Children Play Facilities in Athens Airport
We travel a lot with our children and as a result we are in and out of airports across the globe. Whilst the little adventurers have grown accustomed to generally occupying themselves whether it be by playing on the iPad, games with one another or reading, as a parent I have found having child friendly facilities to pass a few hours a great way to prevent any grouchy and bored children. Having a play area also has the added advantage of helping to burn off any excess energy and being perfect for making little adventurers suitably tired for a more restful flight to the next destination.
We recently visited Athens, and on our return flight from Athens airport we hadn’t even thought of checking if there was child friendly facilities at the airport. Even though it is a major airport in a capital city it was one of the smaller airports we had visited and we just assumed that there would be nothing suitable. We thought we would pass a while and give the children a treat with a hot drink and cake and we made our way upstairs. As we approached the food area, we saw a sign saying children play area and thought we should go and investigate. We are so glad that we did as we were super impressed with the facility. In all of the other airports we have come across it has always been more of a soft play / play frame set up where the children occupy themselves. In comparison the facilities at Athens Airport is set up more like a nursery with onsite staff who are there to watch and encourage play with the children. Here’s what we thought of the children play facilitates in Athens Airport.
What is provided onsite
The facility is run in-conjunction with a charity “The Smile of the Child” who work with children from difficult personal situations and aim to bring hope and a little happiness into the lives of these children.
The room is aimed at children under the age of 8 years old and a parent is required to stay with the children at all times. There were two members of staff onsite and there is no time limit on how long a child can stay in the facility.
The play area is open between 9am – 9pm each day.
The room is set out like a nursery / preschool with a home corner with play kitchen and tools, a few soft play toys and cars for younger children to enjoy. On the other side there is a table with ample arts and crafts facilities for children to have a try. I love the craft area as my children love to colour and craft but normal airports aren’t set up to allow this type of activity so this was a lovely change.
The staff were there to engage with and play with the children which was a lovely addition as I know the build up to flying can be extremely stressful for those parents who are anxious about travelling or like me, who suffer from bad travel sickness, so it was great to have a little break and let the children play in a safe environment.
What we loved
- The staff were amazing. Like all the people we met in Athens, they were extremely approachable, smiley and highly engaging with the children. My little adventurers are great with meeting new people but I can imagine the staff being able to put any child at ease and were truly lovely.
- The equipment was of a good standard, well maintained and ideal for younger children. Zayn happily passed an hour moving from of the play areas to the next, whilst the older two crafted and coloured.
- The staff provided hands on craft activities which was great for a non-crafty mum who has craft mad little adventurers. In addition to colouring activities, the little adventurers made a fish and Maya also made a origami cat (which she was really proud of!)
- The facility is free for all children under the age of 8. We visited during February half term and were flying back during the day and were extremely surprised to see the facility was empty. It made it much more enjoyable for the children as they had the whole area to themselves but I think people aren’t aware that it is there.
- I loved that there was Greek themed activities for the children to do. From Greek themed word searches to colouring sheets which had a few sentences about certain gods. My little adventurers are huge fans of Percy Jackson and Maya is making her way through her book of Greek Myths, these were a perfect combination.
- The display the artwork that the children have completed on the walls of the play area. My little adventurers were very proud of leaving a little of their artwork in another part of the world!
- The site was closed and made me feel much more at ease, with the likes of Doha or Changi which have great play facilities but are huge and have very busy, the children here where within one room and couldn’t wander off.
Things to be aware of:
- The facility is great but it is within one room. I can imagine that it could become a little cramped if there was lots of children around. There is a small waiting area for parents but items of clothing, footwear and luggage had to be kept with the parents. We left our pushchair outside and it was ideal that we only had one item of hand luggage as it would be cramped with several bags.
- Remember to keep and eye on the time. The set-up of the airport is such that you do not pass security after the baggage area so you need to allow enough time for toilet stops, security and making your way to the gates.
- Your little adventurers may not want to leave so its always good to have something on hand to entice them.
Overall, we were really impressed with the play area. We have been to airports which has so many facilities for travellers that it can be overwhelming but for young children, I thought this was a perfect combination of activities fr children to play with and varied enough to occupy them for a few hours. It is also a lovely change to see something a little different. Play areas are great but sometimes the children can become really excited whereas these activities were really calming. The staff were fantastic and a real credit to the organisation. I loved their outlook and it as very evident that they loved the work they were doing and were so engaging with my little adventurers. If you are travelling from Athens with young children, definitely check out “The Smile of the Child”, it was great and highly recommended to pass a few hours.