1. Guess Who

guess who

Select a child to be the leader. Have all other children line up and turn to face the leader. The leader will look at every child and secretly select another child. Once the leader has chosen another child, the kids in the line will ask yes or no questions.

​For example, “Is the person wearing blue?” or “Does the person wear glasses?” The leader will them answer the questions, being careful not to look directly at the person they have chosen. If a child in line guesses who the leader has selected they win and are now the new leader. If a child in line tries to guess who the leader selected and is incorrectly they are out and can no longer ask questions.

Depending on how well the kids know each other this game can dive deeper by asking more personal questions, such as “Does this person have a dog?” or “Does this person have a brother?”

2. Telephone

This classic waiting game never goes out of style. This game is perfect since the children are already standing in a line. Select one child to be the “teller”. The teller comes up with a short sentence or phrase and whispers it to the first person in line, the first person then turns to the second and repeats what they heard. This continues to the last person in line. Once the last person hears the phrase they repeat it to the group.

Make sure there are no repeats, children can only say/hear the phrase one time, and then repeat what they think they heard. This hilarious game will keep kids engaged while waiting.
Some nonsense telephone phrases to try with kids:

  • Willy Wonka Winks at Wildebeests
  • Sally Sang a Silly Song Silently
  • King Kong Can Climb Chimneysvrm
  • Buy Bill Nye a Science Guide
  • Pirates practice penny pinching

3. Who Said That?

Who Said That? is a game for everyone with 400 quotes taken from famous people, commercials, movies, cartoon characters and more! On your team’s turn, you get two quotes, one at a time. When you guess Who Said It? correctly — and in time! — you move ahead two spaces on the game board. Stuck? That’s okay! Ask your opponents to read the hint that comes with the quote and if you’re able to give the right answer now, you still get to move ahead on the board one space. Some quotes will be ones that come in a snap! Others are right at the tip of your tongue and just need that hint to help you through. Some will be tougher, but a good guess might be all you need to get your mover towards the finish. The first team (or player) to do that, wins!

4. Not Simon Says

Everyone is familiar with Simon Says, but this waiting game is Not Simon Says. The structure of this waiting game is similar. Select one kid to be Simon. This person will come to the front of the line. When the game starts Simon will say a command and physically do something else. For example: Simon says, “Touch your nose”, but Simon touches his elbow. Everyone else will do what Simon Says and not what he does. If a child does what Simon does, and not what he says they are out. This game continues until one player remains.

5. Quick Draw

​This waiting game is always a hit with kids. Select a captain who comes to the front of the group and stand with their back to the line. The captain says out loud to the group “1. 2. 3. Quick draw!”. On quick draw, the captain turns around and does one of three actions. The actions are: Salute (hand to the forehead), the X (cross your arms in an X across your chest) or the L (make a fist with your right hand and rest it on your left elbow, hold your left hand in the air, in an L shape).

While the quick draw captain is counting down, all other participants will also decide on one of the three actions. When the captain turns around, they will perform their action, if it is the same as the captain, they are out and must sit down until the next round. The game continues until one child remains. That child is the new captain.

Optional: When there is one child left, have the current captain, and the one child stand back to back that three steps saying, “1.2.3. Quick draw” Both kids turn around, if their actions match the last child wins. If they do not the captain remains captain and the game starts over.

6. What is Different?

Select three children to come to the front of the group. Have everyone else really look at the three people. Then ask those in line to turn around. When you are sure the kids are not looking, ask the three children to change something about their appearance. For example, change a hairdo, untie a shoe, or unzip a jacket. When the three children are ready, have everyone else turn back around. Give the kids a few seconds to look. When the kids in line think they know what is different have them raise their hand and call on children who are waiting patiently. When the people in line have figured out what is different on each child select three new kids.

7. ​Let Count

This waiting game is fun and frustrating…until the kids figure it out. Tell the kids you are all going to count to 50. So you will start with 1, then someone will say 2, and then 3 and so on. The rules are that you can say as many numbers as you want, but you may not say two consecutive numbers and if two people say one number you need to start over. That’s it. Very simple. Eventually they will figure out they can just count down the line systematically, but it definitely takes time to figure out the trick, but it sure is funny to watch them figure it out.

8. Line up Mix up

Select one person to be “it”. Select 5-10 kids (depending on ages and ability) to stand in front of “it” side by side. Give “it” one minute to memorize the order that the kids are standing in. (during this time also write it down so you know the correct order) Then have “it” turn around the close their eyes. Have the kids standing side by side rearrange themselves. When the kids are ready, give “it 30 seconds” to put the kids back in the correct order. After 30 seconds. “It” can use a lifeline and ask two observers (other kids not standing in the side-by-side line) for advice. When “It thinks they are correct” they say “Line up Mix up, Line up Fix up!” Reveal the original order and select new players for the next round.

9. I’m Thinking of a character

This waiting game takes a little more critical thinking than the other I have listed here. Similar to guess who the kids will ask questions about a person, but this time it is a fictional character. Select a child, that child will decide on a character, it can be a character from a book, a tv show, a movie, etc. Once the kid has selected a character, have the remaining children ask yes or no questions about them. For example: “Is this person from a book?”, “does this person have super powers?” etc. If a child tries to guess the character and is incorrect that player is out of the game. If a child guesses the character correctly, they are the new leader, and can select a character for others to guess.

10. Going on a Picnic

Start by telling the kids, You going on a picnic and you are going to bring carrots. Tell the kids they can come also but only come if you bring the right item. Ask them what they would like to bring to the picnic. (In this example, I have decided you can only come to the picnic if you bring something orange) So if a child says “I will bring an apple” you would reply “I am sorry you can not come to my picnic with an apple.” but, if a child say “I will bring a tiger” you would reply “Yes, you can come to my picnic if you bring a tiger.” Keep going until they figure out that the only way to go to the picnic is if they bring something orange. Once the kids understand the game, you can select a child to lead the activity.


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