Picture this for a minute. Your phone battery is dead, the kids are getting restless, you’ve left their toys and books at home and all you need is something, anything, to occupy your rowdy offspring. You search in your bag and find a pencil and a single serviette. “What the hell am I supposed to do with that!?” you ask yourself in despair.
Well, I’m glad you asked! Here are a few ideas of how those two simple objects can stop your head from exploding and the children from tearing each other apart…..
*Play Scattegories – list a variety of categories e.g. food, animal, colour, cities. After the list has been completed name as many items as possible for each of the categories OR choose a letter and think of an item for each category beginning with that letter.
*Play Ladybird (A child-friendly version of Hangman) – choose a word and draw a dash for each letter in that word. The other player/s must guess the letters of the word. Each correctly guessed letter is written in the correct position. For each wrong letter a part of the ladybug is drawn. The aim is for the word to be guessed before the ladybird is completely drawn.
*Write a story with each person contributing a sentence at a time.
*Write down the alphabet and as many items you can see that start with each letter.
*Retell/write a traditional fairy-tale or fable such as Cinderella or The 3 Little Pigs
*Play boggle – draw up a 3×3 grid and think of a 9-letter word. Place the scrambled letters of the word into the grid and challenge your children to create as many words as they can from those letters.
*Choose a number (whole number, negative number, fraction or decimal) and write as many sums with that number as your answer as you can.
*Play Bingo. Tear off a piece of paper so each person has enough space to draw a 3×3 grid and place a number in each box. Call out sums for them to work out. If the answer is on their grid they can cross off the number. The winner can be the first to cross out three numbers in a row or all numbers in their grid.
*List as many different coin/note combinations you can think of to total $10.
*Place the numbers 1-9 in a 3 by 3 grid, one number per box, so that the vertical, horizontal, and diagonal sums are all the same.
*Use the numbers 123456789 in that order, add in any combination of + and – to see if you can create an equation with the answer of 100.
*Fold a paper plane and have a competition to see who can throw it the farthest.
*Play Pictionary – draw something for the other players to guess
*Fold a fairy sized hat.
*Sketch a portrait of the people around you.
*Create a Snap Dragon-remember that old future predicting, origami-inspired entertainer?
*Play naughts and crosses – take it in turns to draw either a circle or cross in a 3 x 3 grid. The winner is the player who has three of their symbols in a row.
*Play paddocks- section off a section of paper and fill it with a grid full of dots. Take it in turns to draw a small line from one dot to the next (either vertically or horizontally) with the aim of forming as many squares as possible. The player who completes a square (by drawing the forth line) writes their initial in the middle of that square. The winner is the player with the most completed squares one the whole grid has been completed.
If you don’t trust that you’ll always have a pencil and piece of paper handy or you think you may not remember all these simple activities to entertain your kids, head on over to Flying Sprout’s Etsy store to purchase your own Mini Kit with a notepad, pencil and activity booklet. Next time you’re out with the kids and your phone battery dies, at least you’ll know how to pass the time.