It’s not easy to keep kids entertained, especially when you are out and about and an unexpected wait occurs.
It might be tempting to give them your phone to play with but in my opinion if you’ve got more than one kid and only one phone then the arguments aren’t really worth it.
So, for when you’re waiting in a restaurant for your food and the kids are hungry or their excitement is draining as you queue for the rides at the theme park, even in the car when you’re stuck in a traffic jam I give you my top 5 games that can be played anywhere at anytime... (some of them do require not caring if people start watching you but read on there’s plenty for the less extrovert amongst you too).
5. Mime that song
In at number 5 is mime that song. You take it in turns to mime the words to a song for the others to guess... this is different to charades where you give visual clues as to the title of the song, it’s more like singing the song silently by acting out each word... A relatively easy one to start you off would be... “12345 once I caught a fish alive”
This game is better than charades for kids because if they can’t think of an action for one of the words they just skip it out and move onto the next word.
4. Blink murder (5+ players)
I have to include this one after my niece’s award winning death scene in a bistro one day! Now, I’m not going to pretend that this is a game young children are good at... they find it very difficult to not give the game away. But they really love playing because they get to act out spectacular deaths. I’m sure you know the rules; you do need a group for this one.
The detective closes their eyes whilst the others silently choose a murderer. Then with eyes open again the detective must figure out who the murderer is. If the murderer makes eye contact with anyone else and blinks then they must fake their death. The murderer has to try and kill everyone before the detective figures it out.
There are two variants of this game. In the other version one person has to sit out each round, which is great if you have more children and don’t actually want to play yourself!
I discovered quite early on that my nieces like lists. ‘Like’ is probably an understatement.
“We need to go shopping” is responded to by a short argument about who is making the shopping list, resulting in multiple lists being produced. For the record, reluctant shoppers seems to be a lot less whiny if you give them the power of the list!
There are two games that you can play with lists. The one that your kids will inevitably have already played is the memory game. “I went shopping and I bought...” It’s good to mix this one up... “I went to the zoo and saw...” “I stayed home all day and...” Each player repeat the statement followed by an ever growing list that they add an item to the end of until somebody forgets.
My second list game is Categories... which is good if you’re not so hot on memory yourself or you have kids with shorter attention spans. You come up with a category and then have to name as many things in that category as you can. Take it in turns until someone can’t think of anything. That person will lose the game but will also be able to choose the next category. If someone repeats something that is already said then they automatically lose which means they have to listen to each other. Pick easy ones to start with like “colours” or “shapes” to get to know the game then let your imaginations run wild; “things you can do whilst standing on one leg...” (You can always ask them to prove their answer).
2. Would you rather...
This is the child friendly version of snog, marry, avoid. Take it in turns to come up with two options, the wackier the better. Get them to explain their answers for an hilarious insight into how their brains work!
Would you rather eat a spider? Or Spend a week carrying a badger around on your back?
Would you rather be Batman’s butler? Or Ironman’s suit polisher?
Or get precise:
Would you rather go to the moon on a Friday? Or a Monday?
This is the winner. It’s basically rock-paper-scissors but for some reason the kids think it’s hilarious...
Wizard casts spell on Elf
Elf outsmarts Troll
Troll eats Wizard
For Wizard, wave an imaginary wand. For Elf, put your fingers up on the sides of your head like you are making your ears longer. For a Troll, throw your arms above your head and “grar”
I’ve played this game for 40 minutes in a roller-coaster queue and ended up with extra children from other families joining in.
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