Waiting Games and Amusements for Families

The story behind the book…

Next time you are in a waiting room, line, or eating out, look around you. How many people do you see buried in electronic devices? How many family members do you see ignoring one another in favor of cell phones and tablets? How many in your family are mesmerized by their electronics or the television in the corner of the restaurant?

Like so many families, when we go out, I feel we are battling the draw of videos, electronic games, and cell phones. When my boys look back at their youth, I hope they remember the fun we had together—playing games, talking, and laughing—and not a collage of computer generated images. On our recent trip to a major amusement park, much of the fun and valuable memories are the games we played as we waited to get on the next ride. I treasure the memory of playing Operator with my brother and sister-in-law, my nephew, my sister, her boyfriend, my mother, and my two sons as we waited for a broken ride to be repaired. I am convinced my nephew will be a great writer someday because he kept us laughing at his wonderful and amusing stories. I also remember waiting with my sons and husband for our food to arrive at a local restaurant and we struggled to keep our laughter to a reasonable volume as we played seated charades.

The inspiration for this book came as we planned for our trip to a major amusement park. While we eagerly discussed which rides we definitely wanted to try, we did wonder how we would pass the time in the inevitable lines. We soon realized that we actually had a fairly good repertoire of “waiting” games and thought it would be fun to come up with a few more and, ultimately, share our ideas with others.

Some of our games may seem so simple and obvious you will wonder why we bothered to include them. I envision this book being used as a go-to list of ideas when you and your family and/or friends are waiting. You can scan down the list and look for something appealing to everyone at that moment. I have put the recommended ages, number of players, noise levels, occasions, and supplies at the beginning of every game so you will know right away if you have the “ingredients” you need to play. When one game gets boring, you move on to the next. Some of the games also include variations and I wanted to set the stage with the original version. It is all about keeping the boredom at bay. These games may require your imagination, your wit, and sometimes a pencil and paper.

I have organized the book around the type of game offered, but there may be some cross-over. While there is a section dedicated to games requiring pencil and paper, some of the other games and amusements may require them as well. But if you are anything like me, I always carry a pack of pre-sharpened pencils in my purse or backpack. Paper is usually any little scrap I can find, but if you plan ahead, a small pad of paper can easily be carried as well. The section I have titled Amusements is less about competitive games than discussion starters and silly activities. Throughout the book, I have focused on games and amusements that are easy to stop and start when your time limit is unknown. Any of the activities included in this book would be lots of fun during your family game night as well.

Waiting does not need to include electronics and does not need to be boring. Waiting can be the start of a great family memory. Enjoy it.

Yes, going to amusement parks, out to dinner, and on long car rides is about riding roller coasters, eating, and getting to grandma’s house. But it is also a wonderful time to be together and have lots of fun. We hope that these games keep you patient, amused, and help you create fond memories of “waiting for….”

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