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Make Waiting Fun for Kids, Plus Week in Review

Dear Elizabeth,
How can I keep my child entertained while we’re waiting somewhere?
Elizabeth's Tips
Elizabeth Sanchez
Elizabeth Sanchez
  • Prepare a backpack full of fun and games for kids to play with while they’re waiting
  • Include open-ended materials which have multiple play possibilities
  • Involve your child in choosing favorite toys for the backpack
  • Keep the backpack in the car with you so you’re always prepared
Week in Review
Don’t forget about the great things that we learned this week:
Expert Advice
Moises Roman
Moises Roman
UCLA Early Care and Education
Waiting is a hard skill to master for anyone but it’s especially difficult for children. While waiting in line, waiting at the post office or even at the doctor’s office – kids can get restless, bored and just down right irritable.

In order to help make waiting time more bearable for adults and fun for kids, prepare a backpack full of fun and games for kids to play with while they’re waiting. Keep the backpack with you in the car, so you’re always prepared in case a situation arises where you know you’ll need to be waiting with your child for a while.

Put all kinds of different, fun things in the backpack that can be used in multiple ways. You don’t want to bring something that only has one use and then it’s over. Bring something that can be really open-ended and used in multiple ways. Some of the best open-ended materials are markers, crayons and paper. You can use Ziploc bags to help you organize different types of materials, such as pencils, crayons and markers.

Always include a few books in your bag. Books help keep children entertained and you can even elaborate on the story and ask other questions.

Toys are always great to include in your backpack. Include toys that enable children to play different games and create various kinds of play scenarios. Involve children in the process of getting toys and items to place in the bag. Remember to switch out toys from time to time to keep your child’s choices fresh.

If you have older children, perhaps you might include some child-safe scissors or something else that might be a little bit more complicated for them to work with. It depends on the age of your child.

Remember, if you’re preparing a backpack for the child to carry, then make it size-appropriate for your child. The most important thing is that you are thinking ahead. Waiting is a hard skill for children to master, and children need lots of practice.

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Topic: Play & Creativity
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