I don’t like waiting in line. But, it seems it’s a necessary part of going out and about.
Grocery shopping? Yup, I usually pick the slowest moving line.
Going to the bank? There’s a line there too.
Seriously. Waiting is a huge part of life. And when you’re waiting with kids, it can be a challenge. They get bored. You get bored. Tempers can flair.
But, if you engage your kids instead of just standing there, you’ll all be happier. The time will go faster. And before you know it, you’ll be at the front of the line.
6 Games While Waiting
An easy way to engage your kids is to start playing a simple game. It doesn’t take much to draw their attention and help keep their minds off of the fact that they’re waiting and bored. Here are six to try.
1. Find Letters
We have the best luck with this one in a grocery store. There are letters everywhere in the checkout lanes.
So start at A and challenge your kids to find all the letters to Z. They can look on magazines, on the goods in your cart, and at all the signs around them.
You can usually find the Z on the ounce label on some product in your cart. The q can be hard, so look for a National Enquirer magazine.
And if you don’t find all of them in line, you can continue the game into the parking lot. License plates usually hold those obscure letters like J,V,Q,X and Z.
2. Rainbow Search
Can each of your kids find something for every color of the rainbow? If you’re working on colors, this is a fun way to practice!
You might even make it through the rainbow a couple of times while waiting. Or you can throw in colors like:
3. The Rhyming Game
Pick a word and have each of your kids think of a rhyming word. This game is great for early readers, and to give extra practice to those struggling with this skill.
You can take turns picking words if you want. That way you get to show off your awesome rhyming skills too! 😀
Here are some words with lots of rhyming potential to get you started:
4. Themed Alphabet
Can you name a type of food for every letter of the alphabet? What about an animal?
You can pick a theme and then take turns naming items in that theme. The first person names an A word, the second a B word, and so on. Try to get to Z!
5. What’s the Story?
Pick an item in your cart, and ask your child to create a story about that object. Where did it come from? How did it get to the store?
Encourage imagination! Perhaps your apple was growing on a tree in Washington State. Then, a little boy went to the orchard to pick fruit.
He found this perfect apple, and he knew it was destined for sale. So he picked it and sold it to the apple cart man.
The apple cart man then traded the apple to a salesman for a banana. The salesman brought it to the store for the produce manager to sample.
And it ended up on the shelf. Since it was such a beautiful looking apple, you picked it and now you’ll bring it home to eat.
You can create imaginary stories for everything in your cart if you put your mind to it.
Estimating is a fun math skill to practice in line!
If your children are a bit older, encourage them to estimate how much the contents of your cart will cost. You can help them with prices if they need it.
See who can get the closest.
You can also estimate how long you’ll wait in line. Let everyone know what time it is, and have them check out how many people are in front of you.
Then, let everyone pick a number of minutes that it’ll take.
Did anyone guess correctly? Remember to check when you get to the front of the line!
You can estimate many things. How many balloons do your kids think are in the balloon bouquet the person in front of you is buying? Guess, then count to see.
Here are other objects to estimate:
- How many items are in your cart (you can check on the receipt when you’re finished paying)
- What number of magazine titles are on the rack?
- How many types of gum are being sold?
Estimating is fun, and will help encourage mental math.
How do you keep your kids engaged while waiting?
Don’t let this time be boring. Engaging your kids will help them advance their academic skills, and help the two of you build fun memories of your time together.
Are there any fun games you play? I’d love for you to share in the comments!