With summer comes all kinds of fun, but a lot of that fun comes with a downside: waiting. Waiting in line, in the car, in the airport, in restaurants, and, in our case, in the pediatrician’s waiting room. Of course nothing will beat getting on that ride or arriving in some wonderful place, but here are a few ways we entertain ourselves while we wait.
This is a great go-to game that can be played at any level. Start with an object nearby and give simple clues, “I spy something blue.” Keep giving clues as the others guess, then take turns being the spy. As your kids get older, make it more challenging. “I spy an octagon.” “I spy 4 + 2.”
We made this game up as we were driving to the airport in San Diego and Little said he saw Africa out the window. I started saying, “Can you guess what African animal I am? I’m green…I have sharp teeth…I live in the water and on land…” Now that my kids have become totally obsessed with African animals, it’s become much more challenging. For me. Of course you could alter this to any interest your kids have. Baseball players. Bugs. Flowers.
Keep the Change
Open up your wallet and see what’s inside. Depending on your kid’s knowledge of money, use the coins for sorting, counting, and/or teaching your kids about U.S. history.
Ever since we started doing Bedtime Math, my boys love to do word problems when we’re waiting. Get creative by using your setting to tell a story. “If there are two boys and three girls in front of us, how many people are in line in front of us?” Or, for older kids, “If they let 10 people on each ride, and there are 53 people in front of us, how many more cars until it’s our turn?”
Take turns singing parts of your favorite songs. Have one person start, then after a few notes, point to the next person to take over. See who remembers the words—or what they come up with if they forget them. Even the ABCs can be hard to get right if you’re not paying attention.
This is a bit like the sing-a-long, only it’s your very own story. One person says a sentence. Then the next person builds on the story. The best ones show each kid’s personality, which makes for fun twists and turns. Here’s one of ours from almost a year ago and it’s still totally fitting knowing my kids:
Me: Once upon a time there was a little girl.
Big: Who lived in a house.
Little: And there was a dragon.
Me: But the dragon was nice.
Big: They played.
Little: And then he tackled her.
Me: It was a tickle tackle.
Big: And they laughed and laughed and laughed.
Little: And then a witch came.
While you’ll still be checking your watch and impatiently scooting everyone along in line, if you try one of these, maybe you’ll enjoy a laugh, insight, teaching moment, or break from the, “Are we there yet?”s. Maybe.
What does your family do to kill the time? Please, please share!
Love these ideas! We like to play 20 questions or the license plate game when we are in the car.
Amy, Using Our Words says
Ooh, we haven’t tried either of those. Thanks for the ideas!
So many road trips in the past. “I SPY” with the alphabet, A-Z was good once they both were reading. Another was throwing out 3-4 items for them look for (i.e. a barn, yellow car, railroad crossing, red boat, etc.) and once they found them, I’d throw out more. You can do this anywhere while waiting…i.e. in an airport (man with purple hat, lady with pink shoes, red suitcase, etc). For long summer road trips, when they’re both reading, finding all 50 states on license plates is fun. One summer we had them all but West Virginia..when we finally saw it in Tahoe, it was a huge celebration. Thanks, Amy, for bringing back some of these memories for me!
Amy, Using Our Words says
I love the reverse I Spy! My kids would love that. Thanks for the great ideas!
Reverse I Spy….good name for that!