>  Advice   >  How to pass the time at an airport with kids

There’s only one thing worse than a flight delay and that’s a flight delay with you’re travelling with kids. Keeping children entertained at an airport without spending a lot of money can be a challenge. Here are five free ways to pass the time at an airport with kids.

Window shopping is free

Window shopping gets competitive with this game for older children. Agree on an amount to ‘spend’, say $20, then choose a ‘virtual shopping challenge’. Our family’s favourites include ‘tackiest souvenir’ and ‘ugliest tshirt’. Everyone in the family heads off to browse the airport shops and hopefully find the winning item.

Play at a deserted gate

Far-flung departure gates which are only used by certain airlines or at certain times of day are a great spot for little ones to burn off some energy. Ask staff for the heads-up on where these might be or walk around the airport until you find one. When you do, you can play a game of chasey between the rows of empty seats, ride the empty travellators or dance like no one is watching.

Ask about family zones

Some airports have ‘family zones’ with cartoons playing on a TV or a small play area where kids can have some fun. Other like Changi in Singapore take family fun to a whole new level with attractions like a butterfly garden, super slide and a free movie theatre. Do some research before you go or, if your long layover is unscheduled, ask at the airport information desk.

Use the free airport wi-fi

Connect your iPad or smartphone to free airport wi-fi and look at websites related to where you are travelling to with your kids. Younger children will enjoy looking at photos of animals and well-known tourist sites; older kids can research things they might like to see or do at your destination.

Ride the train between terminals

If there is a free train running between terminals, take the kids for a ride. Let them choose which stop to get off at along the way for some extra freedom and fun. Just make sure you allow plenty of time to get back to where you’re supposed to be to catch your flight!

Want more tips that save time, money and your sanity at the airport? Check out our suggestions for how to access airline lounges (even if you’re not a member), how to make the most of a stopover, and tips for flying a low cost airline.

Some of the links in this post may be affiliate links. If you use these links to make a purchase we will earn a small commission, at no additional cost to you. Please click here to view our disclosure policy.

Dr Tiana Templeman is an award-winning food and travel journalist, travel author and media industry academic. She is the creator of The Travel Temple, writes for Australian and international media outlets and appears on radio talking about where to go, what to see and travel industry trends.