A List Maker's Life: Picnic Table Talk: Keep 'em Busy

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Picnic Table Talk: Keep 'em Busy

This week's picnic table talk discussion over at ABC & 123 is all about on the go activities.

If we really want to make the most of every moment it doesn't hurt to have some tricks up our sleeves for those moments we are stuck waiting. Waiting in traffic, waiting in the doctor's office, waiting in line at the grocery store, etc.

I was really excited when I recently ran across some fun lists of "Keep 'em Busy" ideas in Parenting magazine. They were even on nifty little pull out papers to be added to our "on the go" bag.

30 Second Distractions
Freeze Frog: You are the frog. When ever you stick out your tongue, your child has to freeze. The spell wears off when you say "ribbit."

Thumb Vote: Name different foods, shows, games, toys, and more. Have your child vote with a thumbs up or thumbs down.

Body Map: Using your fingers, or a toy car, give a narrated tour of your child's body. "We are zooming past Elbow Ridge. Making a U-turn at Belly Button Bridge." Might get a little noisy with all the tickles and giggles involved.

2 Minute Hold
Feelings Charades: Act out an emotion and have your child try to guess which one. After each pantomime ask your child questions about what makes them happy, sad, angry, etc.

Food Mystery: Play "What will we eat today?" by giving your children one clue at a time. Once they've guessed the correct food, give them a chance to have you guess.

Robot Dance: Pick a "button" on your child's back. When you press their button he/she will turn into a dancing robot. Add a button for sound. Don't forget to add an off button.

5 Minute Fun
Just Like the Other: Find 2 objects in the room. Ask your child to name the things the 2 objects have in common. (Ex. They are both spheres) Once they've mastered the comparison of 2 objects at a third and fourth object.

One, Two Wiggles: Have your child follow your wiggling instructions. Ex. Wiggle six times. Hop three times. Or assign a number and a body part. Have your child decide which action to perform. Ex. Hands, five. Your child may wave, clap, snap, or tap five times.

Animal Rescue: Hide a stuffed toy very near by. Ask your child to rescue the toy without waking "the sleeping giant" (you) or he/she will get a tickle.

10 Minute Games
Sit on it: For a one person game of musical chairs, have your child circle a chair until you call out a body part. "Foot!" As fast as he or she can have your child touch that body part and take a seat.

Something's Missing: Dump a few of the objects out of your purse. Have your child study them for a minute or two. Then, when your child's eyes are closed remove an object. See if he/she can figure out what is missing.

Hot Potato: Pass whatever you have - sock, shoe, watch - between you while singing a simple nursery rhyme song. If you're not the one holding the potato when the song ends, you pick the new song for the next round.

I thought this list had a few fun, new ideas. Hope you find one that proves to be the perfect distraction.
By the way, if you are searching for a great, educational distraction you can use when you need to get something done at home check out my Jump Start giveaway!!
post signature


  1. That's a great list of little games. Thanks! I especially like the freeze frog one. I just think it would very tempting to make that one last a bit longer than the 30 seconds. :)


  2. I also saw this in parenting magazine and loved the ideas. thanks for reminding me to pull mine out a and actually use it.

  3. These are some great game ideas! We are vacationing in the near future--definitely have to try some of them!

  4. These are great new ideas. It keeps us involved with the kids as well so they aren't having to do stuff on their own all of the time. I will be using these on our trip in a few weeks.

  5. I love the ideas, because they are so interactive and also have a lot of "teaching moments". I will definitely try some of them out.

  6. Great ideas! I love the Something's Missing game.

  7. I love your practical game ideas. Thanks for sharing. :-)

  8. Thank you for the fun game ideas. I hadn't seen that list before.

  9. We played thumb vote today in the car, after reading it on your blog! It lasted way more than 30 seconds, I love it!

  10. I am so doing the "Freeze Frog"!!

    My kids will be laughing for hours! I am always looking for those short little games you can play in the car on my errands. Thanks for sharing!!


Thanks for taking a moment to comment. I love to hear from you!