Looking for Fun Kid Activities? Try the Airport!

Posted on August 2, 2010

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Last Thursday morning my daughter asked me, “So, what are we going to do today?”  “The Zoo?”  I suggested.  “Too hot,” she replied.  “The Library?”  I answered.  “No, let’s wait and go with Daddy Saturday.”  Other places such as the indoor jump place, the children’s museum, and our local science and history museum were also vetoed.  We’d visited them all recently, and it was too soon to go back.  So I googled “fun things to do with kids” for my hometown, and found. . .nothing.  Big fat zero.

FInally in desperation I went to google maps and just started looking, to see what we could do that was new.  My eyes alit on our local airport, and I realized my now 6-year-old had never been there.  She loved the idea! So off we went to one of my least favorite places.

I loved airports and flying when I was younger.  You could go anywhere in the world, starting in our very own hometown.  I dreamed of hopping a plane for Katmandu, Beijing, New Delhi, and Australia.  If they had a plane landing there, I wanted to be there.

I’ll never forget my first transatlantic flight with British Airways – real china and silverware, cloth napkins, filet mignon – and I was in coach class.  That was the way to travel, I thought.

Now it’s been almost eight years since I’ve flown.  My husband and I spent a week in Carson City and Reno Nevada.  While I loved the vacation, I certainly didn’t enjoy flying.  So crowded, with so much less seat room.  No food.  No movies – just endless tv reruns and promos.  Circling the Dallas airport for hours.  Layovers that seemed to last for weeks instead of hours.  Once we returned home, I decided to stick with cars and trains for my next trips.

Taking my little one to the airport was a brand new experience, however.  She was fascinated by everything; the moving sidewalks, the red caps, the metal detectors, and especially the planes.  She stood enthralled by a window to watch one plane take off, and another make seemingly endless preparations for take off.  She wanted to drive the luggage “trains”, as we called them.  She couldn’t imagine how such big planes could actually fly.

The baggage claim was also quite interesting for her; she was amazed at how many people had the same or very similar black suitcases.  And quickly began to figure out what she would pack for a trip on a plane.  And, like me, she felt sorry for the unclaimed luggage.

But the best part of our day was the extended family we met, also watching the planes take off and make preparations.  They were waiting for their son to return from the Army in Afghanistan.  Everyone was there from his parents to his siblings and his wife with her tiny six month old baby.  They had balloons and signs and enthusiasm.  I spoke with the Mom, and thanked her for her and her son’s service.  I think she appreciated that.

So the next day you can’t think of a thing to do, try taking the kids to the airport.  There’s always games to play, food to eat, and people to watch.  Have them try to figure out where people are going, and the purpose of their journeys.  Figure out what they would pack for a 22 hour flight to Australia.  Watch the planes take off and land.  And you might just find some of your own travel enthusiasm returning.

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Posted in: Lesson Plans