10 ways to entertain your kids when waiting in a long line

Want to keep the kids entertained without handing them your phone? Kill time with one of these simple games—no equipment necessary.

By Today's Parent
10 ways to entertain your kids when waiting in a long line

Photo: iStock/TkKurikawa

Long lineups suck—and they suck even more when your kids are with you, pulling on your sleeve and moaning and groaning about how bored they are. Sure, you could pass them your phone for some Netflix or YouTube, but if you're looking for a video-free way to kill a bit of time before you hand over the device, try one of these fun ideas.

1. I Spy

“I spy with my little eye something that is green!” Such a classic. To change it up, ask kids to find an item that starts with a specific letter or sound.

2. Take selfies

Let your kid take selfies or play with filters. Older kids can be sent on nearby assignments (“Take five pictures of blue things”) as long as they know to stay within your sight.

3. Thumb wars

"One, two, three, four, I declare a thumb war!" This one's fun, but doesn't kill tons of time, admittedly. Best of five?

4. Simon Says

Will you look ridiculous when your kid asks to be Simon and makes you “Put your hands on your bum!” and “Hop on one foot”? Yes. Yes, you will. Isn’t parenting fun?

5. Backwards ABCs

Write the alphabet on scrap paper, hand it to your kid ask them to try to sing the ABCs backwards.

6. “Who am I?”


Think of someone your kid knows, then slowly dole out clues so they can guess who it is. “I’m a man... I’m bald... You see me at your school sometimes... I work in the office...” (Answer: The principal.)

7. 20 questions

Little kids have a hard time asking the right questions to figure out the item someone else is thinking of, so let them come up with an idea and you ask the questions. If they don’t know what to pick, help them out. Tell them to choose something that’s in their bedroom or one of their toys.

8. Guess the number

Using your finger, write a number from zero to nine on your child’s back (over their shirt) and see if they can guess what you wrote. Start with numbers that are easier to recognize, such as 0, 1 and 7.

9. Talent show

Ask your kid if they can whistle, snap their fingers, curl their tongue, cross their eyes or touch their tongue to their nose. They just might surprise you.

10. Perfect food day

Ask your kid to tell you what they would eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks if they had full control. Most kids have strong feelings about this and will get quite creative!

This article was originally published on May 01, 2020

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