Home School at the Airport

A few years ago I tried to take my kids on a light rail adventure, but, for whatever reason, we ended up at the airport instead. Little did I know how fun a field trip to the airport could be – even when you aren’t flying!

First off, it’s a big, noisy space that is out of the rain and snow in winter and air conditioned in summer. I’ve got you already, right?

Kids can ride escalators and elevators, check out the baggage claim carousels, run down somewhat empty corridors, and people watch to their little hearts’ content. And that’s just the start!

We often study the map of the terminal and pick a place to go. This gets their brains working. “The drinking fountain is between ticket counters 2 and 3, Mama!” And off we go, counting the ticket counters until we make our planned right turn followed quickly by a left turn. Bingo! There’s the drinking fountain.

Studying the arrivals and departure board is a great learning opportunity too. Where are these places? How far away? Where would you want to fly?  What language to they speak there? What’s the elapsed time until arrival? How long is the delay?

The currency exchange is another chance to talk about geography and culture as well as math. If you have an older learner, you can practice conversions. Bring a clipboard with you! On a slow day, the employee would probably be thrilled to answer a few questions.

We always pack a lunch, too. I like to sit in the international wing so that if an international flight crew goes by we can study their uniforms.

With parking at $4 an hour, a couple of hours of entertainment and learning for a family starts to sound like a great deal, doesn’t it?


airport overview