In a world of Coke vs. Pepsi and Yankees vs. Red Sox, there’s one thing we can all agree on: waiting in line stinks. This is never more true than at theme parks—regardless of how fun the ride is, no one likes shuffling through a crowded queue for an hour with nothing to do. Sure, you can risk your phone battery dying to play a couple of games, but even with an extra battery your cell isn’t going to last all day if you’re on it that often.
Waiting in line with kids is exponentially harder. A tired and bored 6-year-old is the last thing you want to deal with 45 minutes into the queue for Space Mountain. You want every moment to be fun and magical for them! So here are a few things to have prepared next time you head to a theme park with kids.
This is a family-favorite. For younger children you’ll need to search for a book or printable with easier questions, but trivia can be a fun way to keeps kids occupied and learn at the same time! If you want to go the extra mile, research questions for topics you know your kids enjoy, like favorite movies or subjects they’re learning in school. I always like to throw in a few that deal with the theme park we’re going to if I can.
Coloring Book/Sticker Book
This one takes a little work to make it line-friendly. You don’t want your child laying on the ground to color since you’re often moving every couple of minutes. Bring something hard (like a clipboard or small notebook) for them to use as a table, and limit yourself to 1-2 crayons at a time.
Another option is to have a few sticker sheets ready. Just be prepared to be covered in stickers yourself.
A fun game you can play without any materials.
A game that can last forever, this is best done on a small blackboard or whiteboard and eraser.
The Alphabet Game
This one’s pretty simple, and has saved lots of road trips for my family in the past. Going through the letters of the alphabet, try to find things that start with each letter. Let your kids get creative! Remember, the point isn’t to win—it’s to keep them occupied. :)
Have Snacks/Apply Sunscreen
Not games, but great things to do in line instead of wasting time in the park. And honestly, sometimes a bag of fruit snacks can be a lifesaver.
“What was your favorite thing we’ve done today?”
“What are you most excited about later?”
“What do you want to do tomorrow?”
Would You Rather
A great game to keep people of all ages engaged. You can find questions ahead of time or let your kids invent them on the spot.
I've never used this one personally, but I loved playing with pipe cleaners as a kid, so give it a try!
Hopefully these tips will help next time you're waiting two hours for Winnie-the-Pooh. Let me know if you have any other strategies for keeping your kids occupied in line!
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