also once they get on the plane. If the kids have their own iPods they can listen to their favorite songs. Books are always a great way for every member of the family to spend time in the airport.

Ear Buds

If you are playing movies or listening to music, make sure to pack the headsets! Just because you love Yummy Yummy by The Wiggles 500 times in a row doesn’t mean the average traveler does.

Getting headphones for kids at the airport

Yummy Airport Activities for Families

We love to get a variety of appetizers to share — but that is just us. It pairs well with a bottomless glass of soda or water!

Grab a bite

If you’re looking for something to eat or drink before your flight, there’s nothing better than airport restaurants! They offer a wide variety of food items and drinks so everyone can find something they like. And if you don’t want to buy anything, you might still be able to enjoy free wifi access and charging stations in many airports too.

There are always dining options and whether it is sitting down to a meal or just grabbing a snack; it will help to pass the time. The food courts are usually very family-friendly.

Snack time

Pack snacks in Ziploc bags so they don’t get crushed. If the kids need their own meals buy them individual packets of granola, trail mix, dried fruit, cookies, or fruit snacks as most factory-sealed small items will be OK after the checkpoint.

Solid food items (not liquids or gels) can be transported in either your carry-on or checked baggage so stay away from things like apple sauce and fruit cups.

Physical Airport Activities for Families

Let’s face it – kids get restless! It is all that energy that needs an outlet. If you have the time, explore!

Walk Around

If the children are old enough you can look for an arcade. Many airports have them. You can also go for a walk and do a little shopping, get ice cream or just ride the people carrier. Most kids will really enjoy the ride.

ride the treadmill with the kids at the airport

Traveling abroad?

It pays to check out the different airports that you plan to visit. If you are at Changi Airport in Singapore you can, of course, go for a swim and if you are at Schiphol in Amsterdam you can tour the Rijksmuseum. Just make sure that there are no age restrictions on any of the activities.

Make your airport experience work for you, not against you by planning ahead and taking advantage of all the airports have to offer families with kids. The more prepared travelers are before leaving home, the better they will handle whatever comes their way.

The best thing you can do at the airport with your family is to be prepared with activities that you bring with you.


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