We were at Ninoy Aquino International Airport 3 (International terminal) last week and arrived too early for our flight, so we had the luxury to go around the airport to checkout how to kill time best with our 22-month-old.
There are restaurants (both before and after the immigration area) and souvenir shops (for interesting language objects) as well as a bookstore (in case you want to buy a book for the flight – although nothing much for toddlers, really).
There is also the Skyview Lounge on the second floor that’s open to some credit cards (you may eat there, charge your phone, even take a bath), or I think you can also pay upfront (not worth paying for in my opinion, unless the airport is so packed that there’s no place for you), but here are my top 3 picks for NAIA 3 exploration with a toddler:
1. WALKALATOR EXPLORATION – Your best practice for independence on an escalator than a walkator. But you can’t just find walkators anywhere, so take advantage of these in airports. From the security area, you can make your way to gate 109 with the help of several walkalators for my #2.
2. TRAVELLERS KIDDIE LOUNGE – Specifically designed for children ages 1-5, you can spend some time here so you can allow maximum freedom of movement for your child. FYI: Socks are required for both child and adult. Also, There is an infant feeding station (with a diaper-changing station) right beside it. It’s currently under renovation, though. Not sure when it will be available again.
3. GOLF-TURNED-AIRPORT-CART RIDE From the Travellers Kiddie Lounge, you can take a ride to your gate using the airport cart! This was a major hit for our toddler! These are my picks for my son’s stage.
Of course, you can also practice as much practical life skills as possible!
Here are some ideas:
* Let your toddler push your small 4-wheel luggage (handcarry-friendly size).
* Let your toddler walk and explore.
* Let your toddler push the elevator buttons if you’ll use the elevator.
* Let your toddler buy the snacks, or order his/her food.
* Let your toddler wait in line.
* Let your toddler give the passports, tickets, etc to the corresponding personnel.
* For older children, you can make a checklist (using words or graphics depending on age) of the steps on getting to your final gate for boarding (you can print this for personal use):
You may download the printable HERE.
Of course, on top of these, you can use everything in your environment as a tool for language – to introduce new words, or reinforce past concepts — you can talk about signs, too! The airport is full of interesting signs – including arrows for the gates!
One really easy and interesting thing to do for your toddler that’s big on language is plane-watching! You will never run out of sightings (big-bigger-biggest, private, cargo, etc), you can identify different airlines, and your toddler can probably spend a long time doing this!
That’s it for now for NAIA 3. It’s nothing much compared to really good airports like Singapore’s Changi terminals, but thankfully, there are toddler-approved activities here.
Oh and hey, it’s totally a great idea if you bring books or materials your toddler loves, too!
Have a safe and fun flight!
PS: If you want your toddler to sleep on the plane, let him/her move as much as possible while on land (while waiting for departure/ during layovers)! No need for medicines or other fancy tricks. Just let your child move!