Sometimes we simply have to wait. We were away for a few days which meant I wasn’t in as much control as I typically am with scheduling outings and activities. This also meant sometimes my little ones were waiting in a line when they were not at their best.
A little tired, a little irritable, a little hyper – not the best combination for waiting patiently in a line! We put in our time by playing a few of these simple, easy, and right away games. I thought I would share them here with you, so you can keep them up your sleeve as well.
But just before I do, I know I will receive a few comments about the fact that some believe children should be able to simply wait quietly in a line all on their own without being entertained. I get that idea. And if your kiddos are perfectly patient waiters you certainly don’t need this post.
But my little guys are not perfectly patient yet, and I believe in supporting my kids. I did not expect them to walk without support. I do not expect them to learn to read without support. Waiting is a skill as well and often, they still need my support.
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So when we are stuck in a line or waiting for an appointment we often will play these quick and easy games that help the time fly right by:
Guess my Number
This simple game is excellent if you are waiting with children of multiple ages, as it can be easily adapted to be a fun challenge for any age. I pick a number and tell my little one, “The number is between 1 and 10”. He then has to ask me yes no questions like, “Is it 4 or higher?” “Is it lower than 6?” and so on until he gets the number. For older kids you can increase the range to 1-100 or 1-1000!
Eye Spy with a Twist
Never underestimate the power of a good old-fashioned game of eye spy. If your little ones are very used to this game, there are lots of fun twists you can make while waiting in those lines. We like to play: I spy the colour…, I spy something that rhymes with…, I something that starts with the letter …
Guess my Animal
My boys are both animal crazy, so a good game of Guess my Animal is always a hit. I choose an animal and give a clue: My animal is huge. They then get one guess as to what is my animal. I then give a second clue: It has really big ears. They guess again. A third clue: It has a long trunk. They guess an elephant. Right! Then it is their turn to choose an animal for me to guess. (Their animals are always so hard and clues a little ridiculous, so this is a great way to put in a lot of time)
The Alphabet or Name Game
Depending on the length of time you need to wait, this next game can be a real goodie. If the length of time is not super long, or your little one doesn’t have a long attention span, you can play the name game. Start with the first letter of your child’s name and look around the room to find something that begins with that sound. Next, find the second letter in your child’s name together. If you have a long wait you can try the whole alphabet.
Guess how many Minutes
If you happen to still wear an old fashioned wrist watch you are in luck. Little ones love watching that second hand spin around. Have your child guess how many minutes (how many times the second hand will make a full circle) before getting to some landmark – maybe a chair, or a lamp – in the line.
Guess which Hand
Sometimes my little guys need a quick, fun, and fast-paced game to hold their attention when waiting. I will pull out a coin and switch it between my hands, close my fists, and have them guess which hand the coin is in. Then I give them a turn to try to stump me.
Two little Extras
I try to keep two little extras with me in my purse for anytime when waiting is not going too smoothly. The first is a pack of cards. The boys can easily spend quite a bit of time sorting the cards by colours, suits, or numbers.
The second little extra is a tiny book or two. I purchased these tiny little Robert Munsch stories and keep two or three in my purse to pull out and read whenever the need arises (The Paper Bag Princess, I Have to Go, and Purple, Green, and Yellow are our current tiny favourites. At just 3 inches square they are the perfect purse books!). They have prevented numerous meltdowns. A little snuggle and a good book is often just what is needed when waiting is hard.
There you have them – this Mamas tricks of the trade. I hope they come in handy and help you and your little ones play the waiting game.
And please be reassured to know that waiting truly is a skill we are teaching our little ones. Supporting our children as they learn and grow is always okay in my books.
Thank you so much for reading friends, I hope you are having a sunny week.