(Or, How to Entertain Kids at the Airport)
The holiday travel season is upon us. Flying across the country to visit loved ones is a wonderful experience. A long layover in an airport, however, can be a challenge with tired, grumpy kids (of any age). Instead of sitting at the gate for two hours, get busy with a game of Airport BINGO!
You already know how to play! Print out the cards, or display them on your phone or tablet. There are four different cards to keep things interesting. Give all the kids the same card or different cards, it’s up to you. Happy parenting!
March around the airport terminal (look like you own the place) and find the items on the card. Agree on the rules before you start. A few variations:
- First to get five in a row (horizontal, diagonal, vertical)
- Find the most items in 30 minutes
- First to find the four corners
- Make up your own rules!
Your kids aren’t interested in playing? Bribe them with gift cards. 🙂
Print & Play Airport BINGO Cards
Each PDF file below has two BINGO cards that will print on 8.5″ x 11″ paper. Print out and separate the four cards. Play by marking the cards with a crayon, pencil, or pen.
Airport BINGO on a Smartphone or Tablet
If the kids have a smartphone or tablet, save a tree! Install the Adobe Acrobat Reader app and play right on your device. Import one or all four cards into the app.
GoodReader and other PDF viewers that allow freehand annotations will also work.
Click the images below to open/import the PDF files
Instructions for Acrobat Reader – Apple & Android:
It’s easy to import Airport BINGO cards from the device browser (Chrome, Safari) into Acrobat. If you need a little help, here are the instructions from Adobe:
- Open a BINGO card in Acrobat for iPad
- Open a BINGO card in Acrobat for iPhone
- Open a BINGO card in Acrobat for Android
When the card is displayed in Acrobat, click the Annotate icon, then the freehand Pencil icon to draw on the card.
Stumped on a BINGO card Item?
If you see an unfamiliar item on a BINGO card, here’s some help:
Locate the nearest AED!
AED stands for Automated External Defibrillator. AEDs might be THE most important safety device available to the public.
AEDs can be found about anywhere large groups of people gather, including airports and airplanes.
The AED is designed to automatically treat life threatening sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). Although best used by someone who has been trained (training is often combined with CPR training), an AED can be used by most anyone. It has been reported that untrained sixth-grade students have successfully used the device in under 90 seconds.
The AED is so important, it’s on all four Airport BINGO cards. Before looking for anything else, go find the nearest Automated External Defibrillator!
How to use an AED:
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
The Deice Truck
If you fly during the colder months, you’ll see these trucks spraying aircraft with a substance similar to automotive anti-freeze. The fluid removes existing frost, snow, and ice and protects the airplane from accumulating new ice before takeoff.
Larger airports often have deicing stations or “pads” that use permanently mounted deicing equipment instead of trucks. If you’re playing BINGO and spot the deicing pad, you get credit for the deicing truck!
More information about deicing airplanes: Why are they spraying our jet?
A Yoga Room – At an airport?
Yep! Airport yoga studios are popping up all over the world.
Airports with studios include San Francisco, Chicago (ORD & MDW), Dallas-Fort Worth, Sioux Falls, Helsinki, London (LHR & LGW), and Frankfort. The list is growing fast.
Most studios are provided free by the airport. A few require a service charge.
Yoga is a great way to reduce stress and combat the negative effects of long distance air travel!
The “Follow Me” Vehicle
Busy airports sometimes have “Follow Me” cars to assist pilots with taxiing.
A Follow Me car will meet an aircraft after landing as it exits the runway. Air traffic control instructs the flight crew to “Follow the Follow Me.” The pilots will follow the brightly colored vehicle all the way to the proper gate. Follow Me cars make taxiing really easy at complex airports.
If you’re playing Airport Bingo in the United States, you’ll have a hard time spotting a Follow Me car. These vehicles are more common in Asia and Europe.
It’s one of the oldest, simplest weather instruments on the airport. The windsock accurately displays wind direction and velocity. This information is useful to pilots for both takeoff and landing.
An FAA approved windsock will indicate wind direction in a 3 knot breeze. The windsock will fully extend in a 15 knot wind.
Windsocks are solid orange or orange with white stripes and often illuminated at night. They’re usually located near the end of the runway or midfield so pilots can easily see them during takeoff and landing. There’s a good chance you can spot a windsock from the gate area looking out toward the runways.
Airplane flight deck windows provide an amazing view during flight. On the ground, however, pilots have a limited field of vision. They often can’t see the wingtips, ground personnel, or vehicles that are nearby. This makes it a challenge to safely park the aircraft at the gate.
The aircraft marshaller stands in front of the aircraft where he/she is able to see the pilot, aircraft wingtips, and ground vehicles. Using illuminated wands or colored paddles, the marshaller guides the pilot precisely and safely to the gate.
If you or the kids play Airport BINGO, be sure to let me know how you did in the comment section below!