Are we nearly there yet?

Travelling with children can be a trial at the best of times. Let’s face it, they aren’t exactly patient creatures and all the waiting and sitting involved tries the best of us. It can be a challenge to keep them busy, but to make travelling a pleasure instead of a chore they need to be entertained as much as possible. We all know this, so we plan, plan, and plan again for the journey in the hope that they won’t bother anybody else on the plane. But what happens if there is an unexpected delay at the airport? This can stretch the boredom threshold of any child, so we put together some handy hints on how to keep your kids amused through a delay.


First you could take them on an adventure. Explore the airport. This might sound a little dull but if you can make it into an adventure and spark their imaginations you can kill a lot of time along the way. Try suggesting you are on safari, sailing down a river or trekking through a jungle and you might be surprised at where their minds take you. Next, speak to the staff. Most people don’t realise that a lot of airports have facilities for children that can be a real saviour. For example, many airports, such as Heathrow, have a children’s play area, so ask where you can find it and you might get a nice surprise as well as a quiet half hour.Travelling with kids

Pack for it

Remember to prepare before you leave. When you are packing toys for the trip bear in mind that you might hit a delay while you do it. There are loads of children’s toys that are small, portable and easy to pack away quickly when you get called to the gate. Modelling clay can be a good entertainer for small children, as can sticker and drawing books, or maybe even travel board games or books for older children.

Add some novelty

Get them something new. Novelty can be a real distraction and for a few pennies you can keep the children busy for a surprisingly long time. Go to the newsagents in the airport and let them choose a new sticker book, magazine or puzzle book. There are even toys in some of the larger airports, and if the budget will stretch you might even find a new game for any of their handheld devices. Even free toys with meals can keep them amused for a while, so take a look around to find something in your budget.

Family travel tips

Use your phone

A mobile phone can keep a child busy for a while if you download a new game. Again this is the novelty effect but it will work and you can get games for free or just a few pounds. Be careful not to waste your battery though, you don’t want to be in a situation where you can’t call a taxi or home if you need to. However, if you take a look around the airport you might find a charge point.

Revive a classic

It may seem a bit old fashioned but sometimes the oldies are the goodies, younger children can be kept busy for quite some time with games like ‘eye spy’ or ‘hangman,’ all they need is their imagination, a pen and some paper. You could also try some memory games such as ‘I packed my bag…’ In case you are not familiar with this one, a player starts by saying ‘I packed my bag and in it I put…’ they then think of something they put in their bag. The next player has to do the same but remembering what the previous player has said as well as their own item. This carries on with the list growing longer and longer; the first person to forget something loses. You could also get them to try and spot as many things as possible starting with a particular letter, although the downside of this game is that you might have to play too!

holiday tips with kids

Get Handheld

This is the situation where handheld devices come into their own, whether it is a tablet, mp3 player or handheld gaming device. If you have one, make sure you have loaded it up with as much as you can, it is a good idea to have a variety of things available so that your child doesn’t get bored. Movies, music, and games are all work well and there are even apps that feature a lot of your children’s favourite familiar characters for them to play with. These include some generated through programmes on the Cbeebies and CBBC channels, which can often be educational too.

Get them Moving

This is could be a dangerous move if you don’t pull it off well! Try wearing them out, but find a spot where you aren’t going to disturb others. The children’s play area is a good idea for this but if there isn’t one at your airport then find somewhere a bit out of the way where there aren’t too many people trying to sleep. Now get them involved in an active game, have a competition to see who can jump the highest, have a silly walks competition, or get them to dance to their mp3 player. Even a little bit of musical statues might work, and they can make friends with other bored children too. Who knows, they might even keep each other busy for a while! Of course, if you don’t wear them out enough to sleep you do run the risk of a grizzling child, which will make the wait a whole lot worse, but get it right and they will be entertained until they fall asleep. Perfect.



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