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Ways to Make Time Pass Quickly with Kids

As any parent knows, there are many moments with kids that seem to drag on forever – long car rides, waiting at appointments, airplane travel, etc. Finding ways to make time pass faster when little ones get restless can save your sanity. The key is having engaging activities, games, and distractions ready so you can whisk away the minutes and keep kids’ attention. Here are 14 clever tips for making time fly when you’re stuck in dull situations with antsy children.

Bring Portable Crafts

Having compact arts and crafts supplies on hand provides quick entertainment wherever you are. Mini watercolor paint sets, magnetic doodle boards, sticker pads, origami kits and Wikki Stix (yarn covered in wax) are easily portable. Get kids’ creativity flowing with crafts to make the minutes melt away. Add a special treat like glitter pens only for long waits.

Play “I Spy” Games

The classic “I Spy” game never gets old and can be played anywhere. Take turns picking an object you can see and giving a clue like “I spy something blue” for kids to guess. Tailor clues based on location – spy airport vehicles, animals at the zoo, fun waiting room art, etc. Get the whole family searching and guessing.

Read Entertaining Books Together

Let kids pick engaging storybooks packed with adventures and antics to help pass the time. Series books that kids can’t put down work well. Take turns reading passages aloud and use funny voices for characters. Getting absorbed in an exciting tale makes waits zoom by. Take a bag of new books just for special long waits.

Play 20 Questions

Kids love stumping parents with 20 Questions, where you guess the object one person is thinking of by asking yes/no questions. The classic deductive game prompts giggles and teaches reasoning skills. Or reverse roles letting kids guess your subject to keep little minds occupied.

Create If-Then Stories

Craft wacky if-then tales by taking turns adding sentences. The sillier the outcomes the better! Starting stories like “If cows could fly, then they would drop pies from the sky!” get kids laughing and freely imagining. Expand stories over time and prompt new directions to extend engagement. Write down favorites to illustrate later as a keepsake.

Pack a Ball or Frisbee

Always keep a mini ball or soft frisbee handy to burn off energy. When possible, head outside and play catch or make up relay races using parking lot lines, stairs and benches. Even indoor throwing and rolling games get kids moving. Active play makes waiting around far more tolerable.

Sing Songs and Play Music

Belt out kid favorites like “Wheels on the Bus” or have dance parties to upbeat playlists from your phone. Most kids love hamming it up singing together. Bring fun instruments like shakers and bells to add musical interest. You may get some looks but making music passes time amusingly.

Create Photo Challenges

Use your phone to let kids take photos according to fun prompts like “something red,” “silly selfie,” or “funniest face.” Reviewing the photos together later provides laughs and captures memories. Getting absorbed in photo missions kills time creatively.

Play “Would You Rather”

Let kids debate light would-you-rather questions like “Would you rather eat jellybeans or gummy bears?” The simple game sparks conversation, imagination and friendly arguments as kids explain their choices. Make queries kid-friendly and silly to keep it engaging.

Pack Snacks and Treats

Having exciting snacks and treats only allowed during long waits makes kids look forward to the situation instead of dread it. Pack surprise edibles like distinguish packs, fruit snacks or mini muffins. Unveiling special food distracts kids from boredom.

Tell Jokes and Stories

Kids love slapstick humor and outrageous situations, so share silly jokes you loved as a kid or make up stories starring them as heroes. Embellish tales bigger and bigger as you go. Getting kids laughing hysterically helps the minutes fly by. Record their jokes to play back for laughs later.

Play Memory Games

Strengthen kids’ concentration while passing the time with memory challenges. Try repeating tongue twisters, reciting lists from shortest to longest, or remembering all the green things you spot. Testing and stretching their memory keeps kids focused.

Hold Contests

Turn everything into a friendly competition – who can snap a photo first of something yellow, count to 100 fastest, spell a tricky word backward, etc. Kids love showing off skills and silly contests keep them eagerly engaged. Give out stickers as prizes.

Create Mad Libs Stories

Make up stories with blank spaces for nouns, verbs, adjectives that kids fill in to create a silly tale together. Their wacky word choices result in funny nonsensical stories you can read aloud. The interactive game always produces giggles and lengthens attention spans.

With a little creativity and preparation, you can turn dull “draggy” moments with kids into enjoyable times that build anticipation instead of frustration. Simply planning interactive games and bringing fun surprises curbs restlessness and fosters bonding. Before you know it, the wait will be over thanks to whisking away the minutes delightfully!