We say “pack your patience” a lot when traveling, but for the tiniest travelers, that may be a bit harder to do. While most parents and caregivers make sure to have episodes of favorite shows and movies downloaded on smartphones and tablets, there are a few other ways to keep the little ones distracted … at least for a little while.

Go for a walk/scavenger hunt

Wear the kids out with a walk through the airport. To make it more fun and interesting, create a scavenger hunt and have them collect items or take pictures of common airport finds, like a flight attendant, red suitcase, captain’s hat, destination postcard and more. Continue the scavenger hunt on the plan when you open the airplane magazine. Try to find common items, like a purse or perfume ad and a picture of an airplane.

Airport playground

If you’re lucky enough to find an airport with a playground, take advantage of it! Whether you arrive at the airport early or have a long layover, let the little ones run wild for a bit to burn off any pent-up energy from a long flight or calm any nerves about flying. Check out our blog post highlighting some kid-friendly airports to see if your travel plans take you there.

Favorite games

Who doesn’t love a good game of I spy? It’s the perfect distraction while going through security or waiting to board at the gate. Or pack a deck of cards and teach the kids how to play games like “go fish,” or “speed.” If all else fails, load the iPad with some movies or TV shows. Technology time doesn’t count when you’re traveling.


For school-age children working on writing skills, buy a special “vacation” journal. Encourage them to write about what they see and like at the airport, how they feel on the airplane and what they did each day of their trip. Or give them fun prompts, like what they think their favorite character does on vacation and what their dream vacation is.

Get crafty

Inspire creativity and bring an assortment of craft items, including popsicle sticks and googly eyes or colored paper clips to make necklaces and bracelets. Bingo dot markers can create one-of-a-kind dot artwork while paper scraps and paper plates can transform into animal faces, flower bouquets or any other creation that a child can dream up. Check out more downtime distractions to entertain your little jetsetters.