Entertaining Kids in a Pinch

Think fast. Whether you’re on a long road-trip, running errands, or get stuck waiting in a long line, a few good ideas on entertaining our kids always comes in handy.

At the pediatrician’s office recently after a long appointment, we had to wait a few more minutes for the nurse to come in with the much-dreaded shot. My kids were starting to melt. They were tired AND getting hungry – the dreaded double-whammy! The window was slamming shut and I was trying with all of my might to keep it open. No food was allowed in the exam room. What now? Suddenly, I knew we needed to play a game! I revamped Simon Says into a Do What Mommy Does game and it went over beautifully. We were doing ballet, hopping on one foot, acting like elephants and then waddling and quacking like ducks actually when the nurse came in. She gave me an odd look, but she should be grateful — at least no one was screaming, until the shot that is.

Here are a few other easy game ideas: –

  • I Spy with My Little Eye . . . . something that is the color yellow, something in a tree, something that Mommy has always wanted, etc. You can adjust it to the child’s age level and do it anywhere. Then let them lead!
  • Slug Bug. Just kidding. I don’t really permit my kids to slug each other. I just remember doing this as a kid.
  • Which do you like better? I have no idea what to call it. I just say two things and they pick which one is their favorite or that they like better than the other (examples: lettuce or spinach?, blue or green?, baseball or basketball?, hula dancing or ballet dancing?). Trust me – this can entertain little ones and even teenagers for long periods of time. Everyone likes to be asked their opinion, don’t they?
  • Make up a story together. This has to be one of my favorite things to do with my kids. I get insight into the mind of my little ones and get to be creative with them at the same time. It’s one activity I think we equally enjoy. Tonight I tried it at bedtime with my 2 year old boy. I thought he might not be ready for it, but he surprised me. I just start it out with something like, “Once there was a little boy named _____ and he liked to ______. One day he woke up and wanted to _____ and then go to _________.” The story went on until “it was time for the Mommy to tuck the little boy in. The Mommy gave him lots of _____  and _______ .” He said “hugs” and  “kisses” with a huge smile, melting my heart.

Using your imagination to make up stories, poems, rhymes, or songs is so great for our kids and will help them excel in school as well! If you’re not afraid that you or your kids will be nerdy, you can try these:

  • a spelling bee
  • share the biggest words you know
  • make up new words
  • create math problems for each other
  • learn words in a different language
  • trivia

These are for the really secure people, of course.

Important reminder for all of us: don’t share with our child’s friends that our family plays brainy games when they’re over the age of 10. At that age, even if they act like it’s nerdy, they might still enjoy it occasionally. Just don’t push them to confess that in public.

Here are some of my husband’s much-easier, tech-saavy approaches: games on the iPhone, game or movies on the iPad, and movies in the car on the laptop or DVD player. Remember the headphones or multiple ones.

Soon my daughter will be taking an iMovie class. Next she’ll be taking videos on the iPhone 4, editing them in the backseat on a laptop, and posting them on her Facebook page before we even return from a trip. I’m just trying to prepare for the next stage in our future.

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