Waiting room or a long road trip: How to keep your kids occupied without screens

- We’ve all been there – stuck in the waiting room at the doctor’s office, waiting for food to arrive at a restaurant, or stuck in the car on a long road trip. Without activities to keep your kids busy, these situations can often seem endless!

Be prepared next time you head out with easy activities – here are a few of our favorites, and they don’t involve your smartphone or tablet:

Next time you’re at a restaurant:

-Play “what’s missing?” Set out a few items from your table – say a spoon, a napkin, a bottle of sauce and a salt shaker. Ask your child to take a look at the scene and then close her eyes. While her eyes are shut, take away one of the items and ask her to guess which one is missing. Super fun for the whole family!

Next time you’re on a long road trip:

-Play “storytelling.” Start with a sentence, “Once upon a time, there lived a big, brown bear that lived in the woods.” The next person continues with a second sentence, and each person continues to add more to the story. The stories are usually really silly and fun and get the entire car laughing.

Next time you’re waiting at the doctor’s office:

-Play “I Spy.” Tell your child, “I spy with my little eye something…” and then describe a clue to the object you’re “spying” and let your child try to guess what it is. For example, if there is a blue rug in the office, “I spy with my little eye, something blue.” Once your child guesses what it is, it’s his turn to “spy.”

Mobile app users, click here to watch a behind the scenes video.

First 5 California also has great free resources that you can access through their site – including coloring pages and activity sheets that you can print out and bring along anywhere you go: first5california.com

As seen on the show, check out the all-in-one placemat and playmat EZPZ Happy Mats, which suctions to your table so no mess for snacks or play toys!


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