10 Things To Do While Waiting in Line With Kids

posted in: Family travel, Travel Tips | 11

By far one of the worst parts of travel (aside from the potential costs) is the lengthy periods spent waiting in line to most attractions. The more popular the attraction, the bigger the line up. And do you know what’s even worse – waiting in line with kids!

Whether you are queuing to climb the Eiffel Tower or to ride the newest ride at Disneyland, waiting anywhere with kids can be downright painful.

They get bored in zero to 10 seconds, they get hungry, their feet hurt, they get restless and misbehave, or worst of all – they suddenly get that desperate need to pee. So keep the little members of your travel party happier with things to do while waiting in line.

10 Things to do waiting in line with kids

Here’s 10 things to do while waiting in line with kids:

1. Eye Spy

This classic game is popular for the simple fact that you don’t actually need any resources to make it happen. This means you can play it anywhere, at anytime, with any number of people (within reason). Take in turns of spotting something in view, while everyone else tries to guess. “I spy with my little eye something beginning with…”.

2. Destination Facts

Come prepared where possible, or revert to the modern technology of a smartphone and share cool facts about your destination with the family. Sometimes you are lucky enough to pick up a brochure while you queue, or you may plan ahead with a guidebook or bookmarked website for this very purpose. Or simply share what each of you already know about the place you are about to see or the thing you are about to do. You may all be amazed how much you do know.

3. Eat

No matter the destination, one of the biggest saviours when travelling with kids is ensuring you are stocked up on snacks. Not only does food keep little stomachs happy, it also cures boredom for a few minutes at least. Most importantly, keeping the hunger at bay keeps the irritation levels down while you wait in line.

4. Alphabet Game

Another of the great things to do while waiting in line with kids is play the alphabet game. Pick a topic such as superheros, actors, fruits or animals and take in turns coming up with an answer for each letter of the alphabet. If you get stuck, the next person can jump in.

5. Plan Your Next Stop

Make the waiting in line fun by coming up with a plan for where you will go and what you will do next. This not only builds excitement for your next destination, but also helps the time pass quicker. Especially when you give the kids a little bit of the decision making power.

10 things to do while waiting in line with kids

6. Make Friends

When coming up with things to do while waiting in line, you are surrounded by other people doing exactly the same thing, so why not strike up a conversation with the strangers beside you. Perfect if you speak the same language, although a bit challenging if not. New people can be an interesting way to pass time.

7. Mysterious Strangers

Yet another way to make use of the crowds around you is to create a story about some of the people in waiting nearby (although maybe not in earshot). Perhaps the lady in the red jacket is a French spy, or the man in the loafers could be a member of the royal family from a country far away. Kids have great imaginations and will have a blast coming up with the most creative story. There are sure to be a few laughs along the way.

8. Scissors, Paper, Rock

Not the most exciting game in the world, but it will give a few minutes of entertainment. As will other similar games requiring no props or space to play. Always a good idea to have a few up your sleeve before you travel. For example, charades, Simon Says etc.

9. Travel Journal Catch Up

If the queue is moving very slowly, or not at all for a while, one of the things to do while waiting in line is to catch up on travel journal entries. Whether you kids have a journal with them in their day bag, or you can pull out some loose note paper for them to write on and stick in later, this can be a great way to fill a big wait, while also documenting their important travel memories.

10. App Time

One of the benefits of living in the digital age is the access we have to electronic gadgets that provide us entertainment. Not a great option when you are encouraging your kids to get out there and see the world but when waiting in queue, it can sometimes be a case of desperate measures for all of you. Consider downloading a couple of fun family friendly games onto your phone that you can play together, such as a logo guessing game or trivia so you can all join in coming up with the answers. Just make sure you don’t drain your phone battery. Never a good option when travelling unfamiliar places!

What are your favourite things to do waiting in line with kids?

Follow Holly:

Blogger, freelance writer and psychologist with a passion for travel, DIY and creating memories. You can also find Holly at http://simplifycreateinspire.com

11 Responses

  1. Eat, yep that is what I do!! Keeps them happy for a little while

  2. Yes this is one of my least favourite things about travelling with kids, especially queuing at the airport. We spent about 90mins lining up at London Stansted airport after getting off a flight- passport control was being extra careful as this was the day after the incident in Tunisia. The kids misbehaved the entire time we were waiting, and being at the airport there wasn’t much we could do. In hindsight, I should have been more prepared! Thanks for your tips!
    Natalie recently posted…The Sisterhood Of The World Bloggers AwardMy Profile

    • We all have those moments. Our worst was a very bored & grumpy toddler lined up at an airport in Vietnam. I can’t even remember which but it was painful & people kept trying to push in. Lining up is the worst!

  3. I love these tips. I could have used them the first time I waited in a very long customs queue with my very bored toddlers who had been angels on the flight and pre-boarding and everything up until then, but I hadn’t thought to factor in a hold-up at customs in of all places, Australia! I couldn’t even feed them snacks by then as we’d had to put everything in the quarantine bins! (PS – The only problem with number 7 is when the mysterious strangers overhear what the kids are saying about them … LOL!)

  4. Great tips Holly. Turns out my toddlers tanty in the immigration line was a blessing… They escorted us right to the front of the line! Never been so thankful for a complete toddler meltdown before! I’ll thank him for it one day 😉
    Eye spy is becoming a fave of ours in traffic lately!
    Shannon@ my2morrows recently posted…The Ultimate Rabbit Hole #30My Profile

    • Win! Never been that lucky yet ourselves but then again our first never really had full tantys. Just little grumps at best or peaceful sulks. Number 2 may be another story 😉

  5. These are all great tips. I like to give my kids a task so they feel responsible for something. And food, always food!
    Malinda @mybrownpaperpackages recently posted…Nature Play Birthday PartyMy Profile

  6. Thats a great list Holly! Snacks, Mind games like the alphabets you mentioned, Pointing out things(monuments, scenary etc.) in the neighborhood and talking about them, making friends with other kids are something that work well with our two years old

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