Sometimes in life we have to wait.
And when you have little people with you a long line at the post office or a doctor that is running behind schedule might seem like doomed situation, but having a few waiting games in your toolbox can turn an uncomfortable wait into unexpected fun.
Waiting games you can really do anywhere:
Finger plays can keep little hands busy and out of trouble while you wait and most people would rather listen to quiet rhymes then an unhappy child. They’re great because they range from simple to complicated so there is a wide range to choose from.
If you are looking for some new finger-plays I highly recommend the book The Eentsy, Weentsy Spider: Fingerplays and Action Rhymes by Joanna Cole (affiliate link).
Can You Do What I Do?
This is an easy game to play with any child old enough to copy you. I usually start this game by asking “Can you do what I do?” in a sing-song chant as I do a motion that I know will be challenging but not too hard for my child. It could be standing on one leg or a pattern of tapping my head, my shoulders, and then snapping my fingers. When using a pattern I increase the number of steps until they can’t keep up and then start over.
Now that my bigger kids know this game we often play in total silence which adds an air of secrecy that they enjoy!
Tip: extend this game by letting your child lead when you sense that they are starting to lose interest.)
I Spy is a great way to fill time while waiting in line and is easily simplified for younger children by choosing a color or a shape rather than a specific item.
The ABC Game
The ABC game is super simple and also easily adjustable, just look for letters in your environment. If your child is just beginning to identify a few letters ask for them to find a letter you know they will recognize, for older children take turns finding letters alphabetically.
To work on phonics for older kids, look for beginning letter sounds!
The ABC Game is also a favorite for traveling!
Hand Clapping Games
Hand clapping games are an old fashioned pastime that still engages kids today; knowing a handful of these games can keep you and your kids entertained almost anywhere. They can be as easy as Pat-a-cake or more complicated such as Miss Mary Mack.
If you are not familiar with these games you can learn about them here.
The Key to Waiting Games
The key to being successful with any of these waiting games is finding the edge of your child’s comfort zone with regard to the activity. Striking a balance between challenging and doable will help keep your child engaged.
Waiting may be a fact of life but who says it has to be boring!