Whether you’re on a road trip, at a restaurant or in line for the merry-go-round, waiting can bring out the cranky in any kid (not to mention their parents). Here are 17 ways to make the waiting game a lot more fun for everyone.

Categories

How many things can your kids think of that are red? How many kinds of food can they think of? How many red foods?

Quiz Me

Even kids who complain about school love getting quizzed. Depending on your kids’ ages, you can ask them to name colors, letters or numbers you see on signs or labels, or spell short words and do simple math.

Q’s Race to the Top On the Go! Pack

This portable game features fun action and question cards to keep your kids busy and entertained.

Memory

While your kids’ eyes are closed, gather several items from your pockets, purse or surroundings (a coin, mint, sugar packet, lip balm, keys, etc.) on the table or even in your hands. Then take the items away and see how many your kids can remember.

Sentences

Give your kids four letters; they have to come up with a sentence with words that start with each one (TLFC=”Turtles love furry cupcakes!”).

20 Questions

Can your kids guess what you’re thinking of? Have them ask you yes or no questions to get closer to the answer, or give them hints to help them along the way.

Copycat

Copy each other’s movements, faces and/or sounds (think dance moves, humming, funny faces, clapping). Keep adding on one more thing until one of you can’t remember what to do next.

ABC Game

Find the letters of the alphabet on signs, labels, anything.

I Spy

If your kid’s too young to spell, try I Spy with colors (“I spy with my little eye…something…green!”)

Two Truths and a Lie

Tell your kid two things they don’t already know about you and one thing you make up and ask them to guess which one’s the lie.

Clapping Games

Try pattycake, Miss Mary Mack…or practice doing the Eye Contact Hand Jive from our founder Sofia!

Questions

In this game, the only rule is for players to keep asking each other questions for as long as possible without ever answering. (“Do you want to play Questions?” “Why are you asking me that?”) You can keep a dialogue via questions going with older kids; with younger kids, any question will do.

Would You Rather…?

Try our list of questions (just click on our free printable below, then print) or have your kids make up their own silly versions on the spot.

Would You Rather printable game

Wave Backs

On a road trip – or just a run to the grocery store – challenge your kids to wave hello to people in other cars and see how many waves back they can get.

Party

In this twist on Picnic, instead of bringing foods to a picnic, you invite people everyone knows to a party: “I’m having a party, and I’m inviting Ava, Bodhi, and Caleb!”

Do Time on the Q Wunder app

Stuck in line? Pull out the Q Wunder app for a virtual stack of Do Cards that give kids physical challenges (“Hop on one leg 20 times. Now try the other leg 20 times.”) Bonus: Building physical flexibility also encourages emotional flexibility.

Slow Down

In the car at night or naptime, ask your kid to close their eyes, breathe in and think about people they know, where they’d like to go, friends and games they play, and what they did today. A little quiet reflection is sometimes all they need to drift off (though humming “Twinkle Twinkle” doesn’t hurt either).

Next: Watch kids test their patience with the marshmallow challenge – then let your kids try it themselves at home!