Keeping Kids Occupied

Let’s be honest … the general public is leery of being stuck next to cranky or ill-behaved kids on flights and at the airport.  By the same token, parents cringe at the thought of their kids being one of those kids and you want to do your best to prevent any upset during your journey.  Major airports have gotten into the groove by offering a variety of activities to keep the little ones occupied and keeping the stress level low for passengers.  It’s a terrific trend especially since you can expect long waits and you want to arrive early as well.  Before you get to departure day, check out what your airport provides.

Without relying too much on external resources, here’s a few things you can do to keep the kids happy:
— Be prepared.  Get everyone checked-in and through security painlessly!
— Give yourself enough time to have a nice meal before boarding.
— Take each child shopping and them them choose a purchase for the plane.
— Bring a new motion toy, Transformer or small Lego.
— Pull out a mini-doll house and doll with accessories.
— Find the airport playground.
— Allow your child to finally play the game you downloaded for the trip.
— Reveal a new stuffed animal.
— Watch the planes take off and learn their logos.
— Go on a hike from one end of the terminal to the other.
— There’s always movies, books and games!

Below is a peek at what you can find at some major airport hubs. Be sure to look up your airport! And, be sure to have sterile wipes to clean hands after playtime and before eating … it’s a Mom thing ….

  • San Francisco (SFO)

    SFO hosts multiple “Kid Spots” with interactive exhibits from the Exploratorium Science museum.  They also list restaurants with kid menus. The also sponsor student art exhibits and education programs.

  • Los Angeles (LAX)

    A children’s play area named “LAX Beach” has opened in the New Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT) at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). Located past federal passenger security screening to conveniently serve travelers awaiting flights, the 971-square-foot LAX Beach provides fun for children ages 2-8.  Their website does not have a dedicated section for families.

  • Dallas/ Ft. Worth (DFW)

    DFW has two types of play areas: the Aquafina Juniors Flyers Club and McDonald’s Play Areas.  They also have the DFW Airport Walking Path which is a 3/4 mile exercise path coordinated with art displays.  Another idea is a Minute Suite, a private room with a daybed, shower and desk.

  • Chicago (ORD)

    Chicago’s website boasts about their family facilities at their airport including a kudo from Nickelodeon Magazine for their Kids on the Fly exhibit (KOTF) as the “Most Awesome Airport Play Area!” They do offer a lot on their website so check it out!  Notably they offer family restrooms and an area for breastfeeding.

  • New York (JFK)

    JFK doesn’t have a story for family travel.  Their website has nothing of interest.  So, be prepared to entertain yourselves.  It’s been suggested that you could ride the Air Train for free between terminals for some fun and views.

  • Boston (BOS)

    Logan Airport in Boston has children’s play areas called KidPort in each of their terminals. They also offer rocking chairs, family restrooms and nursing rooms.

  • Washington, DC (Dulles)

    Nothing about kids described for Dulles so you had better plan on your own entertainment.

  • London, England (Heathrow – LHR)

    Heathrow has  Stay and Play areas in each of their terminals. They also have “Boots the Chemist” who can provide emergency supplies of formula or medications.  The website also provides a list of family-friendly restaurants.  They have a fabulous family lounge in Terminal 3.

  • Paris, France (CDG)

    Paris has some unique facilities from families including strollers you can borrow and use in the terminal plus my favorite, Sony Playstations for video gamers.  Very cool!

  • Amsterdam, The Netherlands – Schiphol (AMS)

  • Frankfurt, Germany (FRA)

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  • Rome, Italy (FCO)

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