How to Keep Children Entertained in the Airport Queue

Expect Long Airport Queues at London Heathrow Airport – be prepared with these tips to keep your kids happy

queue 2964

Queuing at Heathrow Airport

According to several news reports, if you are traveling to London, or the UK generally, you can expect to be in the Immigration Control queue for a very long time.

Here are some tips for stopping your little angels from running wild whilst waiting in the queue, or even disappearing completely in the crowded airport (you should be so lucky!)

First and Last: Whenever You Travel With Children, Always Have a Note Pad and Pencils Available

Then the children can play games which need to be written down and you can record your thoughts, contacts and ideas, or even write a poem

5 Ways to Keep Kids Entertained For 10 Minutes at a time

(When I use the phrase “keeping children entertained”, this also includes “keeping children occupied” because some of the things suggested may be simply to get them off your back, and keeping them busy, rather than entertaining them in the strict sense of the words)

First Entertainment for Your Children:

Scissors, Stone or Paper

scissors stone

This game is usually played in couples. Each person clenches a fist and on the count of three, each of them either keeps their hand clenched (which represents a stone), opens two fingers (representing scissors), or holds their hand out flat (representing paper). There is a hierarchy and the winner is the person whose representation is unscathed by the other person’s representation. The rules are that paper wraps round a rock and stops it being used as a weapon, so paper wins. But paper can be cut by scissors, so scissors win over paper. Stones can blunt scissors, so stones win over scissors.
This is fun, but I doubt whether people would want to play longer than about 8 minutes, so take your time explaining how to play, with a dummy run, and maybe recruit other children in the queue to play too – their parents will thank you!
Total 10 minutes

Second Way to Entertain the Kids:

Bring out something to eat or drink

NB you probably won’t be able to buy anything before you go through immigration, so bring something with you.
Consumption of goodies will only take about five minutes but you could gain another five minutes by giving them a bit of a shpiel – discussing what they are going to get, and who wants what, and then scuffling around looking for it, unpacking it slowly and distributing it.
Running Total: 20 minutes

Third Way to Entertain the Kids:

Get Physical:

– Can You Raise Just One Eyebrow? john 400

– Can you wiggle your ears? I can’t do that, but my brother can.

– Can you raise just one eyebrow? Lots of people can, but it takes practice – still, you have all the time in the world

– Can you wink with alternate eyes, first one, then the other? Some people can’t even wink properly

– Can you stand on one leg? See who can balance the longest without falling over

– Can you push(contort) your thumb down to touch your wrist? (I used to be able to do this, but anno domini has stepped in to stiffen the old joints these days)

– Who can make the ugliest face?

– Who can pat their head up and down whilst rubbing their tummy round in a circle? Needs practice. I can do it.

– Can you whistle a song through your teeth? I can, but I must stop talking about my prowess.

– Can you click your fingers? Being Spanish or upper -class helps

Then there are tongue twisters, which can amuse adults and children alike: This is my web page called The English Tongue Twister

And maybe you have your own ideas about some more of these, including strange noises and gestures, but trying not to annoy the people next to you.

That’s another 15 minutes

Total 35 minutes

Fourth Way of Entertaining the Children:

Magic Tricks:

Maybe bring a pack of cards, toothpicks or anything else you would use as a prop.

If nothing else, you can always hide a coin in your hand, and fish it out of your child’s ear, with suitable diversionary hand-waving and incantations of “Abracadabra”, or hide something up your sleeve. You could even get other people in the queue to join in – there’s bound to be an amateur conjuror amongst them.

That’s another 10 minutes

Running Total 45 minutes

Most adults and older children know one or two conjuring tricks, so just prepare a couple in advance, and do your best.

Fifth Way of Entertaining Your Kids:

Have a Note Pad and Pencils Available             notepad and pencils

Then the children can play various games:

– Noughts and Crosses

– Hangman

– Battleship and

– Do some drawing.

That’s about 15 minutes, maybe even 20 minutes

Running Total 1 hour

By now the queue should have moved –

If the prospect is still not hopeful:

The family can always fall back on books and digital games (if you could tear the children away from these in the first place)

Definitely 20 minutes

Final Total 1 hour 20 minutes

And your children should have very happy memories of the Immigration Control hall, for the rest of their lives.

This is the most recent Harry Potter Book (Until the new one is released in June 2016) – an Amazon Best Seller for Children’s Books

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

This should keep older children happy for a few hours

 Here are Some Relevant Links With an “Airport” or “Entertaining Kids” Theme:

How to keep children entertained Whilst Queuing at the Airport
More of my ideas for entertaining children, including counting games, alphabet games, and so forth.
The Airport Code Game
In case you didn’t know, each Airport has a unique 3 letter code (for example, London Heathrow is LHR). These codes can be used to make words. Hey presto! That’s the game!
How To Teach Your Kids DIY And Make It A Fun Activity
This is a particularly good page with plenty of ideas which would also teach children useful skills
Making Funny Faces
“Funny Face Competition Rules: The rules are simple, you are only allowed to use your face, no accessories such as glasses, no make up and no hands. the winner is the person who makes the funniest or most grotesque face.”

Have You Ever Been Stopped and Taken Aside for Questioning By Border Control? – What’s the longest you think it’s reasonable to have to queue?

We all know they have to do their job, and it helps to keep us safe, but, really, isn’t 2 hours a bit too long to queue?

Take this poll and see what everyone thinks:

 Some of my Zazzle Designs for Kids on Travel Mugs and a Shopping Bag

On Zazzle you can choose your own design and wording or just go for other people’s designs

Rag Doll Travel Mug


Mug – Nine Dollies in a Row by GloriousConfusion

See more of my designs in my Zazzle Shop: Glorious Confusion

To End up -a YouTube Video

A Stupidly Long Queue at Heathrow Airport, London

Now you know why I wrote this article.

About Diana Grant

I enjoy reading, collecting books, writing articles and poetry, gardening, cooking, current affairs, craft work, computing, and being with my family. I'm interested in human rights and family law. Until I retired a few years ago, I was a solicitor practising in London. Follow Diana's board Books on Pinterest.
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