Waiting in line with preschoolers is never easy. Things can get ugly fast if you don’t have fun things to do. No one likes to wait in line. According to a the Telegraph, Britons on average spend 6 months of their lives queuing up, or about 5 1/2 hours a month. Check out my list of 10 fun things you can do while waiting in line with preschoolers. They are quick, easy, and can be done for free. It takes great patience for busy adults to stand idly for any length of time. But when you find yourself waiting in line with preschoolers patience is nearly impossible to muster.
Long airport lines and especially international flights originating in the U.S. have got to be the two most irritating places for waiting in line with preschoolers.
You feel trapped when you are in the company of bored and irritable preschoolers.
Nothing will cause angst more than idol minds, fidgety fingers, and restless legs forced to stay put and keep quiet for a half-hour or more.
That’s when a little creativity can make all the difference. Sometimes it’s hard to be creative when you’re not in the mindset.
So here are a bunch of suggestions to help get you through a long, boring situation.
Hopefully the time will go by a little faster and you wind up having some genuine fun.
Waiting in Line with Preschoolers: The List
1. Floor tile Fun:
If you are waiting in line with preschoolers near multi-colored floor tiles like the terrazzo designed tiles at the Harrisburg International Airport in Pennsylvania, this fun game is perfect. While waiting in line with your preschoolers, ask your little ones to hop on each color, shape, letter, or image as you call it out. The Harrisburg terrazzo offers lions, flags, letters of the alphabet, circles, stars, and even faces. If you are a preschool teacher tape letters of the alphabet or images representing sounds on pieces of paper all around your room. Offer praise for the fastest hop, most accurate landing, best listener, etc….
2. Peruse the Shoes:
This is a perfect choice while waiting in line with preschoolers if you don’t have anything on you to entertain with. Ask your preschoolers to count and sort all the shoes they see while waiting in line. You’d be surprised at how much fun this activity can be, and how willing other line-waiters often are to join in the fun. How many people have on black shoes, open-toed shoes, gym shoes? Who’s wearing shoes without socks? A preschool teacher can help kids create a colorful graph about their classroom shoes. How many kids have laces? How many kids have velcro ties? The options are endless.
3. ABCs Hiding from Me:
This is another prop free game to play while waiting in line with preschoolers. Do it if your preschool child can recognize at least some of his or her letters. Most long lines are fully equipped with plenty of signs around for your viewing pleasure. Say you see an “A” and then let the child locate the “A” by going under it and pointing at it. When the child becomes more proficient, just up the anti by only giving the letter’s sound, then asking them to name it and find it. Long waits, such as in an airport terminal may allow you to go through the alphabet from A to Z. Anything is game if you are really stuck for time, even reading material being used by those in your immediate proximity, as long as you ask politely and your neighbor waiting in line with you is receptive.
4. Eye-Spy With My Eye:
This fun favorite waiting in line with preschoolers game has simple rules. You see something and give out clues until your preschooler correctly guesses what you are looking at. I make the game more elaborate as the child ages. The simplest way to play is to name a color you see and ask your preschooler to find an object of the same color. Objects named that are the correct color are always correct when we play with our preschoolers, even if it’s not the intended object. When children answer correctly, then it’s their turn to choose a color and make the parent guess.
5. Simon Says:
Simon Says is a fun game while waiting in line with preschoolers. And you don’t need toys or props. We play a modified version of this while waiting in line with our kids. This is necessary if you are including toddlers two and under. Basically, Simon always says and no one is ever out. We play continually until Mommy or Daddy repeats a command (accidentally on purpose, of course). The kids will shout that they did it already, thus Mommy and Daddy lose and the kids win. Game over. Some good commands for standing still are: clap your hands, touch your nose, count to 10, stick out your tongue, stand on your tippy toes, etc… The littlest toddlers will always try to imitate the older ones and can be quite amusing to watch.
6. Walk the Line:
Need to keep the noise down? Try this fun game out. Walk the line is a quiet game to play while waiting in line with preschoolers. This isn’t a Johnnie Cash solo, but if you are lucky enough to have it downloaded into your iPod or Nano then you can relax to it while the kids are busy trying to stay on task. You need a floor with either grout lines or stripes in the carpeting or linoleum. The preschoolers have to keep both feet either on or off the lines (depending on pattern and child’s skill level). Give the kids at least three chances to misstep before eliminating contestants. This game works great for the preschool teacher who makes daily trips to the bathroom with his or her entire preschool class. Winner chooses the next game to play, or if you are a preschool teacher, gets to be line leader the next time.
7. What am I?:
This fun waiting in line with preschoolers game is similar to charades, but we keep the guessing to a minimum by only acting out animal sounds and actions. Everyone gets equal turns and everyone is a winner when they guess the right animal!
8. Counting Coins:
Are you waiting in line with your preschoolers for a long time? If you are desperate and have some spare change in a change purse there are countless things you can do with it. Your preschooler can sort them by size, count how many there are, arrange them in a line, stack them to make towers, and learn to name them with your help. This activity is a good one if you can’t be distracted for a time while waiting in line with preschoolers. It will really occupy them. I always reward my kids by letting them keep the coin if they can tell me what it is and after they’ve mastered that, how much it is worth. Then there is the issue of spending it….
9. Cup Toss:
If you are in your thirties and grew up near Chicago, this great preschooler game is akin to Bozo’s Grand Prize Game:
Cup Toss is a good game for waiting in line with preschoolers if you can get a hold of a couple of clean coffee cups and a couple of pieces of paper. Just take the cups and place them in a line. Crinkle the paper into tight balls and tell your youngsters to stand in a designated spot. The kids will take turns trying to throw the paper wads into the cups. (The younger the child, the closer the cup, of course.) If you can’t find cups or your child is unable to get the paper in the cup just get a sheet of paper big enough and have them try to throw the wad onto the paper.
10. Rhyme Time:
If you have exhausted this list and still have time to kill while you wait for a connecting flight, delayed bus or train, or are at the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) trying to renew your license, this fun waiting in line with preschoolers game may just save your sanity and keep your preschooler from forgetting his good manners. Just start with a letter of the alphabet, for example, “A”. Then ask your child for a word that begins with “A”; (let’s assume he or she says “Apple”). Now everyone has to rhyme with apple, all the way up to the letter “Z”. Bapple, Capple, Dapple, Eapple, Fapple, Gapple, Happle, … Zapple. This one will cause a lot of giggles and perhaps a few questions about what these other words mean. For really silly Seuss loving kids this is a great game for making up definitions to silly words and trying them out.
Well, there you have it, a handy list of fun games to play while waiting in line with preschoolers!
Need some additional resources? Have only one child to entertain? Try our list of Top 10 Educational and Fun Websites for You and Your Preschooler or our list of Top Ten Point and Click Online Games for Toddlers.