(Non-Screen) Boredom Busters For Kids

shutterstock_99147956What to do when you've put away your phone, and you HAVE to do SOMETHING...

There's nothing worse than getting caught waiting in a long line (with your kids) without something to keep yourself (and them) from going crazy! Don’t feel you have to resort to brain dulling screen time. You need some brain tickling waiting games! Keep the whole family laughing and having fun and keep these play- anywhere games in your virtual back pocket. 


1 Guess what’s in my purse!

Each kid lists as many items as they can think of that might be inside your purse. The one who comes the closest wins!

2 In my purse is a story.

Choose three items from your purse and challenge kids to invent a story around those three items.

3 What’s missing?

Place 10 items from your purse on the table in front of you. Have kids try to memorize items for 10 seconds. While their eyes are closed remove 1-3 items. After opening their eyes, kids try to remember what is missing.

4 Two truths and a lie.

Everyone takes turn making three statements. Two are true and one is not. Family members try to guess which is the lie.

5 Mirror mirror.

Kid and parent face each other. The child starts moving very slowly and the parent tries to mirror the movements as closely as possible. Or, two children can mirror each other and the parent tries to guess who is leading the movement.

6 How many can you name?

My older son loves this and actually requests it on our walks home from school! Name a category and your child has 10 seconds to name as many things in that category as possible. Make categories general (“animals”) for young kids, and specific (“animals with no teeth”) for older kids.

7 Magazine hunt.

When in a waiting room with magazines, turn the magazine into a scavenger hunt. Instruct kids to find certain items. “Find something purple that starts with a C,” or “find a blue animal.”

8 Penny drop.

Take our a penny and try and drop it so it lands on your shoe without falling off.

9 Scrap of paper drop.

This is one of my favorite waiting games for kids. Seriously! Drop a small scrap of paper. Kids try to catch it with two fingers before it hits the ground.

10 Listen closely.

Determine a word or phrase to listen for. Everyone stays quiet until they hear someone else in the waiting area say that word or phrase.

11 Make me laugh.

Without touching the other person, make them laugh.

12 Silly sentences.

One person chooses 5 random letters. Kids come up with sentences in which each word starts with the designated letter. For example, HRTB. Harry read three books.

13 Invent haiku.

My son and I used to “write” haiku on our walk to school. Learning about haiku was part of our poetry challenge, which you can read about here: haiku and hyperbole.

14 Invent limericks.

Now that we are talking about poetry, why not try your hand at limericks, too. They lend themselves to lots of giggles. Learn about limericks and get some ideas about how to start.

15 Would you rather?

Ask each other questions which begin “would you rather”? The Measured Mom has 100 questions you can print out if you prefer to keep a supply in your bag.

16 Thumb war.

Despite the fact that I always win, my 7 year old never gets bored of challenging me to a thumb war.

17 Word chain.

Choose a topic, such as food. The first person says a word, the second person says that word plus his own, the third person says the first two words plus her own, and so forth, continue until someone can no longer remember the word chain.

18 Sound chain.

One person starts a pattern using snaps or claps. The others must repeat the pattern. The first person then adds on to the pattern and the others must repeat this longer pattern. Play continues until no one can remember the pattern.

19 Sound ball.

One person mimes throwing a ball at another person while making a silly sound. The other person “catches” the ball while making the same sound. He then “throws” the ball back with a new sound. The catchers then “catches” the ball making this new sound, and then “throws” it using a different sound.

20 20 questions.

It’s a classic, don’t forget about it!


5 fun thinking games Tongue twisters: instant boredom buster for kids Dots and boxes: pen and paper game for bored kids Land, sea and air: instant indoor active game Brain teasers for family gatherings

For more Boredom Busters please visit whatdowedoallday.com