I can’t be the only one who has been caught out there with the kids and nothing to do. You know those days you’re rushing from work to pick the kids up from school to drive them to the doctor’s office which is 20 minutes away to get to the doctor’s office and they’re running late and you have to sit in the waiting room but you forgot to bring toys. Or you plan a picnic in the park, rush around to get food together while picturing the children frolicking around, but you get there and it’s hot, they ate that great food, they don’t want to frolic around a field and you didn’t pack anything to play with.
The kids are about to say that horrible, terrible, jaw cleanching, ear piercing 5-letter “B” word. “Mooooooom, I’m B-O-R-E-D.” Yeah, I’ve gotten caught out there a couple times so I at least stay equipped with a few games that can be played with pretty much just your voice. I compiled a list for you to refer to in case you ever find yourself in the same situation. Some of these games are more appropriate for certain situations than others (i.e. in the car, outside, or where you can be silly) but I’m sure you’ll find something fun!
1. In Grandma’s Attic/I’m Going on a Picnic
This is an alphabetical order game. The first player says “in Grandma’s Attic, I found …something that starts with an A (i.e. an apple.)” Or “I’m going on a picnic and I’m bringing…” The second player says “in Grandma’s Attic, I found …something that starts with a B and then repeats what the player before them said (i.e. a baboon and an apple)”. The third player follows suit, saying “In Grandma’s Attic, I found…something that starts with a C and then repeats the previous items (i.e. a cat, a baboon, and an apple). The game continues as long as you can go. I often call out the letters during others’ turns to help keen track. It’s definitely easy to lose track of where you are supposed to be when doign the alphabet backwards.
2. Truths and a Lie
Participants take turns making up three sentences to say – 2 are true and 1 is a lie.
Everyone else has to guess which statements are true and which are false.
3. License Plate States
This is a game to play in the car, notice the cars around you. Pay attention to their license plates. How many different states or provinces can you find? Sometimes we just try to make words out of the letters to turn them into abbreviations. HKY? Hockey. GBP? Great Britain Parliament. Or something like that.
4. Truck Counting or Car Color Race
Another good car game. Truck counting is good for much younger kids, just count the trucks you see. When my kids got older, I attempted it into the Car Color Race. Each child (or you and your child) picks a different car color. Count that color and see which color car is most present.
5. Name that Tune
Take turns humming a song while everyone else guesses what song you are humming.
6. Beginning and End
In this game you pick a category, it’s easier if you keep it broad, maybe say “Nouns” to work on English concepts, or say Animals. (Or with little ones learning letter concepts don’t use any category.) Next, the first player says a word, the next player says a word that begins with the last letter of the first word, the next word will begin with the last letter of the previous word, and so on. For example, Animals: Dog, Goat, Tiger, Rabbit, and so on….)
7. Who’s in the Barn?
Similar to Name that Tune, take turns making animal noises while everyone else guesses the animal.
8. Take Turns Making Up a Story
This game originated at bedtime. My son insists that I create a story to put him to sleep every.single.night. Some nights my stories are amaze-balls if I do say so myself and sometimes I struggle with what comes after “once upon a time there was a…” Well my son had so much fun helping out on these nights that even when I was in a story telling mood he would just start changing plots and characters to suit the story he felt like hearing, not the one I was telling. So when we have nothing to do and nothing to play with I’ll start “Once upon a time there was a…help me out here!” and he’ll tell the next part of the story. Then we just keep taking turns until our food has come or we get where we’re going.
9. I Spy
The classic. I Spy is fun for all ages. It can be extremely difficult to do in the car (“Oh you just passed it.” or “Oh I guess you can’t see that light on the dashboard”), but we play it every time we walk into the doctor’s office. There’s a big painting on the wall with a lake scene – lots of boats, bridges, houses, etc. And we always seem to be able to find some obscure little spot of color that we hadn’t seen before. It’s fun in lots of places though. If you aren’t familiar, it goes a little something like this: “I spy with my little eye something that is…[blue, sparkly, cylindrical, starts with the letter B].” We usually do colors. It’s universally understood, but there are lots of options.
10. Simon Says
Another classic. One person is the designated Simon and gets to tell people what to do by saying “Simon says touch your nose,” but if Simon doesn’t say “Simon says” and people do what he says anyways, they are out. Or not depending on how you feel like playing and what age group you are playing with.
11. Categories/Pat Pat Clap Clap
In this game, players pat their laps twice and then clap twice (hence Pat Pat Clap Clap) while the leader of the round chants “Categories/54/No Repeats/Or hesitations/Category is/________ (Name your Category ex. Vegetables, Mammals, “C” Words,etc)” to the beat speaking on the pats. Then play goes around the circle, each player taking turns naming things (on the pat pat) that are part of that category. If it’s Mammals they may say dog, cat, porcupine, lion, whatever. If you don’t say your words on the pat pat, if you can’t think of anything or just can’t get it out, you are out and the game continues until there is a winner. Of course, as with all the other games, this can easily be changed so people can have as many turns as they want, or if they miss their beat, they can just try it on the next beat.
I first saw this game in a drama class I took as a young child and then later enjoyed watching the cast of Whose Line Is It Anyway turn a ridiculous props into everything from a shoe to a rocket ship.
So you can’t play What Could It Be with just your voice, but pretty close to it. What you need is anything. Anything. Just grab something and take turns pretending it is something it is not.
This is, of course, if you are outside and need something to do. The kids and I love playing out back until we are tired and then we just lay down and look up. What do they look like? That one looks like a dinosaur and maybe that looks like a fox driving a race car on top of a wedding cake with three layers. Who knows? Just relax and enjoy the quiet time with your children and exercise your creativity.
What games can you add to the list? Comment below!
(Also if you know what the 54 is in Categories please let me know!!!)