Gretchen Rubin

This Wednesday: Tips for passing time with kids.

This Wednesday: Tips for passing time with kids.

You’re with your kids, and you’re stuck in a long line at the drug store. Or waiting for a plane to take off. Or trapped in a car for two more hours. What to do?

Here are some ways to pass the time. Maybe they don’t all sound incredibly compelling to an adult, but I’ve successfully relied on them all many times:

  • This or That: would you rather eat a hotdog or a hamburger? would you rather be able to fly or breathe underwater?
  • Imaginary Bedroom: ask your child to imagine the perfect bedroom, complete with magical features.
  • Who Am I?: one person describes himself or herself as a familiar character—Wilbur, Hermione, Shrek—and the other person guesses the identity.
  • Name That Store (my invention): I feel like I’m indoctrinating the Big Girl in capitalist culture, but hey, it works. I ask her to come up with names for a pet store, a toy store. Strangely fascinating.
  • Twenty Questions: never fails to amuse.
  • Name Game: one person picks a person’s name, the next person has to think of a name that begins with the last letter of that name. Henry, Yolanda, Amanda…
  • Rock, Paper, Scissors: try the two-handed version for more challenge.
  • Hangman (if you have paper and pen): it’s more fun for kids if you pick a sentence instead of a word, because they get more hits that way.
  • Tic Tac Toe (if you have paper and pen): little kids love it, but it can be painful for adults, just too easy.
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